Friday, May 28, 2010

Robbie Bach and J Allard Leaving Microsoft

Two of the best people I met at Microsoft are departing

I have a few outstanding memories of these guys.  Around 2000, when the Xbox was in development, I was visiting Microsoft to talk about Midtown Madness 2.  This intense but friendly bald guy pulled me aside, shoved a huge controller in my hand and asked me what I thought about it as a console interface.  He was very open and inquisitive and I ended up talking to him for about an hour.  I later learned he was the lead designer for the Xbox.  I like designers who are inclusive and want to test their ideas.  I like them a lot.

Robbie was a class act.  Around the same time we (Angel Studios) were struggling to get a contract signed for Midtown Madness 2.  We had lost money developing MM1, but it turned out to be a big hit, so we were asking for more reasonable terms on the second.  Microsoft management was having none of it and we were months into the project, burning through a lot of money without a signed contract.  The game was about to be terminated.

Robbie called our CEO at home on Saturday morning, got right to the point with him and the two of them came to an agreement in a few minutes.  Doing this was several layers below Robbie's pay grade, but that's what good leaders need to do sometimes. 

I wish them both the best of luck and hope they enjoy their well deserved time off.

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