Jeffrey Snover claims Microsoft demoted him for inventing PowerShell
Twitter thread reveals Redmondian machinations
PowerShell inventor Jeffrey Snover has aired some grievances about how his indispensable tool once got him demoted.
The Microsoft Technical Fellow discussed the incident in a weekend Twitter thread that started when controversial investor Peter Thiel discussed the virtues of courage.
"Courage is a key characteristic of future leaders and previous employees," Snover joked in response to Thiel's musings. He also asserted that "many people focus on getting their boss to pat them on the head rather than address problems."
Snover said he was urged by friend Kevin Kean – who served as director of the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) in the mid 2000s – not to reveal PowerShell, as it may not be well received.
When I was doing the prototype for what became PowerShell, a friend cautioned me saying that was the sort of thing that got people fired.— Jeffrey Snover (@jsnover) May 7, 2022
I didn't get fired.
I got demoted. https://t.co/aOaEiiBHgk
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This is not the first time Snover has revealed his demotion, but he hasn't previously discussed his profound embarrassment – or that he kept it secret from everyone other than his wife.
"I never mentioned it to anyone for over a decade until I got promoted to Distinguished Engineer," tweeted Snover, who was given the honor in March 2009.
Snover then contrasted Microsoft's policy for company-related passion projects to Google's famous 20 percent rule.
MSFT doesn't have the 20% rule.— Jeffrey Snover (@jsnover) May 7, 2022
When Google floated in 2004, founder Sergey Brin and Larry Page stated in their IPO letter: "We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google".
Snover regularly criticizes his employer in a gentle way via Twitter. In January, for example, he took to the social platform to complain about Microsoft's expense reporting procedure.
But as Snover has contributed crucially to various Microsoft products, he has clearly earned a bit of latitude for public complaint. ®