(Getting Out from) Under the Surface

Posted on September 27, 2013 8:00 AM by Techgage Staff

Microsoft has been making a lot of weird moves lately, but the strangest of all has been its release (and now re-release) of the Surface tablet. With Steve Ballmer now out of lives, we take a look at his strange vision of Microsoft’s future – and how it has affected the company.

Microsoft Surface RT

I come from the Atari and Nintendo generation, and I owe a lot of my success to that. Born and bred of green-and-white mushrooms, asteroid storms and alien invasions, I’m a completionist. See, some people are perfectionists – they are so scared to fail that they rarely step into a new challenge, for fear of being bad at it. A perfectionist likes to hit it just right on the first try – but not me. I will tenaciously tackle the same set of jumps over and over, until I get it juuuuuuuust right. And if I’ve got 99 lives, that means 98 of them are disposable… but you can bet I’ll stretch that last one all the way ’til Bowser’s eating lava.

This attitude has followed me into many avenues of my life – no matter what the particular interest at the time, I will follow the same steps: I research, I try, I stand back in awe at the spectacular failure, analyze, regroup and retool, and try again… and again, and again, if need be. You probably know a few people like this – the “old-school” platformers before the days of save-states and endless lives. I’d like to say it fueled a generation, and I may be on the tail end of that group myself. I look at the tech leaders in our industry and I see many of the same tenacious risk-taking that resonated through my childhood with plasma-blasters.

Of course, there came a point where I no longer lived my life by the Konami Code, and tempered the lessons and personality traits from my “gotta beat this… ” youth. Failures happen – and when they do, they can be a lot more punitive than just losing a continue or a nice digital sidearm. Which is why it dumbfounds me when people who are older and wiser than I am, who helped build the world I devoured as a growing child, cannot process the very same lessons that their software helped me learn.

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