Microsoft Loses Don Dodge. This Is A Huge Mistake

Among the 800 or so employees laid off by Microsoft today: Don Dodge, Microsoft’s Director of Business Development for the Emerging Business Team, reporting to VP Dan’l Lewin. Don writes about the change on his personal blog.

All layoffs suck, but letting Don go is a huge mistake for Microsoft. He nearly singlehandedly defends the Microsoft brand in a fairly anti-Microsoft developer and user community. For many people in the startup community, Don is the face of Microsoft. He travels constantly, speaking at events whenever he’s asked, and makes a big effort to give young startups the attention they deserve. This is a guy who gives a heck of a lot more to the community than he ever takes back.

Don has been an expert panelist at all three TechCrunch50 conferences. He has also written guest posts for us covering startup events we couldn’t attend personally.

His reaction to today’s news shows what kind of person he is. I reached him by telephone just an hour after he heard the news. And he didn’t have a bad word to say about Microsoft. He was more concerned that I not write anything negative about the company than anything else. Even after they turned their back on him, he was still on their side.

My opinion of Microsoft dropped a notch today. A big notch. Don invested years of his time making Microsoft seem more human, and there are very few people I respect more than this man. He wasted all that time, apparently.