Don Dodge Weighs In On Leaving Microsoft, What’s Next, and Friends Old and New

11/10/09Follow @bbuderi

It was big news here in New England last week when Don Dodge announced on his blog that he had been laid off from Microsoft as part of some 800 layoffs at the software powerhouse. Dodge had been a regular on the innovation scene here in New England—and around the world, really—and was known as Microsoft’s enthusiastic ambassador to the startup world.

In his initial post about being laid off, Dodge, who was based in New England with the formal title of director of business development for the Emerging Business Team, said being laid off was “a total surprise” and that his bosses “offered no explanation.” But he kept his comments at a high level.

Since being laid off, Dodge has reported that he has picked up more than 1,500 Twitter followers. But other than that, I haven’t spotted much from him. That all changed today. Dodge not only posted (turns out he posted it yesterday, but I didn’t see it until today) a thoughtful piece on his blog about leaving Microsoft, he did a roughly 11-minute videotaped “exit interview” with TechCrunch.

To me, the more interesting of the two was Dodge’s own heartfelt post, called “Pay It Forward, give and you shall Receive.” He talks about the many friends, old and new, who reached out, the job offers the poured in, and more. Some excerpts:

“I want to publicly say thank you to all my friends. You know who your friends are when times are tough. I heard from hundreds of friends last week and it meant a lot to me. Social media has created a whole new set of “friends” who know a lot about you and care about you, even though you may have never met in person. Hundreds of these friends took the time to write to me. Over 400 emails on my new Gmail account. There were also hundreds of comments on blogs and news sites that carried the story of my separation from Microsoft. It was almost like I had died, but got to read my obituary and hear the tributes. It was surreal, uplifting, humbling, and very gratifying. Thank you. I had no idea…really.”

“Then of course there were the job offers or offers to discuss opportunities. They came from everywhere. The big tech companies, the biggest names in the business, were very quick to reach out, within hours of the news. I was pleasantly surprised. VC firms wanted to talk about opportunities at their firms and within their portfolio companies. Startup founders were also quick to act. Thank you all. I appreciate every single one of you.”

TechCrunch has done nothing to disguise its opinion of Microsoft’s decision; founder Michael Arrington, who conducted the “exit interview,” has called it a “huge mistake.” You can find TechCrunch’s post here. I’ve embedded the video below.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi