New verb? To “go steveb” on someone.

I’ve been thinking about coining a new verb:

go steveb tr.v. To suddenly escalate an issue to the CEO/President/Senior VP of a company out of frustration when dealing with a low-level employee of a company. (steveb is the email address of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.) As in, “Yeah, we were talking about the fact that we cut that new feature the customer wanted and I said there wasn’t anything I could do about it, so he went all steveb on me and emailed my VP.”

To go steveb is really kind of the Hail Mary pass of the corporate world: you’ve exhausted what you see as all reasonable options of dealing with the lower-level people in the corporation, so you’re giving up and hoping that by complaining to the top people that they’ll do something about your problem, even if just to shut you up. A bit of a desperation move because, of course, this will not particularly endear you to the people who you were previously dealing with (and who will likely be told to work on any response that you end up getting). Doesn’t work most of the time since high-level people are, by nature, practiced in the art of the polite kiss-off, but always worth a try.

I’ve certainly done this at times — when I had a disastrous experience traveling internationally with Expedia in the mid-90’s, I had to go steveb on them to get back the money we wasted on hours of transatlantic calls. Of course in that case I benefited from the fact that Expedia was part of Microsoft at the time… Now that I’ve reached a certain level of public note, I get to be on the other side of things, when people think “Enough of this flunky, I’m going to go straight to the top!” Since I’m always in pretty good alignment with my organization this has never been much of an issue for me to deal with, and on rare occasions its even got stuff moving that I was personally in favor of (but lacked the internal clout to move on my own).

Anyway, the verb is so MS specific that I doubt anyone will ever use it except me, I thought I’d share…

4 thoughts on “New verb? To “go steveb” on someone.

  1. Karl

    You make it sound like it’s a small thing, but does stevebing ever happen on a larger scale? Say between two teams of a development language?

    Reply

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