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September 23, 2005

Company Meeting

Went to the company meeting today. I hadn't been to one in about 10 years.

My first surprise (when I rolled in to building 44 around 9:15, looking for a bus) was that all the buses left by 8:15 am. It did say this somewhere on the website but who knew? So I drove, foolishly took I-90 instead of 520, and got stuck with all the other Microsoft employees getting off the highway (I knew they were Microsofties because I was checking for orange parking passes hanging on their rear-view mirrors).

So I missed part of Bill's speech, which was a shame since I like to hear Bill speak. Then there were a bunch of demos. I guess they were cool but it was basically the exact same demos I had seen at the PDC last week, so not that exciting. Finally they cue up "Eye of the Tiger" with a live DJ scratching and I figured it hadda be the SteveB intro. Sure enough his CEOness comes pogoing on stage and gets us all fired up. I don't really recall what specifically he said, but after his talk I was ready to run through a wall, as always.

I skipped the product fair afterwards. Just computer stuff, b-o-r-i-n-g!! I was most impressed by how they had Safeco set up. There was a huge stage basically behind second base, with giant screens flanking it on the first-to-second and second-to-third base routes. The curtains, screens, lights, etc. were supported by about 100 cables hung from the roof. Chairs all over the infield, and the outfield had the product fair, with plastic decking put down everywhere to protect the glass. Live feed on all the monitors around Safeco. Box lunches and then free soda, wine, beer, popcorn, peanuts and licorice ropes after the meeting.

Someone said there were 18,000 people there. That's 72 person-years. I think Monad in its whole existence has taken less than that.

There was also this tooth-grinding-inducing article in the Wall Street Journal today. Man, why is it that journalists fundamentally can't understand how software is written? They simplify it and come up with bad analogies and the result is such a wildly inaccurate picture of the "before" and "after" of Longhorn...and stuff like this always makes me doubt anything I read about another industry.

Posted by AdamBa at September 23, 2005 09:17 PM

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I have always been proud of the philanthropy of Microsoft employees. The fact that the company will match $10000 in donations by each employee each year is just amazing. The nice announcement at the company meeting was that now those that volunteer their time will also be compensated. For every hour an employee volunteers that charity will be match with $17. You might think $17 an hour is low pay but next time you work with a charity ask them how much their staffers make. In many cases $17 is a lot more than they make. Any charity will tell you every dollar helps and this is another way a Microsoft employee can help. To me this is another example on why Microsoft can be a great place to work.

Posted by: Abomb at September 24, 2005 12:03 AM

Yes, I forgot to mention that but it was a very impressive move by Microsoft. I need to blog about it separately.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at September 24, 2005 10:05 AM

I had a great time at the meeting today. I drank the Kool-Aid and left feeling refreshed. This was a great move by management to do the meeting right this year. Not like last year's stupid online one. This is going to be a heck of a year for Microsoft.

Posted by: Phil Waligora at September 24, 2005 10:43 AM

>For every hour an employee volunteers that charity will be match with $17

Woah! When did that happen? I guess I need to check out the latest Micronews or something. Although I would imagine its big enough news that would warrant a SLT mail??

Glad you went to the meeting. I was away on 'business' otherwise I would have attended. But I'll be the first to admit, the speeches get boring after about the first hour. Its kind of fun though to see all the paper airplanes fly around for the first 30 minutes before the first speaker. The last time I was at a meeting was at the previous safeco meeting (2003 I think). I got bored and ended up wandering around the deck (where plenty of people were already there) and started talking to a woman from marketing and we went over to Pyramid for some beers :P

>The fact that the company will match $10000 in donations by each employee each year is just amazing

Unless its changed in the last year, the maximum matched is actually $12,000.

Posted by: anonymouse at September 26, 2005 01:17 AM

The WSJ journalist who covers MSFT now is a lightweight. Not just a non-techie, but a total lightweight across the board--analytic skills, people skills. I think MSFT PR loves him precisely because of that, and feed him leaks because they know he'll regurgitate without skepticism. I continue to be stunned that he got and keeps that job, and it does make me doubt the quality of the WSJ's business coverage in general.

Posted by: at September 26, 2005 04:14 PM