One of the things I love about having a guest host is that you never know which direction the conversation might turn. We were joined today by Microsoft Staffing God in Embryo, Heather Hamilton, purveyor of the much adored blog powerhouse 'One Louder'. (“this is an exact replica of my inner structure")
Sorry. Obscure Spinal Tap reference. She'll love that I've added her picture to the site, too. Just go with it, Heather.
For those on the outside who came to this site thinking they'd get a good view of what life is like during lunch at Microsoft, here's a token video of nothing particularly exciting happening over in Cafeteria 121:
Woo. Gosh. Wow. Let's move on....
Last time out, the conversation was all about multi-level marketing and Bill Gates’ secret tunnels connecting the steam tunnels beneath Building 31 with his crib out on Lake Washington. (It's true -- I've seen them, if only in my dreams) The topics this time out? The bathing habits of Segway drivers, the consistency of Boca Burgers, the future of MSCT2k6 (2k7?), and Heather’s secret love for everything Jackie Chan. I’m telling you, she was embarrassing us with her constant chatter about Jackie this and Jackie that. She insisted on sitting right next to some vendor pushing some low carb green tea cure-all in a little plastic tube with Jackie's picture all over it. There were t-shirts, too.
I wanted one.
Of course, I did enjoy the brief discussion on the downsides of having super powers. For example, how being invisible sounds cool, but you have to be naked. My fear is that I'm out there -- literally -- and then I come into contact with some guy who has the power to negate other people's powers. That would just suck, so why risk it?
Then there was the food. Doug went with some kind of pasta, cheese thing. I couldn't tell, but he seemed to like it. No obvious retching or passing out on the floor, so I assume it was good. Heather was doing the South Beach Diet Lawn Clipping Special, and commented that it tasted like foot. I might be paraphrasing. Who remembers the details? I went with the Boca Burger again, of course, but this time smothered in sauteed mushrooms. On the side were two over-cooked cookies (which were still really really good). In addition to Heather and an effigy of Jackie Chan were MSCT2k6 regular John Durant (who already posted this afternoon - and who also went with the Boca), Drew Linerud -- an SDE from Windows Mobile, and Lary Cullimore, a Readiness PM from SMSGR Business Solutions. I have absolutely no idea what that group does.....so until he corrects me, I'll just assume it has something to do with human cloning or the reanimation of dead human flesh. A division of Microsoft Research, most likely. Drew intentionally sought us out today, while Lary innocently wandered into our midst -- and once we saw him, felt pressured to actually sit and eat with us. He'll not make that mistake again, I suspect.
One thing Heather did encourage me to write about were my thoughts on my first company meeting last week. Ok, so here's my constructive criticism: improve your marketing message. You have a captive audience of your best customers in front of you -- your employees. Yes, its about recognizing achievement, it's about getting the troops jazzed about what is coming next. But the whole school in China thing and bringing the student (Dandan) out on stage -- it was just a pathetically weak attempt to manipulate our emotions. Look, it was a really cool thing that we, as a company, did to help this girl and her family and her school. It has clearly changed the lives of these people forever. So why attempt to make us cry? Why not make it more of a high-five event? Instead of the emotional card, why not rally behind it and make it exciting? It was poorly executed, and came off as obvious and lame. I felt bad. And then Dandan was rushed off stage for the next event. If I can tap into the topic from our last tour stop -- about the MLM companies -- this is one area where Microsoft can really learn from the experts on how to "market" the emotion of helping people, or, as my former employer puts it, "span(ing) the globe, working in the world community and spreading the resolve to enhance the quality of life for children and families everywhere." Now THAT'S the way to spin it! If you're on the team that put together that whole Dandan segment, please drop me a line and I'll point you to a couple events where you can learn from the experts, because clearly you folks need to think out of the box. Seriously. Actual events. You can take notes. Really.
Ok, I got preachy there. Too much Boca, methinks.
I'm out. http://buckleyplanet.typepad.com