Monday, June 12, 2006

Seattle...trip to Microsoft

I admit to feeling thrilled to be able to visit Microsoft. Even for those who eschew (or pretend to) Windows et. al., it still remains that Microsoft is a mecca of techies everywhere. The day was sunny, giving the lie to the idea of Seattle and Redmond being constantly drenched with rain. In fact in the two weeks I was there the weather must have been ordered by the Chamber of Commerce because it couldn't have been better! So I saw Microsoft at its best in a sunny happy vista (get it? VISTA?) on a sunny happy day. Just a "civilian" observation - Microsoft recruits the best of the workaholic techie community. These people love to work, they love their jobs, they are fired by the competition of the job, and they also seem more collegial that many corporate cultures. There is a shared pressure, a shared deadline awareness, and a willingness on the part of most to "get-er-done." They work in a clean, modern, comfortable environment in one of the most topographically pleasing spots on earth and they get to dress "business casual." And in Seattle that means a lot of shorts and polo shirts.

We sampled the dining hall's offerings, and I must say the facilities are terrific. A varied selection of food was available, and lots of ethnic foods as well. Delicious! Even in the dining hall there are many themed posters and reminders of the corporate culture, such as in the paper table signs reminding employees who they work for, in case they don't remember.

Microsoft likes to decorate the campus with all sorts of promotional materials about themselves, and it lends a colorful and somewhat festival like atmosphere to the whole place. Colorful banners abound, like this one with a festive decorater touch in a server theme. It hangs in the vestibule of one of the buildings, and is visible from a glass enclosed mezzine up on the second floor. An open, airy building which houses workers in interestingly named corridors like a branching miriad of inner city European streets, criss-crossing and leading who knows where, all abuzz with activity.

All in all a pleasent visit, and one I hope to repeat! Next time more pictures and more exploration. As we drove away, I felt that these 24 years of my computing experience had gotten a terrific treat, no matter what OS I currently use. A bit of history visited.

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