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May 02, 2007

Microsoft Meetings

You could always tell which group had a meeting in the room before your meeting by the smell.  Marketing slime (a term of affection) were just as smart and tough as developers; they just smelled better – both the men and the women.

Meetings DID NOT start with chit-chat.  No “how’re you hitting ‘em?” or “how’s the wife?”  Any of that sort of nonsense and you’d be labeled as “random” which is the opposite of smart.  You gotta be smart to be at Microsoft. 

At AT&T, by contrast, where I went later in my career, no meeting could start without at least half an hour of small talk and gossip.  “How’re you hitting ‘em” was an important question in the company which sponsored the Pebble Beach Golf Tournament and whose Chairman used the corporate jet – the big one – to get to Scotland where the good golf courses are.

But I’m getting random.  Back to Microsoft.

You not only had to be smart to succeed at Microsoft; you had to be loud.  Becoming partially deaf was an occupational hazard there because everybody always shouted.  It wasn’t so much that we were emulating steveb (Steve Ballmer); we just had to shout to be heard because everybody was talking at once.  Moreover, we had to learn to talk without breathing because even if you should have the floor if you’re weak enough to have to pause for a breath you’ll lose the floor and someone else’ll be talking and you may never get a chance to be heard again which would be a shame because how will anyone know how smart you are unless they can hear what you have to say about whatever’s being discussed and what you’re prepared to be very hard core about.  Actually, it was sortta fun.  Listen here for a live example of microspeak.

More Microsoft memories:

Microsoft Memories

How MAPI Beat VIM (an historical footnote)

Sleeping with Telcos

And there’s always the question of Should billg Stop Bullying?

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