Once a year, Microsoft gets together all of it’s employees heads out to a local stadium and holds a company meeting. It’s a good time to see just how big Microsoft is, and to hear our top execs outline the current challenges and strategy. Much like a conference keynote, it’s full of high level visions and demos of recent technology, but with a good dose of pep rally mixed in. As they talk about different buissness, that group (sitting together) cheer. During my first company meeting I worked in a technology that was pretty high visibility from the execs, and spent the meeting counting how many times they mentioned it. Also like conference keynotes, we have the humor videos that are seen in many Microsoft events. The two that were memorable this year was the “Behind the Technology” video that I’ve been hearing about from the PDC blogs, and a Matrix one.
Something strange this year was how late the company meeting was into the year. This was reflected in how cold we all were in the sunless stadium. We were all hudled in blankets in the colors from the windows flag logo. Instead of the usually dark earthy tones punctuated by white t-shirts filling around the islands of color cordinated groups, we had a four bright colors layered like a picture that was pixeled and random only because you had zoomed in too far. The coffee flowed freely and many people were hoping up to get thier fifth or sixth refills.
The coldness also supressed one of my favorite company meeting activities, paper airplane contests. There is always one throw-away peice of paper in the box lunches that can be made into a paper airplane and thrown from the top rows of the stadium. The ultimate goal is to design a paper airplane that can actually reach the stage. I have yet over the past few years see a plane that has actually made, but there has been a couple that have gotten pretty far.
Following the company meeting a tech fair. There I got a chance to ride a segway. It was a fundimental shift in the way I used balance, and I think I did worse then most on it. After getting off, standing became difficult as my body tried to shift back to a normal balance mode. All and all an intresting device.