Microsoft Technology Summit ’08

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Chris: “How would you like to attend the Microsoft Technology Summit in Redmond?”

Me: “I use a Mac and don’t do development, you sure?”

Chris: “That’s fine, that’s what the event is about… getting diversity of opinion.”

And here I am in Seattle (Redmond, WA actually) as part of the group of 50 meeting with a variety of backgrounds, interests, and careers having some incredibly open and interesting conversations about the direction of the company.

I’m going to be writing more about this event next week when I’m back home. But I’d like to quickly say that this is simply not the company I worked with in 2000-2001. Yes, they have a long way to go in my aspects as an organization, but from an individual employee standpoint this is a different company than I remember.

I’m surprised at how open these employees are to think and accept open source (ideas if not software). When I worked with MSN years back, the tone of the company had me swearing off working with them again. Yet today I find myself excited to help Microsoft move into the future, primarily because it’s obvious that a large number of employees I’ve met are dying to open up the company.

Sure, there’s a large distance between individual employee desires and overall company outcomes. But if in a few short years Microsoft has gone from a company I’ve sworn off working with to one I’m excited about engaging with, there’s every reason to believe that they’re on the right course.

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