A lot of people have been asking me to share my thoughts on the company meeting. First, Safeco Field was very cold. I know everyone from the mid-west thinks we're whimps for calling 60 degrees cold, but it was. It was actually very plesant outside but they had the roof closed to protect all our Microsoft secrets so we got no sunshine on our faces. Anyway, it is pretty amazing to me that 18,000 employees would spend six hours freezing their rear ends off so they could hear a bunch of execs tell them what great work they've done. There is something special about a company that can pull off a meeting like Microsoft did Friday.
- How many companies have an executive who gets a standing ovation from every one of his employees just by walking out onto the stage, as Bill Gates did?
- How many companies have a CEO who, after several minutes of ear-pearcing rock music, can enter the building and actually increase the energy level, as Steve Balmer did?
- The breadth of products Microsoft is involved in is staggering.
- The XBox 360 is an awesome product. I know there are business reasons why we're not offering a PVR feature in the XBox, mainly because it's a loss leader for games. However, they really have to figure out how to make that feature work for their business because everyone would have an XBox in their home if it included that feature. I can't imaging anyone signing one of Tivo's awful service agreements and paying the monthly service fee and letting Tivo decide randomly that certain content cannot be recorded if they had the option of an XBox with PVR capability.
- For all the talk of Vista being stripped of its best features, there was only one product which got cheers from the entire building over and over, Vista. One feature actually caused the building to gasp. I'm not kidding, it was a collective "wooh."
As I expected, there was not a lot of substance, but I came away, as always, thinking, I work for a great company!