What happens when an awesome intern goes to BillG’s house for a barbecue?

Our awesome intern (sorry, when it comes to her, the words "awesome" and "intern" go together perfectly, so it's become a habit) Sakun went to one of the intern barbecue's at Bill Gates' house yesterday. I asked her to do a guest post about the experience.

First, by way of introduction,  let me tell you about our awesome intern, Sakun. She's here for the summer working with my team and mostly me on some projects (which I needed major help on!). Sakun's getting her MILR from the University of Minnesota and already holds an MBA and a BS in Computer Science (I know!). She's got a lot of projects on her plate; doing research on MBAs at Microsoft to develop a stronger strategy around employee referrals (sound familiar?...I told you we would be working in this), building a collaboration portal for the marketing recruiters here...she's even helping with candidate searches. Anyway, I could go on about Sakun (she's great) but I am sure I would embarass her ; ) Let me turn it over to her so she can tell you about the intern barbeque...here's Sakun!

What comes to mind when the name Bill Gates is uttered? Many things to different people but to me, Bill Gates is synonymous to the "personal computer revolution" that changed billions of people's lives around the world. He can influence the flow of global ideas and capital and the creation of new forms of culture. It’s a fact that he is the world's biggest philanthropist, devoting $27 billion to good deeds. With a net worth of $46.5 billion, Bill Gates is also the richest man in the world, he has been #1 on the Forbes World's Richest People, since 2001. And of course, he is the chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corporation.


Apart from this entire mind blowing fact about Bill Gates, to hundreds of interns in Microsoft this summer, one thing we knew since we stepped onto the Microsoft campus was that we were going to Bill Gates house. It’s the BillG Party!!! When was it? How will we get there? How long will we be able to stay at BillG’s place? What will BillG say? Most importantly….what does his house look like?


All these questions were answered yesterday evening. We made it to BillG’s Party! It was AMAZING. BillG was amazing, his house was amazing (the estate frame was mainly timber and the interior decor was breathtaking. There is one word to describe it....perfection) and everything else that night was entrancing.


Let me take you on a thrilling journey with me…..


All the interns were taken by several buses to a location where we went through security clearance. Then we were taken in smaller shuttle buses to BillG’s house. It made sense to us when we got there because the driveway to his house would not have been able to accommodate an express bus. It was winding and narrow. It was surrounded by beautifully landscaped lush greenery all round. As the bus took a turn we could now see Lake Washington on the background making this absolutely picture perfect scenery.


When we got to the main entrance, we were greeted by the staff and presented with our name badges. Then we made our way down a grand staircase which was about 3 stories high which led to the open lawn. With the overall scale and balance, trimming and pruning, flowers and neatness, it was lawn perfection. The HR Trax interns and I sat by the stairs on the personal side of the home which was also close to the boathouse ready to enjoy our meal when suddenly a figure walked down the stairs…it was the man himself…BillG.


Most of the interns that noticed what was happening stopped eating and no one could help but to stare. I walked up to him and introduced myself and spoke about the HR Trax program. A crowd soon gathered around and BillG talked about Microsoft, the competition we were facing, the software industry, the future of the industry and in his every comment the passion he had for the Microsoft and technology was crystal clear.  I sat there as time stood still listening to BillG answering to the other interns questions. There was no better way to respond. His ability to articulate a coherent vision for the future and sustaining a focused and sound discussion was inspiring.


BillG then made a formal address to everyone that was at the party and the coordinators of the party introduced the Microsoft VPs that were attending the party as well. The hours went by so quickly but we managed to see the boathouse, the pool, walk past the cinema and took a ride on the elevator.  Before we knew it, the announcements were made that the shuttles were ready to start making their rounds to take the interns back. One of the most anticipated events in this internship program came to an end. I have to admit that it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable days that I have ever had. I am glad that I was able to take you with me on this once in a lifetime journey.


If you want to take a tour guide inside BillG’s estate…click here  


Comments (18)

  1. NTulip says:

    I would assume that restrictions were set on everyone about what can be disclosed about the party, house, BillG, etc.

    Were there camera’s allowed?

  2. Oz says:

    Can an internship go any cooler than this?WOW

    I am lucky if I can get free coffee and meet with the VP where I intern. Congrats – have fun!

    By the way how was the food? 🙂

  3. Sakun says:

    No pictures/cameras/cell phones were allowed at the house. Security was on heightened alert and there were no exceptions. This is mainly for Bill and his family’s security.

  4. David.Wang says:

    Well, your assumptions would be quite valid. I remember my visit, and I would wager that security could have only improved since then.

    Let’s just say that cameras would be problematic, at best, in such a mass setting.

    Oh, I can say more, but I am keeping my mouth shut. The intern BBQ at BillG’s house remains one of the "perks" that interns have over full-time employees, so let’s not ruin it. 🙂


  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    I know..I already told Sakun that I am so jealous. Of course, the fact that Sakun was the first person to walk up to Bill at the event and introduce herself with "I don’t write code" thrills me to no end.

  6. Sakun says:


    The food was great! It was a BBQ so we had the traditional items (i.e., burgers, ribs, potato salad) but the dessert was the thing that got me going for seconds. We had the best tasting pies ever (apple, cherry and blueberry), caramel and chocolate brownies and vanilla ice-cream. It was so good…..


    Yes, the interns BBQ party is definitely a privilege. Would not trade that for the world 🙂

  7. bill says:

    Sakun, you’re so lucky to have an experience like this. When I was an intern in 2002, they only let people who were graduating within the next year attend the BBQ, so I missed out.

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    For the witty spanish speakers out there (and you are so charming too) that insist on being vile, you can pretty much expect that your comments are going to be deleted. Your mothers must be very proud.

    My limited foreign language skills pretty much require all posts to be in English here.

  9. Sakun says:


    Due to the size of the intern program and capacity limitations at the BillGs’ home the events is still only for graduating interns (this year only interns graduating by 8/30/2006 received an invitation), and they have not made any exceptions on this rule. So you did not miss out…..

  10. jf says:

    Ah… what a disappointment. I was hoping for something more than "how great it was in 800 words", but no, it isn’t.

    Come on, "great", "amazing" and "wonderful" don’t describe the real world. If I was to go to BillG’s house I sure wouldn’t miss on anything that would need improvement. All this excessive praising makes the post sound utterly fake.

    Either that, or this intern is so big a fan of BillG’s that she can’t even see the real world around the man.

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    jf-what if she feels that way? You want her to be sour just to amuse you? That’s not Sakun’s style. Obviously you are not a fan of Bill’s so I am not sure what you would expect to see here.

    Our intern is happy and got to do something cool. She deserves it.

  12. alek says:

    Size matters when it comes to BBQ’s – and cooking for hundreds is a challenge – did they use something like this http://www.komar.org/bbq/biggest_bbq/

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    Alek-that is an impressive machine. So I have the standard (but nice) gas BBQ that you get at Sears. Because it’s just me, it would be a vanity purchase for me to get something big and shiny like that, but I have definitely thought about it. I guess that could mean I am a little vain but the stainless ones are just so darn pretty!

  14. DanF says:

    Do you think that a 3 bedroom 2 bath house would look funny with one of those dome libraries (See Sakun’s link at the end)? *drool*

    It’s always a blast to see people so jazzed about their work, I can’t wait to finish my job since for my level of education at the moment (Associates) I am bound by… let’s say, silver handcuffs. I love your blog Heather!


  15. HeatherLeigh says:

    DanF-it might look a *tiny* bit out of place ; )

    Working with Sakun has definitely increased my excitement level about the work that I do. First because she’s so darn smart but also because she gets so into it.

    Thanks for the nice words about my blog!

  16. alek says:

    Heather – the stainless ones do look darn nice … especially when you first set ’em up. However, like all grills, they get dirty over time – I was just more curious what type of grilling setup BillG has – I’m sure it’s awesome.

    BTW, meant to say earlier that I enjoyed reading your story – thanx for posting.

  17. HeatherLeigh says:

    Alek-I bet Bill’s is the kind that comes with people to do the grilling ; )

    You are right that they look good when they are clean. Then I supposed there is the letdown after you use it and realize it will never be that clean again. I know someone who buys new grates every year (you know who you are!), which I think is a little over the top. But who am I to say, I actually wiped down my grill this morning when I was in the backyard playing with the dog.

  18. Over on Heather’s blog, Microsoft HR intern Sakun recounts her journey to Chez Bill ! gretchen

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