Microsoft Cafeteria Tour 2006

Stay with me will take me a bit to get to the cafeteria part.

Last night I went to Borders, mostly to pick up the college football preview guides. Those of you that know me are probably wondering why I haven't blogged about college football season coming up. You know I'm thinking about it. My heart beats faster just typing "college football". Well I realize (through lack of comments on past posts) that everyone isn't as interested as I am. But anyway, there I was at Borders, latte in hand, grabbing my guides.

I can rarely get out of Borders for under a hundred bucks. I guess books are my other passion. I like the way they look on the shelf, I like how they smell. I love the fact that when I finish one, I have a large selection of un-read books on my shelves to choose from depending on my mood. I'm reading three books right now (and none too fast): one novel, one business book and one social commentary. I have a book habit.

I think if you took one of my Borders receipts and gave it to someone and asked them to identify the reader, they would have a hard time figuring out who this crazy person is: 3 college football guides, B2.0 magazine, Runners World (I know I am a newbie but the cover spoke to me), three books on management (interestingly, one each on managing up, down and over...though I didn't do that intentionally), I bought two of Seth Godin's books (because in marketing, I think he's the bees knees) and Anthony Bourdain's "A Cook's Tour".

Let me tell you about my love for Anthony Bourdain. He kind of scares me with his darkness and his edginess; the fact that he will eat just about anything if he can chase it down with a shot of something. I'm an adventurous eater except when it comes to animal products. He will eat anything and say anything to anyone (did you see the episode where he went to Iceland?).

I had to stop myself from buying cookbooks. I have too many that I don't use (though my next one will be Rick Bayless). Sometimes I like to just look through them or hold on to them just in case I need to make my own bagels at home or have an itch to prepare tiny little pristine appetizers to eat while I am watching Celebrity Fit Club. Evidently, I need to read about food (and as much as Cooking Light magazine is satisfying, I need more), so I was thinking that Anthony was going to be the one to fill the void until...

Christian Buckley e-mailed me about the Microsoft Cafeteria Tour 2006. Brilliant! They are working their way through the cafeterias in Redmond (hopefully other places too). If you want to understand why Heather needed to get a personal trainer, you should tune in to the tour. Christian and his cohorts have some great ideas on how to spice up the tour and an interesting perspective on dining at Microsoft.

Food fix satisfied.

Comments (20)

  1. Reedie says:

    I share your affliction, though my trip through the bookstore always starts with the clearance cart.  Happily, my tastes in books are so unusual that hidden treasures are always waiting for me there.  My library of political theory, economic philosophy, history of inventions, and other goodies no mainstream reader would even drop a 5-spot on now flows out of my study and into my kids play room.  I always get the hardcover versions and seldom pay more than $3.95.

    And college football?  I understand the attraction having experienced the rush first hand when Rice beat Texas A&M in the championship game of the final year of the SW Conference.  However, it’s quite frustrating for an academic to deal with the charade created by wrapping a semi-professional sports league into the folds of a teaching institution.  Student athletes deserve better.  I see far too many degreed sports communications majors competing for minimum wage jobs.

    How’s that for a conversation starter?

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Hey Reedie, that is good. I’ve always felt that playing college ball is more like a job and that the players should get a stipend in addition to their scholarships. I just think of all the money the colleges make…just the scholarships seem a little paltry. All the practice, field time, travel time. I just think they should get more. I don’t suspect that many people agree. It doesn’t really seem to be a very balanced market for talent. They are given a scholarship and then every reason to pursue things other than academics. I’m not sure what the anwer is.

    As for your book choices, let’s see, I may have one on my shelf (unread, of course) that may interest you (if you haven’t read it already) and that’s ‘Salt, A World History". Oh also ‘History of the World in Six Glasses’ ..see my food issues?

  3. christian says:

    heather, hopefully you’ve picked up both Purple Cow and All Marketers Are Liars by Godin. As the sole Marketing guy in MSIT (I’m guessing), I am constantly prodding people to read them both, and in that order. I highly recommend them to anyone who deals with customers, internal or external. Great tools for improving whatever it is you produce/manage/monitor.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    I got All Marketers Are LIars and Free Prize Inside. Seth is speaking at a conference I am attending next month so I am pretty excited.

  5. Simone says:

    I know what it’s like Heather! I find myself swellling with alma mater pride the second the Stanford Cardinal begins warm ups. Hopefully Walt Harris and company can dominate the Pac-10.

  6. Heather, you need to tell the Cafeteria Tour to stop by the Town Center, I’m getting tired of Pizza Schmizza.

    Do you just hit up Borders or do you also go to Half-Price?  I’ve found a lot of awesome reads there, plus it’s cheap.

    I’m also trying to make the leap from retail to marketing (my degree field), so I assume you would recommend Godin?  

  7. christian says:

    I hate to make you go back to the bookstore (I have the same problem of not being able to walk out of a bookstore without a major purchase), but you should really read Purple Cow before Liars. They fit together. Purple Cow is all about standing out from the crowd, and Liars builds on that by talking about making your message stand out.

    I can’t wait to hear about your experience seeing him live. In the business/marketing world, he’s one of those people who truly inspires people to think differently and take action. And the fact that he hangs out with Malcolm Gladwell, and references Tom Peters often – two more of my heroes – is cool.

  8. mrscrooge says:

    The instant-gratification is great, but you can save A LOT of money just perusing the used books on Amazon (yes, even the new titles show up almost immediately).

    A Cooks Tour in hardcover was available used ("Very good" condition) for the princely sum of $1.49 plus shipping. Hey I live upto my name don’t I? ;). There was a great story on him in The Stranger when he was in town recently


  9. Random Jobhunter says:

    Heather, can you explain why the jobs site is down every time I try to search in the middle of the night? Thanks.

  10. eR0CK says:

    Hey Heather,

    I looked through the ‘What’s on my bookshelf’ section and you have quite a few books mentioned there.  If you could choose only three to read, what would you suggest?  I’m interested in almost everything, so they don’t have to pertain just to marketing or any particular subject.

    The cafeteria tour was interesting.  Another large software maker I used to work with (/cough SAP) has a similar cafeteria style.  I enjoyed MS’s cafeteria when I was there and dually enjoyed SAP’s, but I’ve found you get bored of the same choices over time.  Then again, MS has one up on SAP, they have several cafeterias!

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Simone-they aren’t expected to, but they should at least beat UW. Of course your game against Cal is your big deal game every year so hopefully the Cardinal wil have a good showing. All the pre-season stuff says this isn’t your year. Sorry. We’ve had those years ; )

    Derek-I’m sure Christian just read your comment. We’ll see if they add RTC to their list. I’ll tell you though, if I could just go to the center for lunch every day. I’d be at Sahib….like every day.

    I haven’t read any of Seth’s books yet though I would guess that they are a great starting place. Subscribe to his blog as well. I’m sure there are other books it there that people will recommend for more depth in certain marketing areas. Someone was coming up with a reading list for your own personal MBA but I forget who it was. Anyone remember?

    Christina-OK, I’ll pick it up. I’m sure by the time I get around to reading that stuff, I will be ready for another trip to the book store anyway. Hey, did you see Derek’s comment about RTC? You guys going to head over there too?

    mrscrooge- For me, part of it is the shopping experience. I will order from Amazon if it’s a reference book, something I don’t want to read bu need to, or I can wait for the book. You are right about the instant gratification thing. With this trip, I *needed* the college football previews. Scary life I’m living, huh? I’m not sure where they fall on Maslow’s Hierarchy.

    Random- no, but if you send me an e-mail detailing specific issues you are having, I would be hapy to send it to the people that support the job site.

    eRock- Wow, I forgot about that list. I haven’t updated it in so long! I haven’t done as much reading lately as I’d have liked. Mostly I’ve been starting books and not finishing them. Have you read Freakanomics yet? For me it was an exercise in questioning logic, though I think some people bought into it without question. I like books that make me think and that one did (and I borrowed it from our company library so I didn’t even have to buy it).

  12. wine-oh says:

    All Marketers Are Liars, Purple Cow and The Prize Inside, were all required reading for various classes in my MBA program. A must for all marketers. Seth Godin writes well, keeps you engaged. I would also check out his blog.

  13. tod hilton says:

    "I borrowed it from our company library so I didn’t even have to buy it"

    D’oh!  I always forget about mslibrary!  I’ve been wanting to read Freakonomics for awhile, but just never got around to picking it up (cuz I tend to be cheap and not want to spend the $).  I just requested it and should see it next week.  Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  14. HeatherLeigh says:

    wine-oh, that’s good to know.

    tod- I only thought of it because it’s about 100 feet away from my office and I walk through there sometimes to get to my car. They have some pretty good titles in there.

  15. eR0CK says:

    wine-oh … thanks for the recommendations.  I plan on getting an MBA, not sure if it will be in Marketing as of yet, but those books might help make the choice a bit easier!

    Heather … I haven’t read Freakanomics yet, but the author(s) have a blog here  Some interesting posts here and there.  It is on my reading list, but I have three more books to read before I get to it.  Like you, I’m all over the board with subject matter.  Right now I’m reading 1776, an investing book by William O’Neil, and a CISA book for auditing.

  16. wine-oh says:


    Those are great books. Freakanomics too. My other favorite, a must for any project manager "Five Dysfunctions of a Team."

    I reccomend working for a few years first before going for the MBA. It will make you that much more well rounded. I worked full time and did the MBA through a distance learning program. 10 years between graduating undergrad and grad school.

    Good luck.

  17. eR0CK says:

    wine-oh, thanks for the recommendation.  That puts me at 25 books on my list of ‘to-be-read’ haha!

    I’m going to wait at least five years before seriously applying and considering an MBA.  In the meantime, I enjoy reading about everything so I can confirm an MBA is right for me.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  18. --Lisa says:

    Always interesting coming to your blog and finding ouw what you are talking about.  Anyway, I am a book junkie too… and a cookbook junkie more. I have about 300 vintage (1930s-1959) coobooks.  I LOVE a new cookbook and a new idea.  And hundreds and hundreds of other books… a while bookcase of "unread books" to choose from.  🙂

    And Seth Godin!  He’s great.  Purple Cow & 99 Cows are two of my favorite marketing books.  If you have the opportunity do attend one of his seminars that he holds in his office in NY. He keeps them around 20 people and does them usually for a donation to a charity.  He is even better in person.


  19. HeatherLeigh says:

    OOh, Lisa, thanks for the recommendation. He’s pretty awesome from what I hear.

    The vintage cookbooks sound fun!

  20. Reedue says:


    There is a great article in Newsweek online about the MBA degree and its origin.  The basic point of the article is that the first MBA students were more akin to those who would be in an executive MBA program today.  Schools hoping to cash in on the popularity of the degree began admitting students with less and less work experience.  The result is that the major value of the degree, what you learn from your fellow students, has been lost.  This erosion was reinforced with the proliferation of EMBA programs.  EMBA students have the work experience to contribute actual scenarios to class discussion, they provide much better networking opportunities, and the top-rated professors compete to teach these classes (because they lead to lucrative consulting opportunities).  I would recommend you keep working until you meet the qualifications for an EMBA program within commuting distance.

    Good luck

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