The mythical building 7 on the main Microsoft campus has been a running joke for years. I first ran into it when I was a contractor in ‘92. For those of you who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about check out this CIO article, “The Mystery of Microsoft’s Building Seven Lives On”.
“A new-hire hazing ritual and other employee pranks at Microsoft’s Redmond campus may live on, thanks to some good-humored building planners at the company. The jokes revolve around the mysterious building seven. The Seattle area has 116 Microsoft buildings, and the buildings on the Redmond campus are numbered sequentially except for the number seven. There isn’t one.
The missing building is fodder for various commonly executed employee pranks (or at least regularly boasted-about jokes). Perhaps the best known is when Microsoft managers send new hires to meetings in building number seven, so that they can snicker while the new kid on the block scrambles to find the building. Or another good one entails making an anonymous call to the new hire late in the day and telling him to report to building seven within 20 minutes to pick up a security badge.
Other employees announce to coworkers that they’re heading to building seven when they’re going outside for a cigarette or lunch break.” ~ Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service
We came so close to losing that running joke in 2006 when a new building was scheduled to be built and numbered 7.
This was covered by Microsoft’s own Raymond Chen in his blog post, “Pranksters breathe a sigh of relief: There will never be a Building 7”.
“In June 2007, pranksters (and people with a nostalgic streak) breathed a sigh of relief. Thereal estate departmentannounced that the new building tentatively labelled 7on the map will now be known as Building 37. In deference to Microsoft tradition, the name Building 7 has been officially retired. There will never be a Building 7.” ~ Raymond Chen
I am stilling waiting for his cool idea to come to fruition though. :0)
“A few years ago, there was a vacancy in a small business park a very short walk from the main Microsoft campus. (You don’t even have to cross the street to get there.) I thought it would be great if somebody leased the space and opened a bar called Building 7. It could have a back room decorated like a Microsoft meeting room, complete with WiFi and a large monitor. Then somebody could legitimately invite you to a meeting in Building 7, and people could use it as a cover story: "Sorry, I’m going to be working late tonight. Team meeting in Building 7."
I wonder if new Microsoftie’s still get told in the Headstart class to pick up their company badges in building 7. How cool would that be? ;0)