More than almost any item on the blog save my articles on daylight saving time and more recently the arrival of my Windows 7 Party Pack is the interest in the items I provided to benefit the Microsoft Giving Campaign this year. I received more email this week on these posts than any other post this month.
As I noted, one of my favourite items is the Samsung NC20 mini notebook PC with Windows 7, autographed by the Windows 7 management team, including Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky. (Full disclosure: I am expecting one or two more signatures that, due to space issues, may appear on the not pictured top bezel.) Lots of interest in this item… I'm wondering, would it be bad for me to bid on my own auction? Doesn't eBay frown on that practice? At least it would be obvious to folks given FTEs may see who has the high bid.
As you may know, the Microsoft Giving Campaign generates an incredible amount of donations to benefit charities around the world (more info on the Campaign @ http://bit.ly/1ajgA0.) The auction is open only to Microsoft employees, and after folks saying how cool these pieces are, the bulk of the questions were on "where do I bid on these items?"
I think that it's a great idea. We haven't opened up such a broad auction like this for many reasons, especially when you consider the number of items that really only have significance to people working in the company. Ina Fried of CNET covered this in her article referencing the Campaign "Microsoft shutterbugs shoot for a cause" this week. (Yes, even I have an eye on a parking spot in my new building, even with the threat of an executive level CLM. More on that move post Windows 7 GA.)
We have adopted the concept to benefit charities in the past, like this memorable one featuring an Xbox 360 autographed by Bill gates and a custom Halo Zune signed by J Allard. (See photo at left of this blast from the past, back in 2007.)
This is something we should reprise.
The next popular question was how I was able to get these items together.
Simple: I asked.
It was a privilege having these folks sign the PC and the Zune. Each year – and frankly, throughout the year – employees at Microsoft are not only dedicated at their jobs (more than the anonymous quotes in Fortune's article, How Microsoft got its cool back, would have you believe…), they are dedicated to their giving and support of charities and causes that are their interest. Last year's Employee Giving Campaign netted charitable organizations nearly US$40 million in cash (when you consider employee donations and the generous corporate matching). So getting these was relatively easy. And the thoughtful donations from great folks outside the company was almost as easy: these folks were more than happy to support a worthy cause.
The only think I regret: not getting more signatures on both Microsoft items. In our group in Windows, if I had been a little more on the ball, I'd have had the larger management group sign items in Ship Room at the our RTM engineering milestone, as everyone was in a signing mood. (The teams autographed FPP packages of Windows 7.) Sorry, I was "asleep at the switch" (inside joke).
BTW, a note on the new-in-the-box, never used, limited edition Pink Zune 30, courtesy of my wife. Signed by several folks at the company, this was my Christmas gift to her. Sitting on a shelf in our home, frankly we felt to uncomfortable to use the Zune. So, we both thought that it would do more good converted into a donation that would add to the United Way of King County's coffers.
Perhaps this Zune will become the Giving Campaign Auction equivalent of the proverbial holiday fruit cake, and we'll see the successful buyer list the item in next year's auction.
Next year? I'll work on getting something nice items from the Office 2010 team. 😉
Also available via http://bit.ly/2Wh2Gw