It’s that season again: The Microsoft Company Meeting


Today is the 2006 Microsoft Company Meeting, and with it the continuation of what I consider to be one of the most annoying Company Meeting traditions: The group that cheers wildly any time their project name is mentioned.

It's never the same group year to year. Instead, a different group (or groups) independent decides to be the annoying one for any particular meeting. For illustrative purposes, let's call the 2006 group "Project Nosebleed". (All project names in this entry are fictitious and are used solely for illustrative purposes. Any similarity to actual projects is purely coincidental. But I mean, really, you asked for it when you named your project after a medical ailment.) The Project Nosebleed folks decide to cheer wildly any time anybody says the word "Nosebleed" at the Company Meeting. Let's see what happens when one presenter mentions their project name:

We have a lot of products that are poised to make a splash
in the upcoming year. For the home user, we have Project
Vertigo, which will help them organize their time and schedule.
On the small-business side, Project Nosebleed will bring the
ease-of-use that people have come to expect from their PC Woohoo! Yippee! Rah! Rah! Rah! NoseBleed Number One!  
to the unwilling IT guy. Meanwhile, Bunion will do the same Nose-Bleed! Nose-Bleed! Yay! Yay!  
for the educational market. So you see, there are a lot of
exciting things waiting in the wings.

Thank you, Nosebleed team. You shouted down the presenter telling the rest of the company what your project is, as well as drowning out the introduction of another team's project. All the rest of the company will remember about your project is "Those annoying Nosebleeders kept screaming so I couldn't hear what the presenter was saying." Well, not all the rest of the company. The Bunion folks will remember a little more. "Those annoying Nosebleeders kept screaming so nobody could hear what our project was about!"

I remember one year, the team that cheered wildly at every mention of their project did it a bit too mindlessly. A pre-recorded interview was being screened, and the interviewee mentioned their project in a negative way, but they cheered anyway.

Way to go, Project Nosebleed.

Comments (16)
  1. richard says:

    Irrational behaviour fascinatates and annoys me.

    It is fascinating because I wonder, "Why are they doing that?"

    It annoys me because … erm … it is not rational and so what is the point?

    I wonder what sort of survival benefit this type of behaviour conferred.

  2. Jeremy Morton says:

    I hope your wrong this year, Raymond, but we’ll soon see. One year our division was given small cowbells… [hangs head in shame]

  3. kbiel says:

    Perhaps they embarrassed by their project and are drowning out the speaker on purpose.

  4. dave says:

    I associate that sort of mindless ra-ra-ism with Microsoft!

    There’s any number of videos on the web showing Steve Ballmer screaming in some sort of our-team-is-the-best kind of way. He’s an intelligent guy, so I guess that sort of behaviour works for whatever it is he hopes to achieve.

    In my own limited experience, I once attended a Microsoft presentation about some product-or-other. The presenter, allegedly a techie of some kind, nevertheless managed to whip the crowd into a frenzy by hurling free T-shirts at them.  (I was sort of hoping one would come my way so I could drop it disdainfully on the floor – I don’t wear adverts).

    All in all, an awful lot of corporate Kool Aid seemed to get drunk at Microsoft in the ’90s.

  5. Rich says:

    James Gosling hurls t-shirts at JavaOne every year.  Techies enter a contest with creatively designed t-shirt hurling devices.

  6. kip says:

    The same thing happens every May at every high school graduation in the country.  Want to hear your daughter’s name announced?  Better hope she doesn’t fall behind a really popular person or someone with a large family present.

  7. Fisk says:

    It’s time for a little Fisking…

    "I associate that sort of mindless ra-ra-ism with Microsoft!"

    Because you believe Microsoft is comprised of mindless cheerleader types? Have you not read Mini-Msft, we don’t all cheer mindlessly but fromt his poitn forward I’ll associate mindless generalizations with you.

    "There’s any number of videos on the web showing Steve Ballmer screaming in some sort of our-team-is-the-best kind of way."

    Yeah, it would be better if he got up in front of the whole company and screamed how much we suck. While most agree he goes a bit over the top that is kind of the purpose of the company meeting.

    "He’s an intelligent guy, so I guess that sort of behavior works for whatever it is he hopes to achieve."

    You really can’t figure out what he is trying to achieve?

    "In my own limited experience, I once attended a Microsoft presentation about some product-or-other. The presenter, allegedly a techie of some kind, nevertheless managed to whip the crowd into a frenzy by hurling free T-shirts at them."

    Allegedly a techie? Did the hurling of t-shirts and trying to to get the audience excited about the product void their techie credentials ro something?

    "(I was sort of hoping one would come my way so I could drop it disdainfully on the floor – I don’t wear adverts)."

    This is really the most revealing sentence in your little note. Clearly you are a pompous ass who believes that all of that rah-rah is beneath him and loosk for opportunities to insult those who don’t agree. Do me a favor, never come to any presentaion where I am possibly present…make that never go to a presentation because you are clearly there for the wrong reasons.

    "All in all, an awful lot of corporate Kool Aid seemed to get drunk at Microsoft in the ’90s."

    Yes, clearly there was no cause for celebration at MS in the 90s…

  8. steveg says:

    Yet another reason meetings are the work of the devil and must be destroyed.

  9. Speaking as a complete and total Microsoft outsider: Yes, "Fisk", tell <i>Raymond freakin’ Chen</i> that his Microsoft purity is low.

    That doesn’t make you look like an idiot, no, not at all.

    I can see why you chose to attempt to purify the ranks anonymously.

  10. John Stewien says:

    Wow, this seems to be a touchy topic. Sometimes groups of people get a little insular, within themselves they develop behaviour that is annoying. It passes. Probably what would be good is a pre-meeting cheer session – get it out of them – have a competition to see which group can cheer the loudest, then get on with it. If people cheer themselves hoarse it tends to make them quiet later on.

    I’m still laughing at the corporate kool-aid debate. People should be allowed to get enthusiastic about their job, afterall it takes up a good part of their life. I guess we could all hide away in a down trodden environment, but I know what sort of company I would rather work for.

  11. rasmus kaae says:

    I suppose this is the place for a complete stranger to walk in and state the obvious: Jeremy Bowser – please take the time to read the whole discussion before bashing others.

    Now back off topic, I went to the introduction conference for SQL Server; and my God – was that a bloated piece of cheering for nothing. I suppose it worked for the non-techies, however I felt a bit out side. I mean "Yay, we have a new GUI" is not my favorite addiction.

    And I have to say, I disagree with Raymon. Cheering your

  12. Cody says:

    Everyone should chill.  It’s all really just a reason to get exited.  Some people enjoy getting exited, especially in a group.  Some even consider it fun!

  13. Cody says:

    So did your fears come true, Raymond?  If so, who was the guilty group and did they obscure any important parts of the meeting?

  14. dave says:

    re:

    > I’m still laughing at the corporate kool-aid

    > debate. People should be allowed to get

    > enthusiastic about their job, afterall it takes

    > up a good part of their life. I guess we could

    > all hide away in a down trodden environment, but

    > I know what sort of company I would rather work

    > for.

    Well, I’m pretty enthusiastic about my job. I can’t think of much worse than going to a job I didn’t enjoy, or working with a team that didn’t think they were doing something worthwhile.

    But there’s honest enthusiasm and then there’s the whip-the-crowd-into-a-frenzy showmanship. It’s the latter that I don’t like.

  15. yep says:

    Reminds me of the cheering from the SpotWatch team a few years back.  I believe the rest of the company groaned at the same time.  

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