Imagine our luck when we found one of the fancy conference rooms available for our meeting

Some time ago, the group I was a member of was looking for a conference room in which to hold their weekly team status meeting. The group leader went to the so you want to book a conference room for your weekly meeting internal Web site and, hey wow, there was a slot available in one of the fancy conference rooms for Tuesdays at ten in the morning.

Not all conference rooms are created equal. Most of them are pretty utilitarian in nature with a central table, standard-issue chairs, a speaker phone, a whiteboard against one wall, all the stuff you need for a meeting but nothing particularly noteworthy. But in this particular building were three "fancy" conference rooms right off the lobby with warm wood panelling, a giant flat-screen monitor against one wall, floor-to-ceiling windows on another wall up against the neatly manicured lawn. (I bet these conference rooms were created specifically to impress visitors.) Naturally, these "fancy" conference rooms are snapped up first, and when you try to book a meeting, you nearly always have only the boring rooms to choose from.

"Awesome, we got one of the fancy conference rooms," we thought to ourselves, and we congratulated ourselves on our good fortune.

And then we held our first meeting in the conference room.

The meeting went well at first, but after a few minutes, the roar of landscaping equipment made conversation difficult.

Remember that neatly manicured lawn right outside the window? That lawn doesn't trim itself by magic. It requires a landscaping department to keep the lawn looking neat and green and in good health. And they do that work on—you guessed it—Tuesdays at ten in the morning.

It wasn't long before we moved our meeting to one of the boring conference rooms.

Comments (13)
  1. someone else says:

    That’s not the lawnmower. It’s the sound of how awesome this conference room is!

  2. keith says:

    Can you lock down the time slice for winter months?

  3. keith says:

    Can you lock down the time slice for winter months?

  4. R. Bemrose says:

    You would think someone would block out the conference room during that time frame to avoid this sort of thing.

    Sort of like how we block out our conference rooms on days we’re using them for parties and potlucks. :)

  5. Cooney says:

    You would think someone would block out the conference room during that time frame to avoid this sort of thing.

    What, and miss this educational opportunity?

  6. tekumse says:

    I can’t believe I am the first to tease you about Google using goats instead of lawnmowers.  But it is not surprising considering MSFT environmental record:

  7. someone else says:

    Aren’t goats really icky methane producers? Might as well use (solar-powered?) lawn mowers for that.

  8. No matter what the topic is, there is ALLWAYS somebody that finds a way to bash Microsoft :-( . I believe (some) people have too much free time.

    P.S.: please take back the nitpickers’ corner! ;-)

  9. Angus says:

    We have a fancy new building at the head office. The conference room looks out from underneath a wire-stayed roof on the top floor. When the wind blows, the wires "moan" quite loudly. It makes for interesting comments for anyone at the other end of a phone link.

  10. Tom says:

    Greenpeace is great as a contrary indicator.  Microsoft should build a nuclear power plant to power its operations.  That’ll really tick them off.

  11. Mark (The other Mark) says:

    That greenpeace article is a joke, right? E-waste, dinging Microsoft for only using 24.4% of it’s electricity from renewable resources, etc? That can’t be meant as anything other then a joke?

  12. Matt says:


    Google only uses goats on a seasonal basis, to trim fire-prone areas.  They do not use them as full-time lawnmowers :-)

  13. I've been in London too long. says:

    Hmmm. Just like you only ever make the mistake of getting on the empty carriage of an underground train in rush hour once.

    There’s a good reason for that carriage being empty. Normally a passed out drunk in need of an adult nappy. It’s always fun to play "spot the tourists" though :) They only ever last for one stop and then they join the rest of us with our faces crammed up against the window in all the other carriages.

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