Staying cool is one of the skills of a corporate president

Some time ago, there was a mechanical problem with the heating/cooling system in our part of the building, and one of the senior managers in our group took the opportunity to tell a story of a one-on-one skip-level meeting he had with Steve Sinofsky.

I'm sitting there in my office with Steve, and there was something wrong with the HVAC, because as the meeting progresses, it gets warmer and warmer, and eventually I'm sitting there sweating profusely, not exactly making the best impression on our group president. Steve, on the other hand, appears to be completely unaffected. It's sweltering in my office, but he's cool as a cucumber.

It can't be more than five minutes after the meeting is over before a team of technicians swarms into my office to figure out why the heating system has gone berzerk.

Steve must've whipped out his phone as soon as he left, called the Facilities desk, and said "Dude, there's something seriously wrong with the heating system over in room 1234. It's like an oven in there. You need to check it out." And since the request came from a corporate president, it got dispatched with high priority.

Comments (12)
  1. SH says:

    Steven Jay Sinofsky (born 1965) is a former President of the Windows Division at Microsoft from July 2009 through his departure on December 31, 2012. He was responsible for the development and marketing of Windows, Internet Explorer; as well as online services such as and SkyDrive.

  2. DebugErr says:

    So many Steve's, Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, but actually, Sinofsky isn't one of them. ;)

  3. Sven2 says:

    Just because he's a cyborg doesn't mean he can't have temperature sensors.

  4. AC says:

    Makes you wonder how many levels are between Raymond's manager and his group president, as Raymond certainly is a senior software architect or something. Can you count that number on one hand?

  5. ChiefInspectorClouseau says:

    Not having served in a branch of the military, I cannot verify the story, but presumably drill instructors would wear long underwear on sweltering hot days so their charges would think they never broke a sweat.  Maybe Sinofsky did something similar.  Or maybe it was nanotech — who knows?

  6. cheong00 says:

    It lets me wonder: Since this is one-on-one meeting, if the room is that hot, why wouldn't he just change to another room? A corporate president should be able to get a spare room quickly. Have a meeting in a sweating-hot room doesn't sound productive at all to me.

    [The meeting is held in the manager's office, not a conference room. (No point taking up a conference room for just two people.) Are you going to go to the guy next door and kick him out of his office? "Your office. Give it to me." -Raymond]
  7. DebugErr says:

    Oh wait, "Steve" is a short for "Steven"? Punish me

  8. Boris says:

    I suppose Sinofsky's office was too far away for something like "Hey, you wanna continue in my office while send for a team to check out the AC?" Or maybe they needed something from this manager's office?

    [Microsot's main campus is pretty large. The walk to Steve's office was over 1km. -Raymond]
  9. @Boris says:

    If you're willing to put up with it, then so am I. Let's learn.

  10. anonymous says:

    Note that at any point as the temperature was rising it would have been fine had the subordinate got up and objected to the temperature of the room. Just like many of the Sinofsky underlings could have raised more questions during the win8 cycle. I was there, many people knew the crummy tablet and the crummy app platform were going to fail hard. But few could say very openly that the emporer had no clothes. Meanwhile there is very little honor in sitting in an overheated room.

  11. cheong00 says:

    I don't know about Microsoft's campus, but maybe there are a few conference room on each building, like those for individual team briefing?

    It seems very useful to me for having conference room of 4 people's size with projector.

    [There are many conference rooms, but they are nearly always in use. -Raymond]
  12. Ken in NH says:


    As someone who grew up in a warm, often humid, area, one of the tricks you learn is that cotton underclothing will keep you cooler especially when soaked in water or sweat. For the same reason, you should never wear cotton during outdoor activities in cold weather climates (such as where I live now) unless you enjoy hypothermia.

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