The work that this lab in Cambridge does is really quite astonishing. I sat with a group of Microsoft staff and distinguished visitors and was in awe of Stephen Emmot and his team. They talked us through two incredible projects with such nonchalance it was almost funny. The first by Drew Purves focused on Understanding and Predicting Forest Dynamics and in turn the world climate. The second by Andrew Philipps was focused on understanding the workings of Biological systems.
Both of these projects have the potential to radically change our world – seriously. This is big big impact stuff.
What amazed all of us in the room is the lack of knowledge about this type of work from Microsoft. I think it would dramatically change opinion on Microsoft as a company. Why? Well neither of those projects has any real relevance to Microsoft’s core business but we’re investing heavily in employing outstandingly smart people and letting them go do smart things. If they turn in to products that’s great. If not, that’s no problem.
The day reminded me that I work for one or the worlds most incredible companies doing a wider range of work than any of us really can imagine. The travesty is that we need to tell these stories more to help people realize that Microsoft isn’t just about Windows, Office and Bill Gates. It’s way way more than that.