Seattle, 7/27 6:30PM
Just got back from the annual College Hire and Intern Fair. Every year we hold a big bbq for all the interns and college hires who started this summer. Today was a beautiful day for the event (ok a bit hot). And also a bit of a celebration because Beta1 of Windows Vista was released to select partners.
Today we had about 60 booths set up for all the teams at Microsoft to show off their latest and greatest software. There were demos of all the new work going on in the company—we have a lot of new products spanning just about every type of software you can imagine. Of course we had a booth showing off Office “12”!
The highlight of the day is a speech and q&a session with Steve Ballmer. Steve is incredibly enthusiastic about hiring from college and told the story about starting Microsoft’s college hiring program back in 1980 or so. Ever since then the company has grown college hiring every year.
The q&a was really good. There were a bunch of good questions. One super interesting question was about what Microsoft can do to encourage women (in particular) to join the ranks of technology/computer scientists. I know from working with Steve that he is incredibly passionate about diversity and he also referenced the work that BillG is doing with his wife Melinda through the Gates Foundation. Steve also talked about the programs we have for high schools both for internships and also to help educators with their technology needs. An interesting part of his answer though was how much more the technology industry can do around diversity in general. He spoke about how we need, as an industry, to do much more to bring in additional points of views and additional ways of working—going beyond the culture that dominates now.
Microsoft is an incredibly diverse company. We recruit college students from all over the world. Just in my hallway at Microsoft there are men and women from every continent (well no Antarctica) representing probably a dozen native languages and cultures. The diversity is all around us – but all of us in the technology industry need to keep doing more to respect and encourage diversity so our work products continue to be products for the world and products of the world.
Out on my MSN Space I put a few pictures from today’s event.