Highlights from Boston recruiting


The past couple of days have been busy with a round of presentations and discussions at MIT, Sloan business school, and Harvard College. I know folks are always super busy so I appreciate the time everyone took out of their busy schedules to meet on campus. I always find the opportunity to meet and talk with students incredibly energizing and fun. Thank you!


First stop was a roundtable with about a dozen second year Sloan students, including a number of former Microsoft interns (shout out!). We had an ad hoc class complete with name cards and cold calling. It was great fun. Of course the questions were incredibly insightful and fun to discuss. We talked about subjects ranging from career progression at Microsoft, marketing and selling Microsoft Office, developing products at Microsoft scale, and a good discussion on the Microsoft work environment. I also had a chance to talk about why I still love working at Microsoft which is always easy and great to do. We had a very interesting discussion around offering segmented or lower-tech versions of technology products and the pros/cons of doing that.


After that we walked across campus and to the engineering side of the place and met in 34/101. Here I had a chance to present to a very lively audience on the topic of developing Microsoft Office and what it is like for making design choices for 400,000,000 people. This was great fun. The questions were non-stop and amazing. I showed some of the design and research tools we use in developing Office and showed a movie of some advanced techniques for listening to customers :-) And yes, one person even asked (after about 60 minutes of fast paced discussion of the detailed research and development) if we would be “releasing the work under open-source”. I admit this was tough to answer–I kept thinking to myself who would pay for my hotel room that night if we didn’t get to sell anything. Of course it is all sincere and quite appropriate for the audience. I was especially impressed with everyone’s knowledge of calculus as I showed the new equation editing features in Word and made a non-sense example of an integral to the limit of a square root or something–only at MIT kids only at MIT! A few folks blogged their experience and so I thought I’d include those links here:



Tonight at Harvard I had a chance to present in the very fancy Maxwell Dworkin building and for the first time present in the fancy new lecture hall. It was cool! The group was great and it was fun for me because there are a lot of hardcore Macintosh users so we talked a bit about how the Mac and Windows products evolved. Just a reminder to get in touch with Larry if you’re interested in summer internships!


I also had a chance to meet 1:1 with some students, which is always a great opportunity for me. I met with a former intern who talked all about his experience in data mining on the MSN team and his high school math teacher who happened to be a pretty well-known former Microsoft employee (who invented program management!). I also met with a student who was interested in program management and product planning, but was a little concerned over not having a technical background. I explained that many folks who are passionate about technology but self-taught work at Microsoft in these roles and so I’d strongly encourage applying–after all the roles of planning and program management are about applying technology to solve problems and that means we need people with all sorts of backgrounds who can bridge the technology and customer “gaps” and deliver innovative solutions. I pointed out that one of the leads on the new user interface in Office “12” is a musician and actually performs locally in Seattle in his “spare” time.


Oh, and of course I had a chance to visit our Beverly, MA office and spend the day with Groove. They are making a ton of excellent progress on their release. More news on that soon! But we’re hiring from college out at here as well, so of the Boston area is where you want to live we have openings and are very committed to the new england region (as I mentioned in a previous post).


Thanks again to everyone!


–Steven

Comments (12)

  1. Hi Steven,

    I attended your presentation at MIT and I am both impressed with Office 12 and your excellent presentation. I am the guy in the black shirt sitting in center/third row in the picture you took at the beginning 😛

    I have been using FrontPage for many many years. I created the fairly popular technical resource (http://www.kirupa.com) using only FrontPage, and in my past life, I wrote a book on FrontPage 2002 for McGraw-Hill.

    In your presentation, almost all programs with the exception of FrontPage were mentioned. Is this because there isn’t much demand for FrontPage from a college-level audience, or is it because work on the product is still not at a publically previawable state with features still in flux? The reason I believe (hope?) the latter to be true is that I haven’t seen any FP12 screenshots on the web either.

    I believe FrontPage excels at creating code that works in the popular browsers (2002 and up), and it’s site management tools are far simpler, imo, than those by Dreamweaver and other competing services. With that said, I don’t see that being promoted in any of the major design magazines, tech journals, etc.

    There seems to be a general disdain for FrontPage among many designers that I work with, and their reasons are still based on what FrontPage was in 1999 or 2000. What are you or your team doing to try to change that perception?

    It seems like it is getting lonelier as a designer who primarily uses FrontPage AND publically admits it 😛

    Cheers!

    Kirupa =)

  2. Fadi says:

    I guess if they further develop Front Page, they’ll face anti-trust issues.

  3. Kirupa says:

    I think FP would be the least likely of the MS programs to face that problem because it isn’t bundled with most versions of Office (including Professional). It is available only as a standalone/upgrade product.

  4. steven_sinofsky says:

    Oh gosh no, actually there are way too many things to mention and so here’s a list:

    Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, FrontPage, Visio, Project, Publisher, OneNote, InfoPath, SharePoint Portal Server, Windows SharePoint Services, Content Management Server, Project Server, and OfficeOnline.

    All of those are created by the team we talked about (and have job possibilities).

    FrontPage continues to be the leader in the category in units (it is way cheaper than the competition). This release we have continued to enhance it in two dimensions. First, it is an amazingly rich "HTML Editor" and handles all the aspects of HTML super well (HTML, XML, CSS, script, etc.) It won a couple of side-by-side reviews last release and this release I think it will win more. And second, it is a tool for designing and customizing SharePoint Portal and Team sites. It supports a broad range of features that make it easy to build custom sites using the SharePoint platform.

    More information on FrontPage can be found on Rob’s blog on http://blogs.msdn.com/rmauceri.

  5. Kirupa says:

    Thanks for the info Steven! :)

  6. alex says:

    "high school math teacher who happened to be a pretty well-known former Microsoft employee (who invented program management!)"

    hmmm does he happen to be Jabe Blumenthal? 😉

  7. Fadi says:

    It’s been a long time since your last post. Write us something nice and debatable! :)

    Fadi

  8. steven_sinofsky says:

    About once per week :-) Hang in there.

  9. Hardik says:

    now its really a long time :(

  10. dinesh k says:

    Should the focus be on just visiting the top 10/20/30? I am sure they are smart kids….but you can get smart kids everywhere, and Microsoft should do something that the industry does not look at – tap into the top x% from every college regardless of geography, IVY league or not, look at the creative juices flowing then…

    The top 50 get the best funding, the attention, the media and facilities, then produce good grads…but the ones that stand out in my opinion are those who produce graduates out of minimalistic resource, i think they deserve a chance too worth thinking eh?

    I think creativity comes out of getting a diverse group together to work on solving an issue….my 2c, cheers 😉

  11. steven_sinofsky says:

    dinesh k — we absolutely do this. we recruit at many many schools around the country and the world.

  12. dinesh k says:

    Thanks Steven..I actually meant, visits from executives, motivating students, the scientific student community etc..

    Imagine the boost they would get vis-a-vis an IVY league school that probably gets one biggie a week visiting them..not sure if many Microsoft execs visit any universities other than the top 50. If they do, Kudos….

    Cheers, Dinesh