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!