Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Taking the Blue Pill, RC1

So here I am after my first day with the Microsoft TAP program for a new product I'm probably not supposed to talk about. So while I won't talk specifics, I will talk about the experience.

I can't get used to all of the pine trees and buildings on hills. In the land of tall corn, all you see is maple, oak, and the occasional walnut. To see all of the conifers out here, still gloriously green, is somewhat breathtaking. And to look out and up to see not the sky but hills, with houses and buildings, will take some getting used to. Seattle is a beautiful place, but crowded.

The Microsoft campus gives the term gargantuan new meaning. I can't get a handle on all of the buildings involved yet, but it dwarfs everything around my home with the exception of perhaps the local college campus. It was the first cafeteria I've seen that had a food court style arrangement, with different goodies available from different locations.

But most of all I was impressed with the Microsoft staff. They genuinely cared about what we had to say, the needs we had to meet, and what we thought of their product. They took notes with eagerness, whether we said we loved a feature or thought something was stupid, or too complex, or not complex enough. They really took the time to make us feel like we had a say in where the product was going, both from a look and feel standpoint and from a roadmap overview.

The actual hands-on portion was less than thrilling. It was the kind of high level overview I experienced with the SMS / MOM training a while back. It was MUCH more interesting and informative only because we had a product engineer sitting with us, to answer questions and give input. So while we sometimes strayed wildly off topic of the task at hand, we still managed to get them completed and provide the feedback that they were looking for.

At the end of the day they crammed everyone into busses and we went to the Columbia Winery, which would be a great place to go if you're a drinker.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll hit the Microsoft Employee store, where I can get Xbox games for the kids cheap.
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