‘Tis a pretty place

Well, I’m back at Microsoft again. I come to the Microsoft campus two to four times every year it seems. And this year will be no different. In fact, I already know that I’ll be back here in November later this year.

The Microsoft campus is both impressive and, at the same time, unassuming. On the one hand, the buildings are very pretty. They don’t build their buildings any taller than the treeline. So most buildings are no more than 4 floors high. An interesting cultural thing that dictates a lot about how they construct their campus of buildings is that every employee gets a real office – no cubes (unless you’re a contractor). They’re running short on room for all of their employees. So they recently lifted the 4 floors rule, though they haven’t built any really tall buildings yet.

Here’s a picture of the building across the street from where I was at today:

The buildings are also quite impressive, especially on the inside. They’re all very nicely appointed. Most of the employees have 2 or even 3 PCs, if they’re developers. Almost every building has one or more nice snack and drink areas with fully stocked deli-style refridgerators full of sodas, juices, milk, and chocolate milk. They also are equiped with very nice coffee (it’s Seattle after all!), teas, cocoa, etc.

Another things that’s really neat about the bigger buildings is that the bottom floor always has a really nicely furnished game rool. The one in Building 35, the SQL Server building, has pool tables, dart boards, ping pong tables, old arcade game consoles, pinball machines, the works! If you’re interested, you can watch a video of my buddy, Euan Garden, giving a tour and talking to some of the SQL Server team members.

You also sometimes see funny or unusual things in the various buildings that were put there in support of some product launch or another. The picture below is of a complete driving console that was shipped out with the release of the XBox 360 launch:

Well, I’ve been gone for three nights and I really miss my kids – A LOT! I can’t wait to get on that plane and see them tomorrow.




  1. That’s cool that they don’t build huge buildings. (yet anyway) I’ve always heard good things about Microsoft and how it treats its employees.

  2. I heard Bill Gates was complaining to Congress that he can’t find enough developers and needs more people from India. He said he pays them 100k per year and that there are just tons and tons of jobs for developers so it shouldn’t be a problem to bring in another 100,000 Indian IT workers each year. I’m thinking he has never called me, no one has ever offered 100k for any developer job I’ve seen advertised and he’s full of it. But that was just my knee-jerk reaction. I think what he meant was that he needs the absolute best of the best because the only tech workers (non-management) from India that I see getting that kind of pay are senior DBAs. But I have heard the Microsoft only hires the absolute most talented and most expensive people.

  3. Microsoft does treat their employees better these days. You’re not expected to work incredibly long weeks like back in the day. Of course, the trade of was that you’d be a millionaire in stock before too long. On the other hand, they do offer almost every benefit known to man.

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