blogging the faculty summit

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Despite my somewhat snarky comments of yesterday, I've enjoyed being at the faculty summit over the past two days. The attendees here are smart and savvy and a pleasure to talk to. The research being discussed is cutting-edge and intriguing. The MSR projects being demoed are amazingly cool. The design expo, which showcased student projects in interaction design from six different universities, was fabulous. And in true Microsoft style, everything has worked like clockwork--transportation, food, entertainment, etc. (I'll be posting photos to Flickr later tonight with images from last night's dinner cruise.)

It's easy to blog about problems--when there's friction or blockage the impulse to vent provides a powerful incentive to write. But now that I'm "inside," I wondered what kind of response I'd get to my somewhat negative posts yesterday, particularly from my new colleagues here at MSR. This is, after all, one of their flagship events, and I was taking shots at their featured speakers. (I have asked for access to the video of Wulf's talk yesterday, so that I can watch it again and see if I somehow misunderstood or misheard him. I'm pretty sure I wasn't, but I'll feel better if I check.)

I'm delighted to report that I've received no negative backlash, and a good bit of positive reinforcement. The message that I've been hearing here, over and over, is that employee weblogs are powerful and valuable, and that they should be honest. On the internal mailing lists about blogs, I've seen employees castigated by their colleagues for being overly defensive in response to criticism, but not for levying criticism of their own.

Overall, I've found the corporate culture here much less oppressive than I'd anticipated, which has been a pleasant surprise.

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I feel that the ability to think critically is vital to the success of any organization. I also commend the employees at Microsoft for stepping back to see how their organization is seen by newcomers. Maybe, Microsoft is able to stay competitive in the marketplace by truly valuing feedback from others.

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This page contains a single entry published on July 19, 2005 4:06 PM.

microsoft research faculty summit: william wulf talk was the previous entry in this blog.

microsoft research talk: jim witte is the next entry in this blog.

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