Stable Strategies for Middle Management
This morning, I was lucky enough (or crazy enough) to be allowed to co-present a Webcast with Robert Scoble to our UK evangelism team. These are folks that cover the IT Professional audience, and wanted a briefing on blogging and on how to use blogs.msdn.com in general. So if you wondered why the goofy short post by me hogging all that RSS bandwidth, well, that's why. Keeping it real, babe.
As mentioned before in previous posts, there is nothing like presentations to bring out my neurotic tendencies, and this one was no exception. If I hadn't been coached by Chris Sells on Friday and done a walkthrough of the technology with the British team, I'd have been a goner...after all, I was presenting with Scoble, a man who makes a living evangelizing, and I was presenting to evangelists, who also are pros at this. Nevermind the fact that someone with a British accent sounds perfectly refined reciting the phone book and they had to listen to me with my Seattle-by-way-of-Florida-and-California-native-Bostonian mishmash. (That jumble all sort of evens out so I sound like Peter Jennings without the Aboout inflection, but it's certainly not Masterpiece Theater!).
As it was, I actually sounded reasonable, fairly competent, and I got my stick figure with a sword image to show up from the Kingdom of Loathing game. This is all you can hope for on a Monday.
That is, unless you are bio-engineered for success. On Saturday I was lucky to manage to catch a few minutes with Eileen Gunn, former Director of Advertising and Sales promotion at Microsoft during the '80s, and get a signed copy of her new book of science fiction short stories, Stable Strategies and Others. The title story, Stable Strategies for Middle Management, is hilarious but the afterword is what killed me. I won't ruin the story or afterword for those who have not read it, but I'll note that she mentions Kafka and writes this sentence about the tale:
"I felt that working at Microsoft had irrevocably changed my personality, and I was trying to describe the evolution I had undergone."
I should add: Eileen is not a bug!
Eileen herself is very cool, very hip in a black suit, and very gracious. Her partner John D. Berry had designed the book, so he was particularly beaming as I looked at the cover. My connection to Eileen goes back to my bad old Seattle Webgrrl days...I'd heard about the reading and book signing from Women in Digital Journalism, an active writers' group that spun off from Seattle Webgrrls.
In another surrealist magic moment (or is that magical surrealism moment) I had to leave her reading early to go to a Microsoft gathering that featured, among other notables, Josh Ledgard and an inordinate amount of dogs. (It was a dog birthday party. No, working for Microsoft like a dog does NOT mean that you will be bioengineered to turn into one.). The birthday dogs got a new toy that I want to try out on my evil cat, Nikita. The dog version the Bowlingual translates what your pooch is telling you - the Meowlingual is its cat counterpart. I'm not sure I will learn more than Nikita wants more shrimp and feels I don't worship her enough, but well, I do have a day job.
Perhaps all this post really says is: Microsofties are not what stereotypes expect us to be. Or perhaps all this post is meant to say is: there are many types of representation, some insect, some human, some animal, some technological. All you have to do is decide.
Where do you want to go today? :)
Live it vivid!