Play bridge (it's like poker, but for smart people)

I'm on the organizing committee for the inaugural Microsoft Giving Campaign bridge tournament, and that is the slogan I proposed we use to promote the event. The rest of the organizing committee was less inclined than I to offend most of Microsoft's game-playing population, so we didn't use it, unfortunately.

One thing I really like about working here is how encouraging Microsoft is about volunteering and giving. They match any donations we make up to $12,000 per employee every year, and when you volunteer time somewhere, they match that by giving that organization $17 for every hour you spend there. In October it is our annual Giving campaign, and everyone is invited to host events, seminars, and fund-raisers to raise awareness and money for whatever good cause you want to support, resulting in millions and millions going to philanthropies.

They make it rain in the club, if you will.

So that's why we're having a bridge tournament, to raise money for United Way's global fund. If you work at Microsoft you can read more about the tournament on this internal sharepoint. And, if you're not familiar with bridge, I'll remind you that you can think of it like poker, but for smart people.

Now don't get your panties in a bunch, poker players! I like poker players. I do. Some of my best friends play poker. Good people.

Not smart, no. But really, really good people.

In related news, one of the biggest events of the Giving Campaign is this company-wide online auction (link on MSFT intranet), where employees donate things and we can all bid on them. I donated two things to the auction. Maybe you can ask your Microsoft friends to bid on them. I hope someone bids on them, or I will feel a little dumb.

Your Very, Very Own Tour of the Pike Place Market
I'm a tour guide for Seattle's historic and fun Pike Place Market, via the Market Foundation ( I'll take up to 8 of you for your very own, one-hour tour of the market followed by a round of beverages on me: drinks of your choice (coffee, tea, smoothies, wine, or cocktails) in market hotspot of my choice....more on
Microsoft intranet

The Seattle Aquarium is Your Oyster
Your kids will freak out, your out-of-town guests will rave, and your inner marine biologist will hum happily when you win this private tour of the beautiful and fascinating Seattle Aquarium. Your bid includes admission fees for up to six people and up to two hours of time with an authorized Aquarium tour guide, who happens to be my brother...more on
Microsoft intranet

There are all sorts of other things, too, like a Halo 3-branded 2007 Kawasaki KFX 700 ATV, a chance to go jogging with Steve Ballmer, and a 2002 Cadillac Escalade - Original Xbox Edition. I have not bid on those things, but I have bid on the following:

  • World's Best Bologna Sandwich - Hand Delivered! (it's up to $27 now)
  • Homemade ethnic Indian Delights for a party of 4!
  • Use of a 2005 Corvette for a Day
  • My friend Josephine's murder-scene-baked-goods (see figure 1)



Figure 1. Peep Murder Cake









I'll let you know if I win anything.

I really want that sandwich.