We finished the day with a group photo with Gates. After which, he made his way out of the building. It was somewhat surreal.

All in all, I enjoyed my time here at Microsoft. Everybody was very nice, especially Tim Harris from Microsoft who organized the event. I'd definitely enjoy doing this again next year. (Who'd say no to a free trip?)

Published December 06, 2007 · Updated December 06, 2007
Categorized as Conferences
Short URL: http://www.shoppingpr.com/s/858

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Chris Gross said on December 06, 2007

Wow! That was a really neat read.

Brian Gilham said on December 06, 2007

Nice work! When I first saw reports about this popping up on Twitter, mostly from Molly H., I was excited to see a transcript.

Sean McGee said on December 06, 2007

That is such a cool Experience!

Did anyone ask him, "Why does Vista suck so much?"

That's the questions I'd like to know the answer to.

J Phillips said on December 06, 2007

Definitely a good read. You struck a nerve with Mr. Gates, that was pretty humorous, but I'm sure he's used to being under the gun with those types of questions and defending Microsoft.

Rey Bango said on December 06, 2007

@Jonathan: LOL. No wonder you're way on the other end of the line and not next to Bill in that pic!! At least you got to meet him. I was invited many, many moons ago to the Microsoft campus (amazing place) but didn't get to meet him.

BTW, I picked up your book. Good stuff so far! :)

Scott Schiller said on December 06, 2007

Congratulations, that's pretty neat. I expect IE to be much better because of your guys' visit. ;)

Tony L said on December 06, 2007

wow, nice transcript of the discussion. More like a history lesson, but it was still a good reading. I think you can see now that they are trying to keep up the paste where they are not innovating. I can tell that this visit of yours wasn't just for display, but because they really want to be at the same level with other competitors in the market.
great, once again :P.

Henry B. said on December 06, 2007

That's pretty interesting stuff. I always wondered what I would ask Bill Gates if I ever met him. Its funny how he went off like that.

I think Microsoft does innovate in some areas but the innovations never seem to become truly successful products even in the business world. Windows is successful because they have a choke hold on the industry.

I guess at the end of the day they are just bad at making good practical products from the innovations those "wonderful researchers" come up with.

Brendan Falkowski said on December 06, 2007

Nice read. I just attended a presentation last week given by Lem Lasher, the Chief Innovation Officer of Computer Sciences Corporation. It was a pretty interesting departure from the usual lecture fare on consulting culture. He spoke about fostering innovation in a large company and the challenges of doing so on a global scale.

Bill Gates meetup? Very cool.

Lea said on December 06, 2007

Once again, it's the slightly off-kilter questions that get the best responses. Even unintended. Yay Snookums! :-D

Matthew Keefe said on December 06, 2007

Awesome! This was a great read indeed and it sounds like you had a great time. I actually know a few of the people that attended the event as well so it will be interesting to hear there views on the trip.

Kilian Valkhof said on December 07, 2007

very interesting read . I generally agree though, In many eyes everything microsoft seems to do is the baseline. All the attention currently goes to vista and IE, while stuff like silverlight and surface get ignored but are really interesting.

Bill already said it though, it's the company that does it best that get's credited, not the company that does it first. (as it should be, I think)

David said on December 07, 2007

I would love to be able to meet Bill Gates... That's so amazing! Congrats to you and everyone else that were invited.

A very cool article to read.

Matthew Oliphant said on December 07, 2007

I've often found that asking people to speak about a perception of what they do causes them to think you are asking about what they actually do.

Those two things are obviously related, but it's frustrating to me when I want to talk specifically about perceptions (and how to change them) and not about what is actually happening.

Glad you got the opportunity to go.

Andy Kant said on December 07, 2007

That sounds like a great opportunity. Wish that I could meet Bill Gates. :-/

J. Smith said on December 07, 2007

Wow, what a great opportunity! I'm glad you asked Bil Gates that question. It was great to read his reaction. I especially like the quote:

Everything Microsoft does is the baseline, and what we don't do, that's what's innovative I guess. (Laughter.) And by that definition the other guys do all the innovative things.

I know it's considered cool to hate Microsoft but I have a healthy respect for them. As for Vista, it wasn't an overwhelming success but neither is Apple's Leopard.

Dave Q said on December 08, 2007

Nice of you to strike Bill Gates' soft spot. But really, the perception is correct. Not necessarily all true but that's what is _perceived_ nonetheless.

They failed to innovate with things close to our hearts. E.g. IE6... Vista... IIS... their various web services... MSN, Hotmail, Passport just to name a few.

Funny you had to choose MS Word. In fairness to MS, the Office Suite is still a very good product. Better than everyone else, hands down. Next time tell him IE sucks big time.

I'd ask a sensitive question if I were in your shoes as well. Nice shot.

ChaosKaiz??r said on December 08, 2007

congrats, this is a good reads.

every stupid thing, we did first.

nominated as of the Quotes of the Years.

Johan said on December 08, 2007

is jeans the dresscode for IT pros ...

Marc Grabanski said on December 09, 2007

thank God for business computing, because it allows us to price our consumer computing stuff super cheap, and still pay the salaries of these wonderful researchers who like to be paid.
-Gates

I nominate that for "Quotes of the Years". What a great way to actually pay people, without worrying about consumer mention/respect. The stuff that fuels corporations seems to get very little mention. I could make something that makes millions for a corporation and not get any respect from the industry, but yet I write a JavaScript widget and the community goes nuts.

Ben Henschel said on December 09, 2007

Wow! That is a pretty amazing opportunity to be able to meet Bill Gates like that. I have to say it was very entertaining to read the transcript of the conversation you had with him.

Nishant Kothary said on December 10, 2007

Jon - you've earned an invitation from us every year :-)

I'm new to Microsoft, so I'm still prey to making all sorts of generalizations about the company, especially when it comes to innovation and design. It's too easy. You asked a question that I've heard so often from all sorts of folks (I'm guilty of having asked/asserted the same). I'm glad your question came out the way it did even if you didn't mean it that way.

David said on December 10, 2007

Microsoft puts the statement in their agreement when you buy a computer with their software in/on it: to accept 'Developement tools'. These tools in fact do copy your inputs and do attach them to other programs such as Media Player for additional colors if you have generated your own via photography that you have taken and placed in a folder. There are grounds here for copyright infrigement? Who wants this case? A musician who uses Media Player and does photography can see their own colors on the screen if they have been generated outside of what is provided by Microsoft. And if you copy this song, odds are the colors are copied as well for the next Media Player! Good show MS! It took us this long to find it and now we have blind pages and robots that copy anything in our systems to report them as well. BIG BROTHER has finally made it BIG! bummer...

Alexey Bass said on December 12, 2007

Also expecting IE to be better. Thanks for the article, Jonathan.

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