Today I strolled through the Commons at the MS corporate campus. The atmosphere there is comparable to academia. We have a couple friends who are PHD students, and probably life-long scholars, and when you reach that level of academic pursuit, there’s a great deal of freedom and resources available to you. The campus here is very much the same: if you’ve made it here, then many of this massive company’s resources are at your finger tips. The people walking through the commons with you are some of the best in their fields, and the organization has no issues with making sure they are comfortable and well cared-for.
I shopped at the employee store, and bought cheap swag. I even bought Ben and Abi shirts that say “I’m a PC” on them!
I purchased a Windows Mobile phone. Its an HTC Touch Pro 2 — possibly the best Windows phone out there right now. I don’t think I should disclose employee pricing, so I’ll just say that I bought it for 7 times less than anyone else could have. This will be my company phone, and has a U.S. phone number. Its a very good phone, and it may actually supplant my iPhone.
I spent $30 on a movie!
But you don’t understand, this was one of those things you should do once. The theater’s shtick was that it provides a “gold class” experience. Each theater seats no more than 40 people — each in an individual reclining chair. You have your own personal waiter who pads silently into the room at the touch of a button to bring drinks (you get unlimited free soda in the price), and meals off their 4-star restaurant menu (not free), or a pillow and blanket to make you more comfortable.
I didn’t really know what I was getting into — I just wanted to catch a flick to get out of the hotel — but when you walk into the place there are leather chairs around a stylish fireplace, and a polished mahogony bar… it just looks so classy and unique that I decided to splurg and try it — since the meal portion, at least, was covered.
It’d be incorrect to classify this as an easy trip: there’s a lot of people to meet, a lot of things to learn, and I’m still so new that most of the equipment and resources my co-workers take for granted aren’t yet available to me — I’m typing this on the oldest, heaviest, bulkiest TabletPC you’ve ever seen (my own, much sleaker, PC is still on-order.) But its incredibly fun to be here, and what I’ve learned so far has been encouraging and affirming. Things only get more fun from here!