Monthly Archives: June 2008

The very last town hall meeting from Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer

I was really touched to listen to Bill Gates’ last Q&A session on Friday at the employee town hall meeting and sad to see them both with tears in their eyes.  it’s obvious that Bill and Steve have a lot of deep affection for each other as the in jokes and laughs between them as they reminisced about their early days, about Bill’s lack of a degree, taking Steve away from business school, fooling around at the office, and what they think of the leadership team  and the vision for the company in years to come.

I was also moved to watch Steve in tears towards the end of the session and seeing Bill wipe his eyes was very moving.

Obviously the event was designed for internal staff only but I’ve found a video courtesy of the Austrian Ready blog where Bills Secretary shares some insights into Bill and the dress code. 

Video: Dress to Impress 

I had a search around for some other videos and I’ve found the following videos which were also shown at the meeting. 

Paul and Bills first company – before Microsoft – Traf-O-Data


At Harvard:


This video shows Bill’s father and sister talking about working with him at Microsoft:


The birth of Microsoft and the early days:


So what did Microsoft really sell???


His vision for a computer on every desktop:


Explanation of the Albuquerque photo with the original members


Jeff Raikes (who has now managed to look after the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation) talks about Multiplan and successes and failures and how they moved on from their mistakes


Early impressions about Microsoft and Bill as an entrepreneur:


How the GUI evolved:


The DoJ, competition over the browser and growing pains:


Not wanting to go public with the company:


Starting Microsoft Research:


Paul Maritz and product reviews with Bill:

Typical work schedules at Microsoft. I think some of the product teams still do this based on some deadlines even now 🙂


Ray Ozzie, J Allard and Craig Mundie talk about Microsoft: change and innovation


You can find other videos about Bill here on the Microsoft site here:

This video, with Melinda Gates, I’ve left till the end – it has some wonderful sentiments in it.  and I love the mission statement for their foundation:  “all lives have equal value”

Powerful stuff, and just the right thing to do that will enhance deserving children’s lives throughout the world.  Certainly something to reflect on…


Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

I first saw this video years ago but found it again on Travis’s blog.  Wise words and advice indeed.  The best tip is the title of this post.

Oh, to be able to go back in time and follow all of the advice you know now.  I would have been braver, said no much more often than I did.  I would have not had that “Just one more drink” on several occasions, backed out of several “dares” And I certainly wouldn’t have gunned the throttle 2 weeks ago and killed my car either…

I would not have tolerated the emotional abuse that I took from 2 of my friends, and I would have been much more tolerant of some of my friends in need when they needed me the most.

There are lots of other bad habits I also wished I’d broken when I was younger

And I wish I’d taken more note of this video when I watched it the first time and watched it when I was young.

– and I didn’t do the sunscreen tip either – still don’t…

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Put your monitor to sleep

– and turn out the lights when you leave are just 2 of the 10 ways to try to curb global warming and improve your carbon footprint.

I found these tips on Microsoft’s Environment site (which links to the MSN green site too).  It’s good that we’re collating all of our green IT initiatives together so that documents like being a great environmental leader don’t get lost amongst other stuff we produce. 

Pieces of broken icebergs floating on the sea

I have 2 energy saving tips:

Try to grow your own vegetables.  you don’t need much space – a large pot will do, and you’ve saved all that diesel and food miles – as the food doesn’t have to travel far to get to your kitchen.  Also – the satisfaction of actually eating something you’ve grown from seed is wonderful.

My techy tips.

Try to make your gadgets last a bit longer.  Do you really need to buy another newest / latest / greatest / smallest device?  (Jason would say yes!)

Work from home as much as possible.  with Wifi, Broadband, VOIP, Webcams, you could try to spend one day a week at home – and save on that petrol as much as you can.

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Looking at Bill Gates’ photo album

I found this lovely slideshow on CNN of Bill Gates’ early photos and hearing him talk about them. It’s almost as if he’s sitting next to you on the sofa, flicking through some prints


This image is one of his early business cards and it’s interesting to hear how and why he decided to set up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The deck and narration doesn’t take too long to get through – only 6 minutes, but it’s certainly worth a look at as it gives a different perspective to his public persona that we all know so well.

Certainly worth a look – and the links at the end of the slide show (here and here) are also work a read

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Office Communicator – on voice and video

I suppose there’s one small benefit to being without a car at the moment is that I get to chat to a lot of my colleagues on Communicator and video.

Here’s my call with Jane this morning.  I have 1/2Mb broadband, Jane has about 1Mb. We were chatting about how things were during the rest of TechEd IT Pro week, how her session went and how Rhonda from my panel won Speaker idol on Friday – Woohoo! (you can see the heats here on TechEd Online by the way)


The yellow triangle above the call duration window tells me that the call quality is poor.  But what did I actually notice?  A slight latency in our voices which meant we can’t interrupt each other too much, and a bit of lip sync between the voice and video.

But I saved a bit of carbon by not going into the Office today (130 miles) but I expect I used all of that up in all the electricity I used from making all those coffees …

I’m not really a geek then?…


I’ve been playing Server Quest and I’m totally rubbish at it, my scores are far  too dismal to admit in print (some of these geeks obviously have too much time) but playing it has reminded me to tell you about the TechNet plus subscription offer that we’ve been running in the UK for a while now. 

Here’s info about Server Quest…

Are you geek enough to win the entire office’s respect? Prove it. Play Server Quest, where you’ll navigate through the perils of office life, protect the server, and keep clear of the arrogant sales guy. Look for it online at www.server-quest.comThis spring, play Server Quest…and give a geek a chance.

If you want to renew / take up the offer of a TechNet plus subscription and  use my promotional code which is  ITPro1 you can get 30% off a new TechNet plus subscription and 10% off renewals.  the promotion is open until 30th June so you’ve got a few more days to make up your mind about it.  You can have a listen to the intro of Server Quest to see what the benefits are too…

Oh and if you live in the US, Kevin’s blog has the link to the US version of the offer…

Why, oh Why does this still happen?

I received an email yesterday that left me stunned.

"National Electronics Week" is a show now on at Earl’s Court.
"We urge everyone to come along to the event, celebrate our world class capabilities and put the UK electronics industry back on the map," added Simon Payne. "The event is far more than a showcase of
products and services, it is a major networking opportunity, a place to interact face-to-face and cross-fertilise with peers in the industry."
The XJTAG girls – follow the link below to download a high resolution image – will be welcoming visitors to this inaugural event. The XJTAG team will be on stand C61.


Photo caption: XJTAG’s international models Gemma Massey and Laurena Lacey will be welcoming visitors to National Electronics Week at Earls Court (17-19 June).
For more information about visiting
National Electronics Week, visit Information about XJTAG.

Well…. I’m speechless

Why the relevance of hard hats to the electronics industry? (note to the Advertising agency concerned perhaps?) – and the footwear doesn’t exactly comply with the Health and Safety executive requirements either.

I honestly don’t think that this should be portrayed as a suitable image for 21st Century organisations where the proportion of young women following STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines is reducing year on year and the challenge of getting young girls to take these career options is getting harder.  All of us who work in the Technology (and Science) industry, have a responsibility to encourage the next generation of young people into taking up IT, science and maths careers –  and not promoting marketing images like this that seems to put the industry back years and years. 

Fortunately someone has seen sense and the image above has been taken down from the site but obviously we’ve got a long, long way to go here.  I’m just amazed that in these enlightened times when we’re all too aware of the dearth of females in IT and technology this sort of perception is still propagated out there…

Thanks to Jan  from the BCS for forwarding the mail.

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