The borg’s coffee sucks, new employee says

Doug Mahugh wrote up a report on his impressions of his first six weeks working at Microsoft. Says the coffee sucks. Oh, I agree! I’m drinking it right now. It’s drinkable, but that’s about the best you can say. Luckily there’s a Starbucks only a few yards from my office. But, like Doug says in his report, the other stuff makes up for the crappy coffee.

Oh, speaking of which, anyone notice that Microsoft is rarely called “the borg” anymore?

At dinner last night we were talking about just that. That Liz’s friends are telling her that Google is now scarier to them than Microsoft. She told us that AOL forced Google to start putting graphical ads on the search engine. I told her “oh, so they sold their philosophy down the river?”

Hey, Bill and Steve, now is the time to take the philosophy game over. I wrote a post in October of 2004 where I asked “what’s your product’s philosophy?”

Oh, just found this interview with Google’s Marissa Mayer over on Good Experience. She says: “We feel no pressure at all to switch to graphic ads, either internally or from advertisers.” Oh, really? Welcome to AOL!

Hmm, Preston Gralla over at CMP’s Networking Pipeline asks a more direct question: Has Google Become More “Evil” than Microsoft?

That’s not a question for a Microsoft employee to answer. But, if you find our evil, can you please send it back home where it belongs? Thanks! πŸ˜‰

The philosophy question is the deeper and more important one, though, or maybe it’s the crappy coffee talking.

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89 thoughts on “The borg’s coffee sucks, new employee says

  1. I like the coffee at Microsoft Germany :). Unfortunately, the next Microsoft office is about 2 1/2 hours away from here and I’m only there a few times a year when we have meetings (I work at home), so I have to make the coffee myself.

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  2. I like the coffee at Microsoft Germany :). Unfortunately, the next Microsoft office is about 2 1/2 hours away from here and I’m only there a few times a year when we have meetings (I work at home), so I have to make the coffee myself.

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  3. Microsoft Ireland has a Starbucks! Was the first one in the country too AFAIK.
    Dunno if they coffee is nice though – I never drink it while I was there. Not a hot drinks person.

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  4. Microsoft Ireland has a Starbucks! Was the first one in the country too AFAIK.
    Dunno if they coffee is nice though – I never drink it while I was there. Not a hot drinks person.

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  5. The borg are actually somewhat cool, something Microsoft isn’t πŸ˜‰

    As for scary evil companies, ALL huge companies scare me. With the conduct of many large companies, I think consumers should naturally be wary of ginormous corporations. But I don’t view all huge companies as evil. If we’re just looking at GYM, the evil ranking goes M > G > Y. As a web developer, I can’t unrank Microsoft as the top tech evil until IE7 comes out.

    But I actually lamented one of Google’s evils on my blog just today: http://www.richbrownell.com/page.php?id=174 On my video game site, which is quite large and has tons of content for Google adsense to put appropriate ads, I’m seeing tons of completely off topic ads. Check it out (gamesarefun.com) now and you should see either an add for the movie The Ringer or an ad for Ford Explorer. What those (and other ads) have to do with video games is beyond me.

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  6. The borg are actually somewhat cool, something Microsoft isn’t πŸ˜‰

    As for scary evil companies, ALL huge companies scare me. With the conduct of many large companies, I think consumers should naturally be wary of ginormous corporations. But I don’t view all huge companies as evil. If we’re just looking at GYM, the evil ranking goes M > G > Y. As a web developer, I can’t unrank Microsoft as the top tech evil until IE7 comes out.

    But I actually lamented one of Google’s evils on my blog just today: http://www.richbrownell.com/page.php?id=174 On my video game site, which is quite large and has tons of content for Google adsense to put appropriate ads, I’m seeing tons of completely off topic ads. Check it out (gamesarefun.com) now and you should see either an add for the movie The Ringer or an ad for Ford Explorer. What those (and other ads) have to do with video games is beyond me.

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  7. The best part? The Doug uses a Textdrive for hosting, which is traditionally a Ruby on Rails host. You figure all MS employees are force fed the koolaid and would only use .NET hosting services.

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  8. The best part? The Doug uses a Textdrive for hosting, which is traditionally a Ruby on Rails host. You figure all MS employees are force fed the koolaid and would only use .NET hosting services.

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  9. Isn’t there anything better to write about than the coffee? How about the poor guys at Redmond who are much more concerned about process stifling creativity and fostering mediocrity. Come on Robert – there are bigger fish to fry than crap coffee and cheap cracks at GOOG.

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  10. Isn’t there anything better to write about than the coffee? How about the poor guys at Redmond who are much more concerned about process stifling creativity and fostering mediocrity. Come on Robert – there are bigger fish to fry than crap coffee and cheap cracks at GOOG.

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  11. Drinkable? You think? I find it decidedly not so. It tastes like an oil refinery smells: that peculiar combination of burnt toast and toxic fumes. And since the Starbucks counters around campus closed at 2:00 today, I seem to be out of luck!

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  12. Drinkable? You think? I find it decidedly not so. It tastes like an oil refinery smells: that peculiar combination of burnt toast and toxic fumes. And since the Starbucks counters around campus closed at 2:00 today, I seem to be out of luck!

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  13. Robert’s posts, taken in sum, are a window into the culture of cutting edge tech, how it matures and, along the way, struggles to maintain integrity. Po Bronson wishes he could do as well.

    For instance this one. Coffee and corporate philosophy. It very handily sums up the story of how companies move from young trailblazer (and, yes, I’m old enough to remember when Excel was trailblazing…) to places where people whine about the coffee. Google is on the road.

    The brain-dead corporate flak media have, of course, missed the important story in the TimeWarner reaming of Google: what do Sergey and Larry think about AOL having preferential treatment in the Web index? Something MS refused AOL because it was “unethical”.

    Robert got it.

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  14. Robert’s posts, taken in sum, are a window into the culture of cutting edge tech, how it matures and, along the way, struggles to maintain integrity. Po Bronson wishes he could do as well.

    For instance this one. Coffee and corporate philosophy. It very handily sums up the story of how companies move from young trailblazer (and, yes, I’m old enough to remember when Excel was trailblazing…) to places where people whine about the coffee. Google is on the road.

    The brain-dead corporate flak media have, of course, missed the important story in the TimeWarner reaming of Google: what do Sergey and Larry think about AOL having preferential treatment in the Web index? Something MS refused AOL because it was “unethical”.

    Robert got it.

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  15. Dennis: I’m noodling on a post about those topics (we talked about them at dinner last night too) but I want to make sure I know what I’m talking about first. The coffee is easy to talk about. It’s in front of me. Microsoft is actually like 100 different companies under one roof, so blogging about lack of creativity is much harder because it’s not the same throughout Microsoft. There are certainly some teams that are remarkably bad and some teams that are remarkably good. I try to focus on the good ones so that the bad ones see how to do it.

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  16. Brian: how about my other post where I talk about my cool phone? Geesssh, I didn’t realize I have a conspiracy theory whenever I write about anything.

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  17. Dennis: I’m noodling on a post about those topics (we talked about them at dinner last night too) but I want to make sure I know what I’m talking about first. The coffee is easy to talk about. It’s in front of me. Microsoft is actually like 100 different companies under one roof, so blogging about lack of creativity is much harder because it’s not the same throughout Microsoft. There are certainly some teams that are remarkably bad and some teams that are remarkably good. I try to focus on the good ones so that the bad ones see how to do it.

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  18. Brian: how about my other post where I talk about my cool phone? Geesssh, I didn’t realize I have a conspiracy theory whenever I write about anything.

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  19. Phones are nice. I don’t care about phones.

    I care about how much Google is going to push Microsoft off track.

    On lighter news, I’m officially on vacation until January 3. I am very happy.

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  20. Phones are nice. I don’t care about phones.

    I care about how much Google is going to push Microsoft off track.

    On lighter news, I’m officially on vacation until January 3. I am very happy.

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  21. I think there’s a bit of confusion / FUD going on with this whole graphical ads in Google thing.

    Firstly, and straight off the bat, it doesn’t make sense: what does AOL care that Google offers graphical ads? They have no access to any income from Google ads anyway!

    The fact of the matter is that AOL have made Google make graphical ads available for the ads that are showing on AOL real estate.

    That is all.

    Google are basically providing a customised version of Google ads for AOL to run… yes, they may end up providing this customisation for other sites to run but they’ve already said that they will never run them on google.com.

    Quite a molehill I think…

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  22. I think there’s a bit of confusion / FUD going on with this whole graphical ads in Google thing.

    Firstly, and straight off the bat, it doesn’t make sense: what does AOL care that Google offers graphical ads? They have no access to any income from Google ads anyway!

    The fact of the matter is that AOL have made Google make graphical ads available for the ads that are showing on AOL real estate.

    That is all.

    Google are basically providing a customised version of Google ads for AOL to run… yes, they may end up providing this customisation for other sites to run but they’ve already said that they will never run them on google.com.

    Quite a molehill I think…

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  23. uh, i got no beef with the coffee discussion…funny that you’re in seattle serving anything less than excellent…perhaps harbucks could come sponsor something beyond the little machines i saw once in building 4 by the dining area (like a mini harbucks)

    at any rate, that is some serious crapola from elgoog – and this is not the first departure from their flexible mission statement (apparently with heat it becomes quite flexible)…their ‘base’ offering provides a back door to selling porn, liquor and guns – something which they swore was unacceptable from advertisers…though strange!? they can keep that kind of spam out of gmail but can’t seem to keep the valve shut on base.google.com…gosh, somebody might imagine that maybe, just maybe, they want to see what happens when they really do offer everything that people pay for (including liquor and not just wine, guns and not just knives and porn, not just swimsuit calendars)…already ranted about this on my blog a while back (re: base, “google grows up” etc)

    have a great holiday. also, you ought put up some kinda like 300 word max thing on these comments…good lord, i thought i was bad until i saw the guy who did the novel up above πŸ™‚

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  24. uh, i got no beef with the coffee discussion…funny that you’re in seattle serving anything less than excellent…perhaps harbucks could come sponsor something beyond the little machines i saw once in building 4 by the dining area (like a mini harbucks)

    at any rate, that is some serious crapola from elgoog – and this is not the first departure from their flexible mission statement (apparently with heat it becomes quite flexible)…their ‘base’ offering provides a back door to selling porn, liquor and guns – something which they swore was unacceptable from advertisers…though strange!? they can keep that kind of spam out of gmail but can’t seem to keep the valve shut on base.google.com…gosh, somebody might imagine that maybe, just maybe, they want to see what happens when they really do offer everything that people pay for (including liquor and not just wine, guns and not just knives and porn, not just swimsuit calendars)…already ranted about this on my blog a while back (re: base, “google grows up” etc)

    have a great holiday. also, you ought put up some kinda like 300 word max thing on these comments…good lord, i thought i was bad until i saw the guy who did the novel up above πŸ™‚

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  25. As a regular visitor to the Microsoft campus, I tend to agree. The coffee is crap. So is Starbucks. If I remember correctly, the campus coffee is from a pair of agrarian gents. Microsoft would do well to cut a deal with local roaster Zoka, which happens to be home of two barista champions, and get some good coffee on campus.

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  26. As a regular visitor to the Microsoft campus, I tend to agree. The coffee is crap. So is Starbucks. If I remember correctly, the campus coffee is from a pair of agrarian gents. Microsoft would do well to cut a deal with local roaster Zoka, which happens to be home of two barista champions, and get some good coffee on campus.

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  27. Starbucks is overroasted crap for people who think that coffee has to have a 10:1 ratio of sugary crap to coffee.

    A well-blended, properly ground coffee that is brewed right can be consumed black. If you can’t drink it black, it’s crap.

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  28. Starbucks is overroasted crap for people who think that coffee has to have a 10:1 ratio of sugary crap to coffee.

    A well-blended, properly ground coffee that is brewed right can be consumed black. If you can’t drink it black, it’s crap.

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  29. Good grief, is an observation about coffee really worth all the reaction/attitude? I mean, I’ve spent a lot more time and money this year blogging about Hurricane Katrina victims, including the ones I helped dig through the wreckage of their homes in the days immediately after it hit — does that redeem my coffee comment?

    Seriously, life’s not full of heros and villians, there’s some subtlety out there too, Dennis. And the lack of creativity in some parts of Microsoft isn’t really that much bigger of an issue than the taste of the coffee, if you look at it from a perspective a little broader than the keyboard in front of you. Coffee and creativity are light-hearted discussion topics, not life-and-death issues.

    Speaking of subtlety — don’t you think it’s a bit obnoxious (and a waste of precious bandwidth) to cut and paste an entry from your own blog and post it as a comment on somebody else’s blog? There’s a concept known as linking that’s really handy in such situations.

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  30. Good grief, is an observation about coffee really worth all the reaction/attitude? I mean, I’ve spent a lot more time and money this year blogging about Hurricane Katrina victims, including the ones I helped dig through the wreckage of their homes in the days immediately after it hit — does that redeem my coffee comment?

    Seriously, life’s not full of heros and villians, there’s some subtlety out there too, Dennis. And the lack of creativity in some parts of Microsoft isn’t really that much bigger of an issue than the taste of the coffee, if you look at it from a perspective a little broader than the keyboard in front of you. Coffee and creativity are light-hearted discussion topics, not life-and-death issues.

    Speaking of subtlety — don’t you think it’s a bit obnoxious (and a waste of precious bandwidth) to cut and paste an entry from your own blog and post it as a comment on somebody else’s blog? There’s a concept known as linking that’s really handy in such situations.

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  31. I’ve no idea how a post ended up dumped to your place in its entirety – I didn’t do a TB – WP just sucked up the lot from a TB….need to fix that – sorry. Off to the WP codex toutes suite.

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  32. I’ve no idea how a post ended up dumped to your place in its entirety – I didn’t do a TB – WP just sucked up the lot from a TB….need to fix that – sorry. Off to the WP codex toutes suite.

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  33. Bad coffee and Google one-offs, glad you are able to focus on the important things that are happening.

    No news allowed about Breda Pickering, eh? πŸ™‚

    Oh one thing you might take note of, Jeff Bewkes becoming TW head soon, which spells certain doom for MFST. But all with the Ian McAllister hints and rumors of some MFST conspiracy with another Tier 1, blah blah blah. And Vista CTP is make or break, if IT is not convinced and just upgrades with hardware, you are looking at a serious serious hit.

    PS – The Windows Live Messenger beta pay for invites and general corruption is beyond crass. Shame.

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  34. Bad coffee and Google one-offs, glad you are able to focus on the important things that are happening.

    No news allowed about Breda Pickering, eh? πŸ™‚

    Oh one thing you might take note of, Jeff Bewkes becoming TW head soon, which spells certain doom for MFST. But all with the Ian McAllister hints and rumors of some MFST conspiracy with another Tier 1, blah blah blah. And Vista CTP is make or break, if IT is not convinced and just upgrades with hardware, you are looking at a serious serious hit.

    PS – The Windows Live Messenger beta pay for invites and general corruption is beyond crass. Shame.

    Like

  35. 1. Microsoft is still the borg over the slashdot…

    2. I can’t recollect when Google said they will not have graphical ads. I might be wrong though, Please remind me.

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  36. 1. Microsoft is still the borg over the slashdot…

    2. I can’t recollect when Google said they will not have graphical ads. I might be wrong though, Please remind me.

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  37. Maybe instead of the borg, Microsoft can be likened to King Kong: a huge gorilla that was scary in the past, and just got a makeover in a vain attempt to make it relevant for today. Unfortunately, the only opponents it can win against are dinosaurs. Put half a dozen little biplanes against it and it goes down like a sack of spuds.

    πŸ˜€

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  38. Maybe instead of the borg, Microsoft can be likened to King Kong: a huge gorilla that was scary in the past, and just got a makeover in a vain attempt to make it relevant for today. Unfortunately, the only opponents it can win against are dinosaurs. Put half a dozen little biplanes against it and it goes down like a sack of spuds.

    πŸ˜€

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  39. The “who’s more evil” argument depends on your definition of evil.

    From an interoperability standpoint, Microsoft is still far more evil.

    However, I know who’s been churning out more useful stuff that benefits more platforms, and it’s not MS.

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  40. The “who’s more evil” argument depends on your definition of evil.

    From an interoperability standpoint, Microsoft is still far more evil.

    However, I know who’s been churning out more useful stuff that benefits more platforms, and it’s not MS.

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  41. Dude, Starbucks has crappy coffee too. Did you not have a coffee in Paris while you were there? Any random cafe will have vastly better coffee at about 1/4th the price of Starbucks (which always tastes “burnt” to me).

    Starbucks is to coffee what McDonalds is to hamburgers. I refuse to patronize either.

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  42. Dude, Starbucks has crappy coffee too. Did you not have a coffee in Paris while you were there? Any random cafe will have vastly better coffee at about 1/4th the price of Starbucks (which always tastes “burnt” to me).

    Starbucks is to coffee what McDonalds is to hamburgers. I refuse to patronize either.

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  43. We have Peets at the office and let me tell you that having good coffee is a huge morale booster.

    Sometimes it’s the deciding factor for me when I’m deciding whether to come into the office or work from home.

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  44. We have Peets at the office and let me tell you that having good coffee is a huge morale booster.

    Sometimes it’s the deciding factor for me when I’m deciding whether to come into the office or work from home.

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  45. “We’re Microsoft. We have 30 BILLION dollars in the bank. We throw away 12 THOUSAND man years effort (vista reset?). We’re more evil than the rest of the software industry put together. We’re innovators.

    And yet all we can talk about is how shit the coffee is”

    Discuss.

    Conclusion: Microsoft has lost its Mojo, and now its ability to spin silk out of shit. Big style.

    Honestly.

    Scoble. Your just drivelling.

    You’re supposed to be the leading light, The RSS-aware influencer, the geek within the machine – the industry analyst who is turning around this impression that MS is staffed from the neck up with dribbling idiots with no clue and less morals.

    Get with it, else you’ll get a stack ranking of 3.0 and have to HAND OUT the coffee in future. (Woops. was that a Mini-Microsoft reference?)

    Honestly. I come here for the “energiser-bunny-on-speed MS is *fantastic*”, “my wife is a better blogger than me”, “Ohhh! RSS!”, “My our current products suck big time, but look at whats coming next! Dont leave!” and “look who I’m having dinner with – ooooOOOoo!” news, and all we get is shitty coffee stories ?

    Sigh. You just cant get the staff.

    —* Bill
    http://www.billbuchan.com

    P.S. This has been cut down dramatically from its originally sarcastic tone.

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  46. “We’re Microsoft. We have 30 BILLION dollars in the bank. We throw away 12 THOUSAND man years effort (vista reset?). We’re more evil than the rest of the software industry put together. We’re innovators.

    And yet all we can talk about is how shit the coffee is”

    Discuss.

    Conclusion: Microsoft has lost its Mojo, and now its ability to spin silk out of shit. Big style.

    Honestly.

    Scoble. Your just drivelling.

    You’re supposed to be the leading light, The RSS-aware influencer, the geek within the machine – the industry analyst who is turning around this impression that MS is staffed from the neck up with dribbling idiots with no clue and less morals.

    Get with it, else you’ll get a stack ranking of 3.0 and have to HAND OUT the coffee in future. (Woops. was that a Mini-Microsoft reference?)

    Honestly. I come here for the “energiser-bunny-on-speed MS is *fantastic*”, “my wife is a better blogger than me”, “Ohhh! RSS!”, “My our current products suck big time, but look at whats coming next! Dont leave!” and “look who I’m having dinner with – ooooOOOoo!” news, and all we get is shitty coffee stories ?

    Sigh. You just cant get the staff.

    —* Bill
    http://www.billbuchan.com

    P.S. This has been cut down dramatically from its originally sarcastic tone.

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  47. Bill, after reading your comment I thought “damn, here’s a guy who probably has a really killer tech blog.” So, I went over and checked it out. What do I find? A post titled “what a fantastic day” where you talk about a nice box of chocolate.

    So, kettle, how does it feel to be black? πŸ˜‰

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  48. Bill, after reading your comment I thought “damn, here’s a guy who probably has a really killer tech blog.” So, I went over and checked it out. What do I find? A post titled “what a fantastic day” where you talk about a nice box of chocolate.

    So, kettle, how does it feel to be black? πŸ˜‰

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  49. Hey Scoble,

    I continue to like your blog stuff. If anything, the volume’s a bit much for me to catch up with, but if I want to read about primarily all the technical specifics of different MS stuff, I’ll read some MSDN blogs. I like the semi-randomness of your blog.

    With that said, I think your dig about Google wasn’t quite on the mark. Marissa and others have noted that Google won’t get cluttered with banner ads.

    With that said, I’m still concerned about the Google/AOL alliance for other reasons (many of which have been elucidated by other commentators and commenters), but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic for the time being.

    As for coffee… hmm… I didn’t have any during my recent visit to the Evil Empire, but I noticed that y’all don’t offer any free snacks. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled from the consulting I’ve done for smaller companies, but shouldn’t MS at least be offering free sugar and protein stuff to keep their coders fueled and happy? Surely the cost-benefit ratio would be favorable? πŸ˜€

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  50. Hey Scoble,

    I continue to like your blog stuff. If anything, the volume’s a bit much for me to catch up with, but if I want to read about primarily all the technical specifics of different MS stuff, I’ll read some MSDN blogs. I like the semi-randomness of your blog.

    With that said, I think your dig about Google wasn’t quite on the mark. Marissa and others have noted that Google won’t get cluttered with banner ads.

    With that said, I’m still concerned about the Google/AOL alliance for other reasons (many of which have been elucidated by other commentators and commenters), but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic for the time being.

    As for coffee… hmm… I didn’t have any during my recent visit to the Evil Empire, but I noticed that y’all don’t offer any free snacks. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled from the consulting I’ve done for smaller companies, but shouldn’t MS at least be offering free sugar and protein stuff to keep their coders fueled and happy? Surely the cost-benefit ratio would be favorable? πŸ˜€

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  51. Adam: in a later post I linked to Marissa’s post.

    Free snacks? Oh, that would be cool, but would be guaranteed to help me put on even more weight.

    Over in our offices in Copenhagen they have free candies, though. Yummy!

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  52. Adam: in a later post I linked to Marissa’s post.

    Free snacks? Oh, that would be cool, but would be guaranteed to help me put on even more weight.

    Over in our offices in Copenhagen they have free candies, though. Yummy!

    Like

  53. This company sucks, The office culture sux and why work for a company that don’t treat their employees right – canadianboy09

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  54. This company sucks, The office culture sux and why work for a company that don’t treat their employees right – canadianboy09

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