by: bubba murarka
Thanks Scoble for the chance to guest blog!
I thought I’d start off by telling the story behind my nickname Bubba.
My real name is Neel Ishwar Murarka, but for the last 15 years my friends have called me Bubba. I got the name in high school right before my freshmen year. I played football and was a constant smart mouth to one of the coaches. Not a great idea since he made me run lots of extra laps during every practice. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pronounce my last name. I think it was the second “r” that got him. Anyhow, since I was the biggest guy on the freshmen team he started to call me Bubba. I was new to the area and didn’t know anyone, so when the first day of school came around (football practice started 2 weeks before school) I rolled in with the name Bubba. I guess I could have made a point and asked to be called Neel, but I thought Bubba was fun and wouldn’t last that long. Ironically, I only played football my freshmen year, but I still have the nickname Bubba!
In college I kind of took the name and ran with it…literally.
My first stint at Microsoft was as an intern on the Macintosh Office team. Like most companies, Microsoft issues a login id that is a variant of your first and last name. Traditionally, it was the first name plus the first letter of the last name (e.g. blake irving got blakei – btw, Blake gave a great grad speech at my alma mater). As the company grew collisions started to happen and so people started getting first name and first two letters of their last names. Eventually the collisions happened so much that people got first letter of their first name and seven letters of their last name…just like good old unix login names.
How are the last two paragraphs related to the name Bubba?
When I got to Redmond on a sunny day in June of 2000 I was granted the glorious login id of “t-neelmu”. The “t-“ signified I was an intern. The “neelmu” was there because Neel Malik (now a PM on the Spaces team) already had gotten first dibs on “neelm”.
By the end of my summer internship I realized people tended to refer to others by their alias. A ton! I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be called “neelmu” day in and day out if I came back to MSFT full time. So when I decided to join the threedegrees team in 2001 I asked if I could get something other then neelmu as my alias. My recruiter and new team all knew me as Bubba, and so I got bubbam as my Microsoft alias. It is still pretty funny to see the quick double take people do when I introduce myself in professional settings!
I love my nickname, but my Mom still calls me Neel whenever we talk. Whew…that was a lot to write about a nickname. Hopefully I didn’t scare anyone away!
updated: added a by-line to identify myself as the author & added slight bit of correction on the text/link to wikipedia.