Dear Reader,

Has she lost her mind?!?   Ok… I still “Google it!”  However for the rest….

“Success is the journey you go through.” Qi Lu  If anyone knows the truth of that statement, it would be Microsoft.  They have certainly suffered their setbacks in our technical community over time.

NERD 11th floor

NERD 11th Floor

Qi Lu was the speaker at Wednesday night’s event “Future of the Web and Search: An Evening with Microsoft Online Services Division President Qi Lu”.   He went on to say that anyone who is motivated, who can dream, who  has the tools & capabilities can impact how we live and what we will become.  The best way to build future is to work together

All of us can be part of that force to build the future together.

That’s the kind of culture that I like to be a part of.   So is it true?   Does Microsoft put its money where its mouth is?

It’s Code / Web Camp season. These events are hosted at Microsoft at any one of their facilities around New England and the United States. They are free, open to the public, and they provide lunch & breakfast. In addition, there are generally door prizes and giveaways.

NERD Conference Room

NERD Conference Room

In the last two months, I’ve personally won or been given Visual Studio 2010 Professional, Micrsoft Office 2010 Professional, numerous free technical manuals… all of which retail for approximately $1200 or more.  These are resources that can make the difference between career success and failure in a horrific economy.

So, like most of you I figure that these guys – Chris Bowen, Rachel Appel, Jim O’Neil, Joe Stagner and all the other presenters at the Web and Code Camps (see notes below for a complete list) were all getting paid by Microsoft for these events to promote their work and comapny.  Not at all.  They all donate their time to give back to the technical community.

I know firsthand that Jim O’Neil has organized events as well as  coordinated and handled the challenging logistics of lining up volunteers and sponsors and even done the little details of making nametags and putting together gift bags.  He was the acting receptionist for  Code Camp 15 greeting the guests and making us feel welcome.   Patrick Hynds donated time and effort to making Code Camp 15 a great success. Most of these people are easily accessable by Twitter – @RachelAppel, @ChrisBowen, @jimoneil, @MisfitGeek…

For those of you hard sceptics out there who feel that all this demonstrates is that Microsoft is good at promoting its business and that none of that proves that the almighty dollar isn’t their god.  How about this?  New England Give Camp 2011.  “Code It Forward.”   Over a crazy weekend filled with fun, hard-work, and rewarding moments; technical professionals donated their time and talents to develop solutions for non-profits and charities – approximately valued at $175,000. Microsoft donated space in their facility – without which some of us couldn’t have made it.   We camped out the weekend there for free, reunited with friends made last year, made new friends this year, had lots of great food and saw our contribution to the world firsthand.


Qi Lu At Nerd Courtesy of XConomy

Where are Apple or Google?   Who are their top people?  Can you follow them on Twitter?  What are they doing to improve the world that doesn’t require me to spend more money than I can afford?  Do they generously offer to give back to the technical community out of the billions of dollars they’ve earned?  What opportunities are either of them providing for me to flourish as  technical professional during the worst economy since the great depression? I ran into someone who works for Apple at the Future of the Web and Search event who asked the same questions.   He said he saw no such support from either Apple or Google.

I was going to do some development work for a friend of mine who uses Apple products. The support was rude and nonexistant. Microsoft plays well with others.  In addition to fantastic support for the pc community, they open their facilities to host such developer groups as PHP, WordPress, etc. I routinely see people programming on Macs at the Microsoft events.   They aren’t escorted out of the building and no evil befalls them.

So… the persistent sceptics might argue that Microsoft only changed its ways becuase they had to.   Anti-trust lawsuits, angry customers, and the rise of open source and competitors.   I’ve been accused of being naive and looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.   I have three responses to that.   I, personally, find that how I make my way through life matters more than how I make my money.   The opportunity to personally contribute to philanthropic organizations bettering the world matters to me.   Secondly, if you believe for a moment that Microsoft is only good because they have to be, that’s fine with me.   I have the opportunities regardless of how it came about.  Thirdly, I have a wonderfully supportive enviorment to develop as a woman in the technical field.  I thought that in-your-face sexism was a thing of the past.   Not so.  Just today, I ran across “It’s The Small Things That Count” in a Twitter feed.   You have to see this to believe it.

I’ll accept the challenge of the sceptics and the Microsoft-haters and present one of my own.   Go to the events – they are free and open to the public.   Meet the people and talk to them yourselves.  What kind of journey do you want to have in life?

For me, I’m sold.   Google and Apple need to get with the program.


Code Camp 15 Speakers
CC15 Speakers

Thanks also to the 30 speakers volunteering their time and expertise to share with the community!
•Andy Beaulieu
•Chris Bowen
•John Bowen
•SB Chatterjee
•Ben Day
•John Garland
•Richard Hale Shaw
•Tom Haslam
•Patrick Hynds
•Sunil Kadimdiwan
•Justin Kohlhepp
•Slava Kokaev
•Jesse Liberty
•Steve Maier
•Todd Mancini

•Igor Moochnick
•Andrew Novick
•Jim O’Neil
•Varsham Papikian
•Steve Resnick
•Joe Stagner
•Jerry Sun
•Pat Tormey
•Frederic Torres
•Mike Walsh
•Dileepa Wijayanayake
•Bill Wilder
•Maura Wilder
•Joan Wortman
•Frank Wu