by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/08/17 03:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/08/17/4424342.aspx
So I was watching that video about the demolition of building 100 at Microsoft. You may have seen it if you work for Microsoft....
Anyway, they talked about all of the new buildings that were coming, and they showed all of the graffiti and damage that employees were inflicting on the building since it was going to be destroyed.
Good clean family fun.
There was this one part with Lisa Brummel, and her quote was something like this (in part):
When groups can come and do crazy, zany things to celebrate a building coming down, you know we're still alive and well.
It struck me funny. Attend me for a moment....
I'm not going to get all minimsft on you, and I personally don't think MS culture is dead at all, and I like some of th stuff that Lisa is doing.
But with that said....
I have a hard time seeing this incident as proof of that lack of thanatosis.
Maybe it is just me, but sanctioned vandalism of an about-to-be-demolished building seems kind of an imitation of an older MS culture.
Does it hearken back to nameless (well, I am not going to name them. You probably know who they are!) employees who punched or kicked holes in walls when they were very angry, damage that I assumed had to be absorbed by the facilities budget?
Sure, it does.
And imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, sure.
But no one is punching holes in walls today, at least not that I have heard of.
We still have culture at Microsoft. But I am reasonably certain that if I punched a hole in the wall or intentionally drove my scooter through something to punctuate a particular issue that I'd be paying for it (one way or another), and I might lose my job, too.
(Ignore the time I almost ran over Julie; the GM loophole has been plugged, and that won't be happening again. Plus, that wasn't on purpose.
Now if someone who was actually important did a stunt like kicking a hole in some drywall, I'm pretty sure there would still be some consequences, even if they stayed....
So rather than proof that the type of culture (or lack thereof) that led to that kind of behavior is still alive and well, the sanctioned vandalism of building 100 done under the eyes of the senior VP in charge of HR, this "approved shooting of a corpse" that it was, seems like a fitting memorial to that old "culture."
Like maybe we have grown up a little bit.
Now, had they let the vandalism happen months before the building was to be torn down, amd then people were still working in the building for a few months, maybe it would have been a different kind of symbol. Maybe it would have looked wilder and zanier and crazier.
But messing up the crap you're throwing away? That has to be the most tame kind of cutting loose there is.
Maybe other people see this differently.
Speaking personally, I am proud of the fact that it has been almost two and half decades since I have punched a hole in anything (it was a door).
I feel like I have grown up since; I certainly think I have a bit more culture than I did back then.
Maybe Microsoft can say the same here. On both counts. :-)
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