The Company Meeting, the interesting science of Forensic Typography, and what happened after

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/09/21 16:31 -04:00, original URI:

So a few days ago, I was at the Microsoft Company Meeting.

Nothing I haven't done before, mind you. Regular readers might even remember when I have blogged about it previously (eg here).

This time, I figured I've actually been doing the 545 bus into Seattle often enough that I could trust that particular way of getting there, scooter and all.

I had already learned about the accessibility options and such, so I felt ready.

And it actually worked out pretty well. :-)

I wore the group tshirt they handed out, and I brought the hat (though I didn't wear the hat; I'm not a hat guy!).

As happened last time, I did not bother with the assigned section for the group since it is about as accessible as K2 would be, for the scooter. I went right to the field.

The funny part was that unlike the first time, no one questioned where I was going -- I think people assume if you look confused that you might be in the wrong place. But if you go boldly forward then they just assume you know what the hell you are doing....

I won't talk about the meeting content itself, other than to say I did not leave feeling inspired. If people are interested then Mini might have something to say. :-)

But I did have a chance to talk to several of the other folks on the field level, and I got to learn about what a bunch of other groups do (and as usual I got to explain that no I don't speak a lot of languages, and no I won't do localization!).

Like one person who actually reads my blog, who congratulated me on the Bulldog Award. I'll admit it, that was cool. And no, I don't carry the award around with me, though it was a very funny question to be asked, as was whether the award helps me with the ladies (no, I explained, it doesn't -- being stubborn can often be a detriment there!).

And then one group in particular fascinated me -- the STB Finance group.

They had these great shirts with text that said:

Got Budget?

Server & Tools Finance

Now yes I thought it was funny.

But that wasn't what got me.

What got me was that the font they used -- Comic Sans MS.

I told them I thought this was totally awesome!

They were actually surprised that I knew what the font was, so we talked for a bit about the fascinating science of Forensic Typography, something I am really just a beginner in (it is amazing to watch the experts) but after seeing Helvetica I have been noticing both that font and Comic Sans MS more often. They just kind of jump out at you.

As the meeting was winding down they even gave me one of the shirts:


That night I finally went on one of those outings from the Seattle Barnight group on Facebook (they are a little less formal then the Seattle Anti-Freeze folks, and they don't require one to be a couple to at the event). I had been missing events for months (always other stuff going on), but with the scheduled bar just blocks away from the unofficial after-party I was at from the Company Meeting, I just decided to go for it.

An I had a great time, plus met a bunch if people who were all from the area but weren't all employees if Microsoft (no offense, but 'Softies do have their drawbacks, particularly when it comes to non-geeky conversations!).

All things considered a great use of a day, and although slightly hungover in the morning the next day (Friday), I was able to jump in and get a bunch of interesting work done. Because the work is still quite interesting, even if I can't talk about it just yet....


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Dale on 22 Sep 2008 12:28 AM:

"But if you goboldly forward then they just assume you know what the hell you are doing"

Frank Abagnale made a very similar point in his book.  

To paraphase: people expect to see what they see.  If you look the part, people will accept you being there.

Michael S. Kaplan on 22 Sep 2008 12:51 AM:

Good ref, Dale!

Catch me if you can! :-)

referenced by

2010/12/25 "Comic Sans Fixed", that rather sansless dream-o-mine

2008/10/12 I'm not Arial, I'm HEL-๐”‰๐”ฒ๐” ๐”จ๐”ฆ๐”ซ๐”ค-VETICA, baby!

2008/09/29 The difference between Six Sigma and Sigma Diaresis is one must never fail; the other seems to do so by default

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