by: bubba murarka
I really digg working at Microsoft while living in the Silicon Valley. Telling people I work for MSFT in the valley is the second biggest double take generator in my bag of tricks (behind my name and right before my hair without gel in it). I often hear "you guys have an office down here?" and "I thought it was a sales office". We do have a sales and research office if SF, but there are also a bunch of product development and research teams down here in Mountain View as well.
The campus is commonly referred to as "SVC" which stands for silicon valley campus. There isn't a birds-eye view available of the campus, but here is a zoomed in aerial shot of campus. Here are the product teams that have people down here:
- Toolbar (+ more)
- Sidebar Gadgets
- Hotmail (mail, contacts, calendars + more)
- Powerpoint and Office Art
- MacBu (entourage & vpc for sure + more)
- Windows (not sure what though)
- MSN TV (the msn service and hardware)
MS TV TV Services (ip based tv technology)
- Xbox Hardware (design + more I think)
- Search (labs + more I think)
The company formally known as Messagecast Alerts
There is also Niall's new rss team (or at least niall), and of course my new team dealing with information management. In fact, I'm pretty sure there are several more product teams down here that I just haven't met someone from. On top of product teams there are biz dev, evangelist, recruiting, general HR, administrative, sales and of course Microsoft Research peeps. If you work at SVC and your team or role is not listed add a comment and I'll update the list(s)!
I've learned a few cool things about campus since starting here. Perhaps my favorite factoid is that the four main buildings of SVC are each "themed" after a color of MSFT's logos (Blue, Green, Red, & Yellow – colors are featured in all msft logos…well except for xbox). The themes are water, land, fire, and wind.
We have our own company store to buy msft products from, a library, a technology showcase, cafeteria, a wells fargo atm, and sports facilities (volleyball and basketball courts).
My dirty little SVC secert: In building five on the second there is an illy coffee machine that I sometimes hit up when our coffee counter is closed. It is run by MSR and I probably need to out by who exactly and give them some replacement coffee.
I don't know the exact number of people working on the campus, but it feels like a mid-size high school. This is really perfect because you end up making random connections with people based on familiarity and common use patterns. You also end up seeing people you sort of recognize on flights to Redmond and have people to eat with when your flight is late or carpool to redmond campus with in order to beat the traffic.
Speaking of random connections, I just found a post by Dennis (from toolbar team) about SVC on the jobsblog. Here is a map of the companies Dennis mentioned to help visualize where we are located in context to some other valley based companies.
Hopefully that gave the flavor of SVC. I wanted to share a little bit further on why I like working for msft down here.
The diversity in people, ideas, and culture of technologists in the bay area is phenomenal. It is the silicon valley for a reason, but it is incredible the number of new ideas that are discussed and cross pollinated here. Also, having people work at big, small, and medium companies that all have different review cycles, reward structures, and product spaces helps drive better conversations and good entropy. Personally, I've found many amazing people at MSFT (like mc who is visiting SVC this week) but I also like meeting people with completely different frames of reference and ideas.
It is really cool to be an MSFT ambassador in the valley. Getting to attend, share and connect with people at things like Lunch 2.0 (well soon!), SDForum Sigs, and Computer History events is just plain old awesome. I love the personal connections that end up in lunches with new friends from competitors and partners alike where we compare notes on cafeteria food, culture, and development approaches.
Being close to world class universities, top tier venture capitalists and enthusiasts results in all sorts of cool events to attend – like startup school.
I hate to cite the weather especially since the last 2 months down here haven't been all that wonderful. But nothing beats a beautiful December day drive with the top down!
That's probably enough about SVC & the bay area for one night. If you have questions about the campus or life down here as a microsofter I'd love to answer them!
Updated: Corrected some team names per comments & added some more types of peeps that live here in SVC!