Living in the Valley

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!

Comments

  1. Hey Bubba, You forgot to mention La Fiesta down the street, man!

    Also, “The company formally known as Messagecast” = Alerts!

    Keep up the bloggin…

  2. Hey Bubba, You forgot to mention La Fiesta down the street, man!

    Also, “The company formally known as Messagecast” = Alerts!

    Keep up the bloggin…

  3. Nice post Bubba! There are also BizDev and Evangelists based in SVC. I’m an technical evangelist based in here – and I sit right around the corner from the espresso machine you mentioned (2255). Stop by and say hi next time you are in the area!
    -Don

  4. Nice post Bubba! There are also BizDev and Evangelists based in SVC. I’m an technical evangelist based in here – and I sit right around the corner from the espresso machine you mentioned (2255). Stop by and say hi next time you are in the area!
    -Don

  5. So it looks like you have to take over an A-list blog in order get back into it all huh? I miss your C-list blog man!

    I like these posts though, maybe it will get you back into regular blogging…

  6. So it looks like you have to take over an A-list blog in order get back into it all huh? I miss your C-list blog man!

    I like these posts though, maybe it will get you back into regular blogging…

  7. hooray for SVC. I just got hired out of college to work on hotmail there starting in September. Looking forward to it.

  8. hooray for SVC. I just got hired out of college to work on hotmail there starting in September. Looking forward to it.

  9. Great post about the valley. I’ve been lamenting our poor weather of late and have been posting photos of the weather via flickr on my personal blog dodoskido.com.

    Just a quick correction: MSNTV is now called TV Services. The name change came about to reflect our expanded role of working on a content discovery/management tools for all sorts of devices and the web as well. Sadly my work related blog (mytvlife.com) has yet to be updated to reflect our new found uber-TV-geekiness but will be as soon as May passes and my wife’s art shows are finished.

    I sit in SVC 2-1212 (right next to the printer) with a nice view of the VTA bus depot and Shoreline offramp. Stop by to say hi anytime or let’s have lunch sometime.

  10. Great post about the valley. I’ve been lamenting our poor weather of late and have been posting photos of the weather via flickr on my personal blog dodoskido.com.

    Just a quick correction: MSNTV is now called TV Services. The name change came about to reflect our expanded role of working on a content discovery/management tools for all sorts of devices and the web as well. Sadly my work related blog (mytvlife.com) has yet to be updated to reflect our new found uber-TV-geekiness but will be as soon as May passes and my wife’s art shows are finished.

    I sit in SVC 2-1212 (right next to the printer) with a nice view of the VTA bus depot and Shoreline offramp. Stop by to say hi anytime or let’s have lunch sometime.

  11. I live and work very close to the Mountain View campus and recently went there for a presentation on the Treo 700. When I got there I realized I was wearing one brown shoe and one black shoe. People were either a) too wrapped up in their general Microsoft happiness to notice, or b) too polite to comment. It was a fun early afternoon break–I hope it won’t be the last time I’m there.

  12. I live and work very close to the Mountain View campus and recently went there for a presentation on the Treo 700. When I got there I realized I was wearing one brown shoe and one black shoe. People were either a) too wrapped up in their general Microsoft happiness to notice, or b) too polite to comment. It was a fun early afternoon break–I hope it won’t be the last time I’m there.

  13. I have to agree 100% with the buzz here in the valley. I’m a recent transplant from the central coast (SLO/Cal Poly shoutout) and I finally feel that I’m part of what’s leading edge here. It’s great to see so much sharing of info and people of similar ineterests all working/hanging out together in one place.

  14. I have to agree 100% with the buzz here in the valley. I’m a recent transplant from the central coast (SLO/Cal Poly shoutout) and I finally feel that I’m part of what’s leading edge here. It’s great to see so much sharing of info and people of similar ineterests all working/hanging out together in one place.

  15. MacBU also has the PowerPoint team in SVC, as well as the Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac team here. Entourage and Virtual PC are also here, although the VPC team keeps on lobbying for a move to Hawai’i. ;)

  16. MacBU also has the PowerPoint team in SVC, as well as the Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac team here. Entourage and Virtual PC are also here, although the VPC team keeps on lobbying for a move to Hawai’i. ;)

  17. [...] Over at Scoble’s blog, guest blogger Bubba has posted a love letter to living in the Bay and working at SVC. He forgot to mention that SVC has the largest solar power system in Silicon Valley. There were a bunch of Redmond MacBU folks down here yesterday, and I made sure to point out the newest batch of solar panels to taunt them about the difference in our weather. Mother Nature is punishing me for my caprice by making it cloudy today. Published Friday, April 21, 2006 10:08 AM by nadyne Filed Under: Microsoft [...]

  18. A bit off-topic, but I’ve heard that housing is really expensive in the valley – got any stories to share?

  19. A bit off-topic, but I’ve heard that housing is really expensive in the valley – got any stories to share?