The Microsoft Company Meeting for 2004 was announced Friday in a "save the date" email. But this year's company meeting is limited to 2,500 folks vs. all in the folks in the Puget Sound that would like to jump on a bus and attend. This is a big mental shift for a pinnacle meeting that really helps to energize people for the coming year. I'm bummed, but perhaps I'm feeling whiny, so let me think about this.
(a day later)
Okay, now I'm more bothered than whiny. As I re-read the announcement for the meeting, I realized the wording was really putting me off and talking down to me. Ooo, Microsoft campuses around the world will be able to "share the excitement" via satellite (vs. sleep or a good dinner). A reference to last year's cold SafeCo experience is given to justify the move indoors but that seems intangible. Further discussion of how this is going to be a wonderful global experience serves to sever Redmond even more as the heart and mind of Microsoft. As I read this (go ahead, read your copy if you didn't delete it) I feel like I'm being sold soap that I know doesn't work as well and that isn't a good product.
This small email and decision represents a further disenchanting disassociation between executive management and the individual contributors making the products in Redmond that bring in billions of dollars. Only a select few will go to the new opera hall to experience the live presentation while the rest of the company can wander into conference rooms and bring up desktop web casts. Please. Most people will continue working and whatever bold messages executive management thinks they are communicating will be no more than muffled echoes from the few watching the web cast down the hall.
I look forward to the future when they can pull everyone in the Puget Sound back together. I guess you truly don't appreciate something until it's gone, and I'm already missing the Microsoft Company Meeting.