My human moment with Microsoft

Microsoft always get a bad rap, or is it just in my circles? I guess these days the iPhone 5’s map issues are front and center to the usually taunted mediocre, copycat, Bill Gates v. Steve Jobs, Microsoft v. Apple war. Yeah, Microsoft got an updated logo. Yeah, it’s kinda silly. Yeah, Microsoft got a cool open-air shop in Prudential Center and broadcast sports the other day and yeah, a bunch of people were pulled into that. Overall, Microsoft seems to lose the PR war, unless you’re in the philanthropy territory. No small thing. Here, Bill and Melinda certainly top Steve’s efforts – though Laurene Powell Jobs does a darn good job here.

Nevertheless, I’m here to talk about my human moment with Microsoft. Last year I was doing diligence for a budget-less project. As in, there was no defined budget. It was for a small company, and I knew that as a small company we’d want a small, scalable, agile, rather inexpensive product. But for the sake of presenting all different options and price points to management, I called some of the big guys for ideas and quotes. Microsoft, of course was one of those big guys.

I called one day and when I believe I had finally been routed to the right person … the operator greeted me politely, thanked me for calling, and then asked if I could hang up and call back. Because he’s certified in CPR and somebody needed his help.

Seth Godin blogged that corporations are not people. He’s right. The big bad corporation, and there are some out there, employ human beings. And I just got one. It was a real “window” (pun intended), into the life of a real office with real people.

The man I had spoken to just might have been about to save a human being’s life. I hope all went well. I think back to that call from time to time. How nice and even-spoken that operator was. How he ensured I was taken care of and okay with calling back before we disconnected. And then he put on his superman cape.

Did I call Microsoft back? Probably. Did I get a quote? Probably not. The big guys always seem to need to know our annual revenue in order to give any type of estimate. Sorry guys, I’m from the insanely private world of pharma, and if I’m working for a private company (I was) then that’s just something I won’t, can’t share.

But you know, my Microsoft experience will forever be influenced/changed by that phone call. It was really the one and only moment when I looked at the organization as one run by humans, not machines.


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