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Simple-Talk columnist

Microsoft Boy announces his School Homework

Published 27 January 2008 11:21 am

Continuing in our series of attempts to imagine how Microsoft Marketing people relate to their fellow men outside work, we give you a glimpse of Microsoft Boy at school, before the start of his splendid career at Redmond.

Scene: The History lesson in school. The teacher wearily calls Microsoft Boy to his desk to try to discover where his homework is.
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Teacher:

“Well, young William, (looks over his glasses severely) where is your homework? It should have been handed in today, I’m afraid.”

Microsoft Boy:

(with a smug ingratiating smile redolent of sincerity) “The past week has been an amazing time for the me as I geared up to announce the delivery of my essay. The response to my announcement from friends and parents has been overwhelmingly positive – in fact, even my aunt Edith wants to read it. What is catching users’ eyes? Legibility, correctness, conciseness….the list goes on and on. Simply put, this history essay is a significant release for me – one that builds on all of the great things that I was able to deliver last year in the Lower fifth. I see it as a critical step forward for my academic life here, and the foundation of the broader vision for my school career. Based on what we are hearing from people who have seen the current version of my essay, it seems that everyone agrees.”

Teacher

(impatiently) “Well, that may be the case, but you haven’t actually handed your work in. Where is it for heavens sake? The others have managed to hand their work in!”

Microsoft Boy:

(earnestly) Not surprisingly, one of the top areas of focus for me is always to deliver high quality homework, and in a very predictable manner. This is vital for my dazzling school career – which is why I’ve frequently discussed my goal of releasing my history essay within three months of the last one. I am on track to reach this goal. (folds his arms with a smile of achievement)

Teacher: (whilst rustling about, searching on his desk)

“I don’t see it, I really can’t find your essay on my desk. It was supposed to have been handed in today.”

Microsoft Boy: (sensing something not quite right in his relationship)

“To continue in this spirit of open communication between us, I want to provide clarification on the roadmap for my essay. Over the coming months, you, and the other teaching staff here can look forward to significant milestones in the delivery of my homework.  I am excited to deliver a release candidate of the essay in a month’s time, at Scout Camp, with final Release of the entire homework expected in another couple of months. My goal is to deliver the highest quality History essay possible and I simply want to use the time to reach the high bar that you, my teacher, has set.”

Teacher: (Head in hands, dispairingly)

“I really don’t understand. Have you handed in your homework or not?”

Microsoft Boy

“I have not, in any way, changed my plans for launching the essay today. What I have done today is to announce to you the delivery of my essay, and I’m proud to have met this target. Please keep the great feedback coming and thank you again for your ongoing support of my  ‘best-in-class’ academic work!” (Proudly walks out of the classroom)

16 Responses to “Microsoft Boy announces his School Homework”

  1. WebMister says:

    The Launch event for SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008 evidently ‘provides IT Professionals, Developers and Software Enthusists alike with an exciting and convenient way to have fun learning about all three products in one place. In honor of our customers worldwide, the Launch event is called “Heroes Happen Here”.’.

    How could i explain to my friends or relatives that I was going to go to a launch event call ‘Heroes Happen Here’ and retain even a shred of self-respect. Do these marketing men understand, as they continue to abuse the English language, what a hero actually is? I feel sure, from my reading of history, that it means more than going to a Microsoft publicity bash.

  2. Anand says:

    I am sure this boy is a potential MVP

  3. Phil Factor says:

    Oh yes. It defies parody, but I tried.

  4. Adam Machanic says:

    Beautiful, and oh so true… This trend is getting really scary. Just wait until they start doing this for key fixes, like next time someone finds a major vulnerability.

  5. DamonB says:

    Never think your smarter than your customer.

  6. chadscharf says:

    The Launch event for VS2008, SQL2008 and Server2008 is called “Heroes Happen Here” because it is giving the opportunity for local Microsoft community members (average joe developers and DB admins) the opportunity to showcase, demo and present these new products during the launch event to thier fellow peers. They’re not implying that you’re a hero for coming to the event, they’re implying that they are taking IT professionals who want to take the next step in thier careers and community involvement and hoist them to the next level in presenting skills, new emerging technologies, etc. i think it was a pretty novel idea on Microsoft’s part.

    I agree that Microsoft marketing folks go way overboard on some things, but obviously it works. I only wish I had half the marketing prowress that these guys posess. I have a hard enough time blowing smoke up my own boss’ @#*$ not to mention the entire world’s.

  7. Adam Machanic says:

    Chad: I have not seen anything about MS letting local community members do ANYTHING at the launch events. MS is trying to get user groups, etc, to plan mini-launch events featuring community members, but at their main events? No way. This is actually a change from last time where — at least in my local area (Boston) — local speakers were asked to present the talks at the main event. I recently asked to present in the SQL Server track for the launch here, which will be in March, and was told that no one who is not a Microsoft employee will be allowed to be involved. Marketing Heroes Happen Here, perhaps.

  8. LukCAD says:

    Hi Phil! I hope you will not write the same story about Oracle’s girle. Indeed – it is not only trend from Microsoft – it is overall situation. Image – 20 years ago was 15 accounters and 10 pros per plant approximatelly – now it is in ten times more – please, ask yourself “why is it?” and try to find out answer.
    Sincerely, LukCAD

  9. MicrosoftBoy says:

    Well Mr. Smarty Pants… This was my first day at work. ( http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=510716561&size=o )

    My mom dressed me up so I’d fit in and not be some nerd like you.

    Writing cool marketing rhetoric is an art. Like dressing well it is something out of your range.

    MicrosoftBoy

  10. willcas says:

    Come on lads its only marketing , dont worry about it you know its all hot air.

    My favourite marketing story is when I was at a Marketeers wedding and his dad was making his after dinner speech and he was lamenting his intelligent sons choice of career as a waste of his talents and how he hope one day his son would see the light and join the family buisness of…. Accountants.

    I swear most of the room laughed so hard you could have held a heimlich manouvre world championships there.

  11. allen_n says:

    “Only marketing”? I don’t believe Microsoft distinguishes between marketing and product development. (For example, besides a pretty face, what is Vista actually giving us in exchange for pathetic performance and enormous footprint?)

  12. Nickh says:

    It gets worse – there is a ‘Heroes Happen Here’ website and a comic….

    http://www.microsoft.com/heroeshappenhere/

    I’m going to take myself into a corner and cry….

  13. Phil Factor says:

    Oh dear. Oh dear. This is embarassing. The ‘Heroes Happen Here’ website is so dreadful that one wants to rush round apologising to people for for the fact that one supports Microsoft. Perhaps soon Microsoft will issue medals like the CDM for ‘brave conduct’. Maybe dress them in heroic uniforms. brown shirts?

  14. Tom Garth says:

    Marketing people? They just do what they are told.

    The initial pressure for an early release date comes from a desire to include it in the next financial forecast. Once it IS included, the pressure quadruples, and the debugging cycle becomes mangled as it is squeezed shut.

  15. Patrick Index says:

    Boy!

    Do an hour’s detention and complete a 1000′s lines of.

    I must not release unnecessary versions of software.

    Also take twice-nine (ferulas) for releasing Microsoft Vista.

    And stop blubbing and take your punishment like a man.

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