We spent the majority of our 3rd week at Microsoft exploring the overall design for our code flow. This meant sketching out the existing architecture and adding different arrows and database options to understand the best way to move forward. I didn’t realize how complex enterprise systems were until I saw the entire whiteboard filled with clouds, arrows, and acronyms. We all read up on docs of the various pipeline options, watched various tutorials, and played around in sandbox environments. Moreover, new to the team, we relied heavily on our conversations with various developers when finally choosing a database to connect to the existing ecosystem. However, taking the advice of others also has its drawbacks. Many developers recommended technologies they had already used in the past, so sometimes their answers weren’t the most objective. After considerable digging and experimentation, we decided on an internal Microsoft database and put the discussion to bed (at least for now).
On Wednesday, we had our first Intern Spotlight, where the staff brings in an influential person (usually part of senior leadership) to address interns. Chris Capossela, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), talked about Microsoft’s vision by highlighting the 4 main channels his team focuses on. It was highly insightful, and I was most impressed by his ability to articulate his thoughts.
After the speech, while we were waiting for our bus back home, I was telling Jarrod how every Silicon Valley or tech leader has a very similar style when giving a talk – think about any developer conference or keynote event you’ve watched. The pauses and hand gestures and jokes are all relatively constant. I think the style was pioneered by Steve Jobs who introduce the latest Apple products on a circular stage in his signature, black turtleneck. It’s interesting how such a simple delivery can be so effective.
Jarrod remarked he wouldn’t be surprised if famous CEOs (like Mark Zuckerberg, for example) went through hours of speech coaching before taking the stage.
On Thursday, a bunch of Office 365 (O365) Information Protection (IP) interns got in Andrew’s (a fellow Rice Owl from Lovett College) car and drove to a convention center in Bellevue for the annual all-hands. Leaders across the different divisions of Enterprise + Devices (E + D) presented various new features and applauded the efforts of various teams. Someone even announced the release of a new top-secret Microsoft product (with a codename and everything) that will hit markets soon.
The highlight of the afternoon was a fireside chat between Amy Hood, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Rajesh Jha, the Executive Vice President (EVP) of E + D. Amy’s experienced background was evident in her responses to Rajesh’s informal questions, but I was most glad she took the time to joke-around and lighten the mood – letting her personality shine. We often forget even senior leaders are just people too.
After eating the equivalent of both lunch and dinner in very fancy finger-foods, from hand-cut fries and Beecher’s melted cheese to chicken wings and flavored popcorn, we picked up some branded messenger bags and headed back to work.
We usually have a weekly intern sync on Thursdays but because we had attended the all-hands, the meeting was postponed till the next day. So, on Friday morning, we all headed to the café because Heath, our intern coordinator, had a bunch of extra cash-cards lying around. We were all treated to a pastry and drink of our choice. With a strawberry-banana smoothie in my hand, I joined the rest of the interns as we talked about our progress and got to know the new interns who had joined earlier in the week. In the afternoon, after some important meetings, almost all of IP headed to MAPI Beers. I think MAPI stands for Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI), so all the teams that play a part in this process are invited to attend. There was a lot of free food and a good turnout. I chatted with some full-time employees (FTE) and other interns before heading home.
On Saturday, the Rice squad minus David (me, Jarrod, Edward, Patrick, and Ellie) hiked Mailbox Peak. It was one of the most tiring experiences of my life. The 5 miles up started-off easy with plenty of switchbacks but soon became more inclined. More than the physical exhaustion, I was playing mental games with myself, for every time I thought I was almost there, I wasn’t even close. After about 4 miles, we were met by a series of rocks. The first part was a warm-up because there was a well laid out staircase of rocks, but the last scramble was an about 75-degree incline of loose gravel and dirt. I stopped many times to “take pictures,” but it was really because I was on the verge of collapse.
I think I made the peak after 2.5 or so hours and waited for the rest of the group to catch-up. I was starving as I had drinks in my bag, but the food was with the rest of the crew. Luckily, there was a Microsoft group already at the top, so I was able to make some new friends and meet Jack, who kindly donated a Clif bar to me. Jack, I am forever indebted to you.
When the rest of the Rice squad finally met me at the top, they teased me, saying it was supposed to be a group-hike and I had left them behind.I’m sorry guys, but too many breaks slow me down because my heartbeat becomes super irregular, so I opted to just bite the bullet and keep trekking solo.
After a few photos and fresh breaths of air, we realized Edward had a meeting in the evening and we were in a bit of a time crunch, so we ran the entire 5 miles down in about 1.5 hours. Jarrod drove and I passed-out in the back of the car. After an early sushi dinner, I crashed for the night.
Sunday was recovery day. It was a lazy morning with a late breakfast and a few hours of blog writing! In the evening, Patrick and Ellie came to our apartment and we got some ramen for dinner. A few of us then got some ice-cream and watched Inglorious Bastards. That movie is so gory. Edward and I then left for Walmart to get some groceries for the week. I slept shortly after.
I would love to continue doing a hike a week, and after Mailbox, I feel like I can summit anything. Onwards!