Microsoft picnic and Silicon Valley

Rasheed Baqai (
Thu, 6 Aug 1998 10:19:31 -0700 (PDT)

Today's USA Today announces that Microsoft is going to build a 500,000
square foot campus in Mountain View, CA to consolidate all of their
Northern California operations. In comparison, Redmond MS is 8 square
miles. This will be Microsoft's first major presence in Silicon Valley
the newspaper reported, and one of the neighbors will be Sun Microsystems.
(Cannot find online version.)

Finally, the Microsoft picnic happened two weekends ago, and I found this
story online. Personally, from the way the even was organized, I believe
that other companies also do a similar party. The staff looked like they
just run the same party every weekend. Also, the security was really
there to corral the MS people by having them turn on headlights. They
didn't want us being in their town (a disgruntled city?).

Commentary - Microsoft's Summer Safari

By E.J. Gong Jr.

King of the Jungle in Company Parties

In true Microsoft fashion, the software companys summer picnic last
weekend spared absolutely no expense. The lion cub at Microsoft's summer
picnic didn't seem quite this comfortable. The safari-theme party
featured live zebras, lions, ostriches and camels, and enough food and
beer to entertain the city of Seattle.
Held at a farm 40 minutes from the Space Needle, the two-day picnic
unfortunately fell on one of the hottest weekends in Seattle history.
Temps soared to 97 degrees. Everyone wilted, including a caged lion cub
sitting next to his red-faced trainer. It got so toasty people abandoned
the winding lines leading to the Tarot card and palm readers.
A few clever Microsoft employees figured a way to turn on the farms
irrigation sprinklers, and everyone frolicked under the cool water. Those
nutty programmers.
To fuel that energy, there was plenty of grub to choose from. Food
stations offered stir fry, wraps, curried chicken, Caesar salads, BBQ ribs
and chicken, corn on the cob, fresh salmon, polish hot dogs and boxes and
boxes of fresh Washington fruit.
For drinks, there were five beer gardens and several 30-foot troughs
filled with ice-cold soda and water.
Kids got to ride on one of 50 ponies, while adults rode camels. The
more than 25 volleyball courts remained rather empty until the sun sank a
little. And talk about security. Police lined the road to the event,
giving directions. Employees were told to put on their headlights,
alerting officers they were allowed entry. (It was only for Microsoft
employees and their families. Definitely no contractors allowed.)
So how much did the little fiesta cost? Microsoft wouldn't say but a
source told me about a million.