It’s funny who you run into while traveling around the country, as this blogger does. In this case, I happened to sit next to an engaging and talkative man who works for Microsoft. He proceeded to tell me a lot about the company that Bill Gates built and threw in some fascinating Google info, too, along with views about blacks in Tech. Inside stuff that’s mostly of harmless interest, but still interesting nonetheless.
Did you kmow that Google’s largest sever farm is not in California, or in India, but in Douglas County, Georgia, and it was basically a secret.
The building that houses it starts where a street there stops, and is in a totally unmarked building. Indeed, you would have to go inside of it to know that it belonged to Google at all.
Why is Google’s largest sever farm in Georgia? Low taxes and cheap land payments. (Thoough it doesn’t employ enough people to keep the Alpharetta Country Club from going bankrupt due to the overall economic problems that have plagued Georgia and the rest of the country.)
Microsoft in North Dakota
Did you know that an entire Google office on their campus in Fargo, North Dakota spring forth as the result of a joke? My source, who’s an Microsoft employee that deals with Google, said that the running joke is that this building grew from a series of jokes.
In fact, the sense of humor of the Microsoft employees there apparently knows no bounds, even to making a memo mocking their Redmond, Washington colleagues problems with snow conditions.
If that sounds weird, it’s not, really. Much of the most incredible tech developments spring from the brains of some of the wackiest people you’d ever meet in your life. It just so happens that Google and Microsoft have a good set of them, and who are allowed to be who they are.
Did you know that Microsoft has a division of people who specialize in stealing projects from other companies? For example, if you’re going to buy a lot of Dell Computers, this arm of Bill Gates’s firm would turn around, buy the computers, then turn around again and sell them to you for less money than Dell was going to sell them for.
This is a matter of routine. This group also makes specialized turn-key Human Machine Interface projects for clients in both the public and private sector.
And very often they’re one off creations produced by a ragtag band of racially diverse, highly intelligent people you would walk past on the street and never guess they did what they did for a living, let alone work for Microsoft.
So, from my talk with my new friend, and from the perspective of the idea that there aren’t a lot of blacks in Tech. Forget it. There are more than is reported, and certainly far more than any Web2.0 or TechCrunch conference would lead you to believe.
And that’s because many blacks in Tech are in IT and software development for large companies, and generally not small startups. There are a host of reasons for that, but the growing number of black tech startup founders are coming from the ranks of those who are already with large tech companies.
But my friend shared another take on the situation: “A lot of the people I’m talking about,” he said “don’t want to be known. They just want to be left alone.”
And On Melinda Gates
My friend also dished about Melinda Gates, saying that the co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was “elitist,” and “not well liked” but respected as a “very smart” product development person. I can only guess that “elitist” and “not well liked” just may go together, and on that, I have this observation to share…
According to Wikipedia,…
Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern
From that definition, Melinda Gates is an elitist. Hell, from that definition, I’m an elitist. But the reality is that we’re all elitists, it just depends on the setting. In other words, there may be some part of society where the background and skill of a person carries more weight than in another part of society. Thus, in the, for example, culinary World, a Top Chef-finalist is certainly part of an elite group.
That’s just a way of celebrating a person’s ability to contribute to society. If that’s why some people don’t like Melinda Gates – because of her contributions to society and her pride in them – they can go to hell.
If, on the other hand, my source is revealing how Ms. Gates may treat other people she deems as less worthy than she, then there’s a problem. In fact, this criticism I found of the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation over at Glassdoor.com, which gives “an inside look at jobs and companies” is telling because the cons about the Foundation far outweigh the pros:
Overly politicized organization, with complex layers of management and operational processes that are constantly being re-organized and re-strategized. Makes getting anything done completely impossible. Employees are set up for failure, thus creating a self fulfilling culture of whining, negativity and constantly reinventing the wheel…Managers are hired that have absolutely no experience or guidance on managing staff, or providing performance management feedback in a timely, professional or constructive manner.
These managers then hire people “like them” who are entitled, elitist, good old boy folk. Over the years, I saw a lot of bad managers get hired, who in turn hired more bad people on the team and eventually ran the good people off.
Ouch. And because an organization tends to reflect the ideas and values of the people at the top, and that includes Ms. Gates.