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Seattle Zeitgeist

August 10, 2004

The A:C is in Seattle this week. We see that the local digital economy is notably slower than in Silicon Valley and New York – perhaps because Seattle is not as dialed-in to the booming online ad space.
It comes as no surprise that Microsoft has lost much of its lustre as a workplace for the ambitious and talented. Microsoft’s switch from stock options to stock-based employee incentives is turning the company into a haven for clock-punchers.
Still, the A:C was surprised how much Microsoft’s culture has changed. Microsoft no longer offers free bottled water or sodas – and no longer offers free coffee. We even have it that the complimentary coffee that Microsoft once offered was B grade. This policy is small potatoes and no news outlet picks up on it, but its the first thing off people’s tongues when Microsoft comes up in conversation. MSFT employees have long complained about the company’s stinginess, particularly how the world’s biggest software company often provides employees with weak, cheap PCs. But the no-more-complimentary-coffee stand is a bold one. As the economy picks up in the Northwest, we would expect talented Microsurfs to resign and sign-up with startups that offer stock options, a good laptop, and a nice hot cup of joe.
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Cream and sugar? That’ll be $2.50.

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