we’ll be famous.
microsoft has a giving campaign once a year in which they encourage employees to donate time and money to charities. they match employees donations to tax-deductable organizations throughout the year, but make a concerted effort during the ‘give’ campaign and provide (albeit minor) incentives. banners in the hallways, placards on the tables in the cafeteria, email from executives, and reminders from managers are standard fare.
this year, ms sponsored a unique fund-raising activity. employees auctioned ‘gifts’ with the proceeds benefitting local charities. highest bid fetching items included tours of bill gates’ house (guided by bill), a guitar jam session with jim allchin, and basketball with ballmer. there were a few hundred auctions in all, most not as high profile as the ‘…with an exec’ ones. some of the most creative ones i saw:
- pick my hair color
- i’ll be the president of your fan club (and send you fan mail)
- fly on my personal plane, anywhere within 2 hours of seattle
- music lessons, learn to improv
- day sail on my boat
…you get the idea.
the msn messenger client team put up an item of particular interest to me. “create the next msn messenger emoticon.” the text of the auction (paraphrased) said, “you’re excited about messenger, etc etc. work with our developer to put the only new emoticon in the v7 client.”
so, i sent mail to a fairly wide swath of co-workers soliciting contributions to get a goat into the client.
there’s an inside joke at hotmail about the “hotmail grumpy goat.” a number of years ago (5?), a goat was drawn on a whiteboard in the ops office with the old hotmail logo (the red “stamp” one) painted on it’s side.
anyway, we’ve had a perennial battle to get a goat emoticon into the messenger client. we got close with the sheep, but never more than custom emoticons for the goat.
i managed to round up $1435 and we’ll have a goat in the new client! with the 11th highest bid fetching auction, i’m suprised at how much people were willing to pitch in on this.
when the final artwork is finished, i’ll “leak” it here. i’ll also figure out a $/pixel figure, as that’ll assuredly be absurd.