Tara Tiger Brown

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just prowling around

Breaking Free From the Collective

It’s been exactly 8 years and 20 days since I started at Microsoft, or the Borg as I affectionately like to call it.  Today, like Seven of Nine, my link to the collective will be severed.

There’s a 7 page list of things I need to do in order to break free from the hive including handing over my corporate Amex, computer equipment, Prime card, parking pass and my “blue badge” with that innocent picture of me taken on my very first day. 

Although I will be giving up a ton of amazing benefits such as a free gym membership, the Connector, discounts galore, and of course the zero co-pay medical benefits, it is really not what I am most going to miss.  I’m going to miss things like my Canucks alias – I was the distribution list owner for it and it helped me keep feel close to my Canadian roots – I even became the liaison of sorts to the Seattle Canadian Consulate.  I’m going to miss the Microsoft Diversity Leadership team where I felt like I was actually making a difference in changing people’s minds about women and underrepresented minorities.  The Microsoft Equestrian group was a huge asset to me with all my horse related questions and extremely supportive when I had to make hard decisions about finding new homes for my rescue horses.  Women are still a minority at MS, so I am going to miss the girl power like my “Office Live Mashup Grrrls” – we built a small business application in a matter of days and presented to the Windows Live VP.  Free, no worries travel FTW – Microsoft sent me to India twice, Japan and around the US to conferences like SXSW which I actually think gave me a new tine in that fork in the road I was at and ultimately why I am writing this post today.

Not to be trite, but because it is 100% true, I am thankful for the friends that I made.  I’m not going to talk about missing them because it is way too easy to keep tabs on everyone through Brightkite, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, blogs, etc.  I will however miss hanging out with them during the day and when a coffee run or a quick behind the door life-update is necessary.  I will definitely miss working with only smart people.  Maybe not always street smart, but definitely smart.  The interviewing process at Microsoft is effective.

I have been trying to think of things that I won’t miss, but honestly, they are all very trivial.  I do however, have a lot of hope for Microsoft’s future.  I hope that teams like the one I was on, Office Live, figure out how to be leaders in their space and not followers.  I hope that VPs such as Ray Ozzie , who I think is one of the few leaders that will breathe new life into MS, breaks free from his previous lives of Lotus Notes and Groove and takes some forward thinking risks.  I want Microsoft to be part of the community instead of dictating to them.  Most of all, I hope that one day people in the tech center don’t cringe when I tell them I used to work for Microsoft.

So today, I break free from the collective, but like Seven of Nine, I’m sure I hope that I will keep some of my cybernetic implants because there is really no better training in the world for building software and program management than Microsoft.

What’s next for me?  Definitely staying with the interwebs, but adding some entertainment to the mix.  My Voyager is Topspin.

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14 Responses

  1. Good luck with your new direction! Exciting stuff! Was fun learning about your gig at Microsoft.

  2. Beth says:

    congrats tara! it’s not so bad out here in the real world and we’ll help you make the transition to paying for soda 🙂

    also, is this when i get to hit you up on behalf of my friend who has a small label in LA and represents two ossm amazing kick ass bands??

  3. Michael says:

    Congratulations. Change is good.

    If you end up moving to LA, let me know if I can help.

  4. Andre says:

    Congrats on the big move… seeing as I have also resigned from a long time job earlier this week I truly know the feeling of excitement and change. You’ll be awesome!!!

  5. Sean Bonner says:

    sooper cited for you!

  6. campo says:

    thanks for setting up barcamp, and i wish you the best down in SF. you should look up andrew mager when you get down there, that guy is awesome. you can find him at andrewmager.com and pretty much any of the sn’s you’re on 🙂

  7. Keith says:

    Congrats and best of luck! Topspin sounds really awesome…looks like they need designers too…wonder if Blue Flavor could get along without me…hmmm…

    🙂

  8. tywhite says:

    welcome to topspin!

  9. kareem says:

    congrats tara! topspin is a great place to go change the world!

  10. suki says:

    Congratulations! 🙂

  11. Crystal says:

    Congrats! The Cali-Washington trade deal is complete. Change keeps us fresh, and I can’t think of a more exciting company to be going to.

  12. Kevin says:

    congrats tara, let me know how the change goes.

  13. John says:

    You’re still a dork no matter where you live…

  14. […] relax and take things easy during my first week in the City by the Bay because I needed to mentally disengage from the Borg and get prepared for switching gears to a totally different environment.  That was the plan but I […]

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