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We form opinions about people by the places they inhabit – that’s just a fact of life. So in trying to tell the story of Microsoft, who we are, how we work and what we’re working on, I’ve always felt it’s important to show you where we work (and play). Over the last year on this blog, I’ve aimed to do just that so as part of our one year anniversary I thought I’d bring some of those posts, videos and pictures together in one place. As much as I can, I’d like to give you the so called “underground tour” from the comfort of your desk/device.

I’ll start with my own “office” or as it’s affectionately known, the Microsoft Campus. Yes, I have a desk in our Red West subculture campus but the reality is I’m rarely there as I spend my time bouncing around the studios of our Interactive Entertainment Team, Microsoft Research, the Microsoft Home, the Envisioning Lab, The Garage, the Applied Sciences Lab and the Model Shop to name a few. It’s got so bad that team mates have been known to applaud when I show my face in Red West, impressed no doubt that I have actually shown up for work. It’s led to me checking in on Foursquare as I travel around the campus, just to ensure people know I am actually out there – exploring.

Take a photographic tour of my Microsoft workspace

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Next stop on our tour is the Microsoft Visitor Center – I’ve created a Photosynth of the space so you can have a poke around. The visitor center is constantly undergoing change in order to keep up with the changes in phones, Xbox games and more. The latest installation is an interactive “rain window” that uses Kinect. I’ll have new video of that soon.

On from the Visitor Center to the Microsoft Home – a facility created by our strategic prototyping team to explore that a home of the future may look like 5-10 years ahead. Bear in mind that this doesn’t always mean the stuff in here is wacky futuristic – it’s more an exploration of what is realistic (not wacky) as well as being in the realms of affordable to most people within that 5-10 year timeframe. I think it’s a good way to look at things rather than just create a crazy house full of advanced tech. Check out my brief video tour

 

Okay, that’s the home…and a few hundred yards away is Building 4 at Microsoft – I spend a good amount of time in this building too. It’s home to OfficeLabs and The Garage and has a great vibe. Nic and the team from Channel 9 gave us a tour around (partly on the in house bicycles) recently.

Moving right along but sticking with our Channel 9 buddies, we go ta look inside two places in Studio B – home to many of the Microsoft Hardware teams. First up is the Model Shop which is one of my favorite places on campus because it’s so unexpected. I had no idea Microsoft had a group of craftsmen, hard at work with lathes, paint, laser cutters and 3D printers. And they’re a damn fine bunch.

Next stop in Studio B is to meet PaTTy the robot. This is no gentle Roomba type thing. We’re talking about a full on industrial robot here that needs a cage to keep it under control.

Okay…final stop on my tours of Studio B is the Applied Sciences Lab – also known as the Edison Lab and it’s where Stevie Bathiche and his team are making the magic window come to life.

That’s a quick tour of some of my favorite places here in Redmond. But stay tuned, we have more to come and if there are places you’d like to see, just name ‘em!

Oh and Dylan Tweney’s tour with WIRED gives you a glimpse of a few more places.