November 2012

The NERD Center in India and India comes to NERD


A sunny open air lobby with lots of recognizable Microsoft posters and furniture.


In a big company like Microsoft, the fact is offices exist beyond our beloved NERD Center in Cambridge, MA (Shocking I know). This office houses common Microsoft product development teams you’re likely familiar with, SharePoint and Office 365 in addition to significant research teams that study topics and create solutions that are secret to you (and actually me too). Being a research center is what gives us the awesome name NERD, an acronym for New England Research and Development.


NERD is one of 13 research centers around the world and last week I got the chance to visit another one. I happened to be in India for a friend’s (big fat Indian) wedding and passed through Hyderabad, a multicultural city of only 7 million. Forget the museums, monuments and forts. The number one site attraction on my list was Microsoft India Development Center, an equivalent to NERD. The Director of HR at our office, Matt McTee, used to work there and put me in touch with former colleagues. Hariharan Ragunathan gave me a personal tour of the space and Juhee Ahmed treated me to lunch in the building cafeteria. I enjoyed a delicious Hyderabad Biryani, an absolute must-have when in that region.


The main entrance of IDC with Juhee.


The warm welcome and the memorable interactions with everyone on campus made the MS IDC visit a highlight of my trip to India. I noticed several similarities to NERD. Immediately upon entering the building I heard the familiar sounds of our favorite break activity- Ping Pong!  Like us, MS IDC opened in 1998 to attract local talent. We’re near dozens of schools and next door to MIT. They’re literally next to India School of Business (ISB), the premier business school in India. Also like us, this site is home to research teams and product development teams including Windows, Office and Online Services Division. The most shocking similarity I found was furniture. I noticed several areas with similar orange and green futurist chairs and modern motifs throughout the building. I don’t know why that surprised me, we are both Microsoft offices after all.


So what was different? Mainly the size. MS IDC has 2,000 employees in their building alone. The campus is home to more than 4,000 in several buildings that span 54 acres designed to mirror the Redmond campus. There is a cafeteria open 24 hours, a cricket field, basketball court and even an on campus pharmacy. Although such perks are tempting, I can’t see myself leaving our dream location in Cambridge.


MS India Researcher Bill Thies will be at NERD on Monday 12/3 to share new technology that improves TB treatment.


My visit to Microsoft India was just one small connection NERD has to India. Researchers there are working with researches here to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. One of them is Tuberculosis (TB), a dieses that effects 1/3 of the world’s population. In India alone 2 people die every 3 minutes. But TB is treatable and MSR India member Bill Thies has developed a new technology to solve treatment problems. He will be at NERD this Monday to share his impact story through a documentary. Join us for lunch, meet the brains behind the cause and learn what this medical breakthrough means for the future of fighting TB and countless other diseases using technology.


Join us at NERD on Monday December 3rd from 11:30am-12:30pm. Invite your colleagues, friends, cousins, mothers, fathers and everyone else. It’s going to be a great event and we’re exciting to host it.  Register here, see you Monday.


A very different, but still beautiful view.

Outside the IDC building. We both have beautiful views.

Hari in his office. Our HR Director Matt got Hari interested in running and biking. Matt’s influence lives on- these are races he particiapted in since Matt relocated to NERD.

Matt’s old HR team. It was cool to meet people that worked with someone I currently work with.

Fighting TB with Technology: A Screening and Talk with Microsoft Researcher & MIT Graduate Bill Thies

Employing technology to fight one of the world’s deadliest diseases, Microsoft Research India has developed a biometric monitoring system that utilizes a fingerprint reader to ensure patients meet with their healthcare workers to receive the medication they need. Addressing a gap in treatment completion, this technology is responding to one of the most pressing problems in tuberculosis (TB) treatment.

Join us for a special viewing of a new documentary that showcases the impact that this award-winning solution has had on the battle against tuberculosis (TB). Hear from the lead Microsoft researcher and MIT alum, Bill Thies, about the technology solutions that he and his team are delivering to help combat TB and other healthcare crises around the world.

Join us:

Monday, December 3 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Microsoft New England, 11th Floor Commons

One Memorial Drive, Cambridge

Lunch with be provided

Check out the full event details and register here. See you on Monday!



Just One Tweet: A Sandy Relief Story

Jen, Jacq, Chris & Marshall pictured with only some of the items YOU donated.

It started with an idea. That idea turned into a tweet. That tweet provoked action and that action attracted an outpour of support.

When Hurricane Sandy devastated our neighbors, New York native Jacqueline Carly enlisted her boyfriend, Chris Brogan, to help pack her truck with supplies so she could drive it south. Chris tweeted the idea to his network looking for a location in Cambridge, MA that could host such a collection. It was humbling and flattering to hear (through the grapevine) that numerous people in Chris’ network suggested Microsoft NERD as a location.


Within minutes Chris’s weekend tweet was forwarded to NERD enthusiasts and employees, including myself. Different people in different roles in different departments somehow got alerted about Chris’s and Jacqueline’s idea.  Chris’s reach is so big in fact that a Microsoft employee in California is the one who shared it with me.  When I responded, I was far behind. Another NERD chain already had the gears in motion and this was a confirmed event.


Chris gave his network more details about the drive and it wasn’t long before his message was shared more than two thousand times. 791 likes on Facebook, 1,287 shares on Twitter and 75 shares on LinkedIn to be exact. The word was out.


We could not have predicted the amount of people that came to support this impromptu Sandy relief effort Monday afternoon. After we stuffed the cars of Jacqueline and Jen we still had supplies to fill dozens more cars. Big Foot Moving Company saw the social media activity and volunteered time, people and resources to deliver the remaining supplies. We can’t thank YOU enough for this support. The people, the items, the time, the passion…it is all so overwhelming. We couldn’t have done this without your participation and enthusiasm in spreading the word. Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU!


There are still ways to donate. This local barber shop owner in Jamaica Plain is collecting donations and fuel to bring to NYC and NJ. This website also lists needed items and drop-off locations around Boston.

Bags and bags of warm clothes, blankets and supplies YOU helped us collect.

Organizing YOUR donations at NERD. We can not say THANK YOU enough for all this support.

Big Foot guys packing the truck they would drive later to NJ.

So many amazing supplies YOU helped us collect.

10 Reasons Why You Should Vote Today

Ah, finally. Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this day to arrive. Long nights, busy days, just waiting. And now… finally… Halo 4 has arrived!

Halo 4 AND Election TUESDAY! That’s right folks, the next 4 years of our nation’s identity will be semi-determined TODAY (or tomorrow, there are speculations) and we can influence the outcome.

On this crisp beautiful sunny fall day, I hope you’ll make time to vote.  If you’re one of those “heck yah I’m voting, always do, always will”, then thank you, keep on rocking.

If you’re not, here’s why you could/should/will be one of those people:

  1. It’s an excuse to leave your desk for lunch.
  2. You’re allowed to complain if you are unhappy with the results.
  3. You could meet a romantic interest at the polls.
  4. You’ll set a good example for your children.
  5. Everyone else is doing it.
  6. You can vote for yourself.
  7. You can see the impact of your actions immediately on Bing elections.
  8. Not everyone has the right to do so.
  9. It’s something to be proud of.
  10. It will provide valuable small talk for the water cooler and beyond.

I’m voting at my elementary school in the ‘burbs. The nostalgia makes up for the minor inconvenience. Where are you voting?



Bring Items for Sandy Victims to NERD Monday 11/5 from 3-4pm

It’s hard to believe the aftermath of Sandy. My jaw still drops when I see the photos.  I think about the people I know, the places I’ve been, the real life nightmare happening now. It’s pure luck that we Bostonians escaped the misfortune of our neighbors. (Or is it? Hold that thought…)

Sandy stinks, people need our help and we’re going to give it to them. Our friend and human business rock star Chris Brogan and his girlfriend Jacqueline Carly will be at NERD tomorrow to pick up donations for New York. She’s not leaving until her truck is overstuffed.  And if we get more than one truck load (which YOU can help us do) then we’ll drive more trucks. It’s that simple.


– Warm Clothes
– Diapers
– Flashlights
– Socks
– Ready-to-eat food (granola, pop tarts, crackers, energy bars)
– Water

3 – 4:00pm
LOCATION: One Memorial Drive, First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142
Kendall Square, Red Line


So, back to that thought about Boston lucking out.  Was Hurricane Sandy a frankenstorm or a warning sign? Some people speculate that mother nature is offended climate policy was ignored in the presidential debates. Maybe you’ve heard of the climate-change-election-silence conspiracy?   Read up on all things #election2012 and follow LIVE as history happens on Tuesday with Bing Elections. This site is a treasure chest of information, pictures, stories, polls, and videos. Yes, even the 4-year old crying video.

Anyway, I digress.  Bring your warm clothes and survival supplies to NERD tomorrow from 3-4pm. If you just heard about the drive and you’re bummed you didn’t bring extra stuff to work today, that’s okay we’ll accept what you’re wearing.  You can get more clothes at home, Sandy victims cannot.

Let’s see how many trucks we can send. See you tomorrow!






Maybe the Guinness record for most college kids playing Xbox at once

It’s no secret that we’re really excited about the new tablet, phone and all things Windows 8. If you’re wondering why, watch this commercial.

Last week we shared our Windows 8 excitement with the most excitable demographic known to man: college students. (Expert opinion, no hard evidence available).  In honor of Windows 8, we invited 888 college students to celebrate with us at NERD.  The attendees hailed from 37 schools in the greater Boston area and beyond. Babson, BC, BU, Brown, Bryant, Brandeis, Bentley and Bunker Hill just to name a few.  We also welcomed students from non-B letter schools like Wellesley, Harvard, MIT, Lesley, Merrimack, Northeastern, Olin, Suffolk, Tufts and UMass. The party had a DJ, Xbox games, Windows 8 demos, delicious catered food, light up Microsoft bracelet swag and or course, prizes. Microsoft University recruiting and Boston’s Microsoft Store were also present to spread the Windows passion.

The party was hosted by NERD’s own Edwin Guarin technical evangelist. If you don’t know Edwin, you should meet him.  He’s wicked passionate about Microsoft and loves to share it with students via cool events and free stuff. Score.

So, the party was awesome. You can see proof on Facebook.  If you missed it (I’m sorry) be sure to connect with NERD on Facebook so you’re the first to know about the next event.  Thanks everyone for coming! See you again soon(ish).

Host-with-the-Most Edwin awarding prizes

Checking out Windows 8

Julian “DJ Chopstix” Wiryo spinning hot beats

Students lining up to enter the bash

Checking out the Surface