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 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.
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.