Saturday, September 11, 2010

Play at work - why people work at Microsoft and IKEA

There are companies, and there are companies.

I have worked at several different firms during my career, ranging from the U.S. Department of the Interior to a small technology company. Even my current company has been in several different configurations - a private firm, a publicly-traded (NASDAQ) firm, a part of Motorola, and a part of Safran.

But even my experiences don't cover the wide range of different companies that are out there...or the different company cultures that are out there.

I would not be able to function in a highly formal and serious firm. There are people that work at such places, love them, and thrive on them, but such a place is not for me. I need barbecues in the parking lot, Halloween costume parties, and the like. But some companies go beyond that.

Steven Hodson alerted me to a little story out of Microsoft headquarters. Microsoft is getting ready to release a new version of its mobile operating system, and the employees wanted to have a little fun. So they staged a funeral procession for the iPhone and the Blackberry. Oh, and they did a little dance.

But tech firms don't have a corner on the whimsy market. Dana Franks alerted me to a "herding cats" episode that took place inside an Ikea store. Yes, 100 cats were let loose inside an Ikea one night. But this was not a prank on Ikea; the company sponsored the danged thing, and released a video of it.

OK, now I'm going to lay down a challenge to any company (Oracle, are you listening?). I want to see 100 cats doing the "Thriller" dance.
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