Shawn wrote:
So are you guys at Microsoft allowed to run Messenger (or any IM client) at the office?


Heck yea! I primarily use it when in meetings. With our campus wide, rock-solid, wireless LAN our culture has changed such that its standard practice for just about everyone in a meeting to have their laptop or tablet out (of course in certain meetings its clearly bad form).

Just today I was in a meeting where someone was describing something. My role in the meeting was one of an "informed"; that is it wouldn't have been approriate for me to comment out loud. However, my boss was there and it was his role. I wanted to make sure he understood a nuance in what the speaker had said so he could ask a question that would have helped clarify what the speaker said. So I IM'd him...

By the way, this "laptop activity in meetings" thing has caused me to see two types of people at Microsoft. Those who can effectively multi-task in meetings, and those who can't. I'm just OK at it. I have to be very careful not to get too engrossed in what I'm reading or writing during a discussion because my audible processing is diminished signficantly. However there are others who are absolutely amazing in their ability to be heads-down whacking away at the keyboard and then join a discussion mid-stream as though they were paying attention 100% the whole time.

I conciously am working on getting better at this and I have improved. So, to me, it is something that can be learned.

Oh, those who can't do this at all, learn real fast to simply not fire up their laptops. They get roasted.

-cek