Kip clarifies that he's not a Microsoft employee (Sorry!). But it's still worth noting that many MS employees do embrace "Blue Monster", while others don't. Thanks for the clarification Kip. And now I know your name. :-)
Symbols and icons are extremely important and meaningful. All you have to do is look back at the great propaganda movements or just look around at how companies represent themselves visually and how consumers embrace them (Harley-Davidson). If you look closely at this
Microsoft employee's notebook—you will notice two stickers. One for LiveSide and the other for Blue Monster (below).
Now here's the thing. I didn't have a long conversation with the
Microsoft employee in this photo—but his "badges" told me everything I needed to know about him. He believes in two things. LiveSide, and organizational evolution.
Why do I say that? Because everyone at Mix 08 who worked for Microsoft and handed me either a "Blue Monster" business card or had the sticker, seemed different. It was hard to put a finger on, but although they were believers in Microsoft, they also seemed to believe in an external vision that challenged Microsoft to make a meaningful impact in the world. It's a non corporate honest opinion, and some at Microsoft embrace it publicly.
What's to be learned? Blue Monster shows us that no matter how big or small the company that the world is a bigger place. And external influences can become internal influences. And it teaches us that if we are interested in the evolution of corporate culture, that symbols are important. If we don't find our own—someone will find them for us.