Week One at Intel

Feels like a comfortable pair of shoes… strangely, despite all the advice I’ve heard from friends and colleagues that Intel’s corporate culture is very different from Microsoft’s, I felt pretty relaxed with the information that’s been thrown at me so far, and so far I feel confident I’ll be able to take on the responsibilities that are thrown my way.

I also feel welcomed at Intel. Obviously there were a few folks who wondered who “the new guy” was who took over the empty cubicle there, but everyone I’ve met so far has made me feel welcome and respected.

Respected? What the h*** does he mean by that? Well, I must confess I worried that folks would think that a “software guy” from Microsoft wouldn’t have much to contribute at a hardware company like Intel. And in the first few hours of being there, I got a really overwhelming sense that Intel is incredibly “engineering-friendly”. [Hell, the maps on the walls of the buildings that tell you how to get around look like they’re straight out of AutoCad.] Not unlike Microsoft, where I always felt a little “outside” because I didn’t know how to code, I get this sense from Intel that if you don’t grok hardware, and aren’t an engineer, then you’re second-class and will always be climbing uphill to prove yourself.

The jury’s still out on whether a non-engineer can really earn “first-class citizen” status at Intel, but given the number of times I’ve heard my security colleagues here reference Microsoft as an organization that’s well ahead on the security front, I feel like my credentials should be reasonably intact for now.

Tidbits that I didn’t know until I got here:

  • Intel is a cubicle farm – everyone has a cubicle here, allegedly up to the executive class. It’ll take me a while to get used to the cacaphony of shared conversations and random noises, but I really hope I adjust soon.
  • The cafeteria here is even nicer than the ones on Microsoft campus – I had a Tempeh curry dish yesterday (yum!), and today I discovered the self-serve sandwich bar – take your bread, load up whatever fillings and toppings you like, and pay by the ounce. [I had inch-think tuna salad, a muffin and an apple for $5.31 – darned reasonable.]
  • These guys seem to have standardized exclusively on Thinkpads – it’s amazing after seeing all the wild variations of hardware at Microsoft to see just *one* OEM’s PCs everywhere. It’s almost…cultish. Still, if you’re going to choose only one notebook, I can think of much worse choices than these.
  • Microsoft’s concept of “long-timer” is pretty paltry compared to Intel. Ten years at MS is an accomplishment, and anyone with 15+ years at MS is considered a “volunteer” (i.e. part of the generation who earned enough cheap stock options to not need the paycheque, but still comes to work for some reason). I’m working with a guy who’s been with Intel for 27 years, and I’ll meet another on Friday who’s been with Intel for 30. Holy crap – thirty years ago, I was mastering finger-painting, while these guys were pioneering circuit designs.

I’m still figuring out what I’ll be doing around here, but so far it looks pretty exciting. I’ll tell you more about it in the near future.


One thought on “Week One at Intel

  1. Mike, congrats on moving to intel – sounds like a good gig. i saw you on linkedin but dont have your email address so drop me a line sometime (blog: blogs.msdn.com/techjunkie)-Ahmad


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