Linda Stone profiled for Ada Lovelace Day

Eileen sez, "For Lovelace Day, I chatted with geek-grrl guru and virtual-worlds visionary Linda Stone, who tells how she introduced Apple-like compassion to Microsoft's rough-and-ready corporate culture. Wish I'd been there to see that!"

Linda's one of my favorite people of all time — what a great appreciation of a deserving subject!

I brought in interesting speakers when I was in Microsoft Research, and then started the Visiting Speaker Series in 2000, which is still around today. I brought in thought leaders and critics like Eric Raymond, Larry Lessig, and David Farber, to talk and meet with people. I brought in Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, and John Lasseter. These are people who inspire all of us, who open our minds and stimulate our thinking. The series gave employees access to these people and their ideas, and that proved to be a very powerful way of keeping dialog flowing. Many other companies have now instituted their own series, and Kim Ricketts, a bookseller in Seattle who supported my efforts at Microsoft when she was at the University Bookstore, has now created a business around organizing and hosting book signings and author tours in corporations.

While I worked for Ballmer, I managed and significantly improved Microsoft's relationship with the World Economic Forum. At conferences, in the Valley, in NYC and elsewhere, I was visible and accessible, so that people could talk to me and I would be aware, as much as possible, of problems as they arose and before they became serious. I also helped nurture dialogs on important topics like open source, and followed up on them. I wanted to encourage a general curiosity in the Microsoft community, and to encourage Microsoft employees to develop relationships with the larger community outside of the company.

Welcome to Ada Lovelace Day! :: An interview with Linda Stone
(Thanks, Eileen!)