Mar 09, 2007
"This morning, just after 11:00..."
Friday. Early Fall, 1993.
This morning, just after 11:00, Michael locked himself in his office and he won't come out. Bill (Bill!) sent Michael this totally wicked flame-mail from hell on the e-mail system --and he just wailed on a chunk of code Michael had written... We figured it must have been a random quality check to keep the troops in line. Bill's so smart. Bill is wise. Bill is kind. Bill is benevolent. Bill, Be My Friend...Please! Actually, nobody on our floor has ever been flamed by Bill personally. The episode was tinged with glamour and we were somewhat jealous. I tried to tell Michael this, but he was crushed.
-- excerpt from opening paragraphs of microserfs by Douglas Coupland.
I have wondered why Coupland's microserfs didn't seem to get much of an audience, considering his importance in writing Generation X just a few years earlier. Then again, I think that Generation X didn't get read that much, either. A case of the title getting more play than what's in the box.
That said, Coupland really did seem to nail the cultures that he wrote about. microserfs was writing about tech and startup culture half a decade before the tech boom became fully palpable in the greater American culture.
I don't know as much as many, but I suspect that those who know would put microserfs in the informal canon of "books that described and defined the way things were at the beginning." Kind of a lesser version of Silent Spring and its relationship with the birth of global environmental awareness.
*in addition to its greater reputation as igniter.
Did you notice that both of this week's quotes relate to the concept of Big Brother? Coincidence.
several times in my first tech job, in '97 or '98, I remember having something weird happen at work and thinking "oh my god, this is just like that thing that happened in Microserfs."
Posted by: Sarah | Mar 12, 2007 10:07:44 PM