Monthly Archives: November 2008

Trip To Seattle (+ Program Manager Interview With Microsoft)!

I have been noticeably absent in this blog and others this month. So in typical Hung Truong Blog fashion, I felt like I should write about what’s going on in my life, including my everlasting job hunt. I know some have gained quite a lot of pleasure in reading about my various job hunt activities. Job hunting is kind of fun, especially when you’re in school and you don’t actually have a dire need for a job (well, I already have a job, but I know it’s gonna run out when I graduate).

Anyway, last weekend I interviewed at Microsoft for a Program Manager position. You might recall that I interviewed with Orbitz a few weeks prior. I got an offer from Orbitz and let the recruiters at MS know. Then the MS recruiters hurried up the process and let me interview with them. Pretty cool! I ended up declining the Orbitz offer (but it was awesome and I would have taken it if I hadn’t gotten a better offer, more on that later).

Um, I realize at this point that in the interest of actually getting a job, I should be neutral when I talk about companies. Luckily, all of the companies I’ve dealt with so far have been class acts. So I don’t really need to hold anything back. They’ve been awesome. The whole experience of job hunting has been a real eye-opener for me. From exploding offers and figuring out offer goodness, I’ve been learning a lot.

So anyway, I flew to Seattle and got there at around 11am. I got a rental car (a Toyota Highlander SUV) and drove to the Pike Place Market, which is apparently one of the really cool places to see. I got lunch there and wandered around various shops. Then I decided to go to the Seattle Library, which is really super awesome. And being a student at a library school, I knew I needed to check it out. The library had multiple floors of awesome. The decor in there is like Ikea, except cooler! And it’s in a library!

On my interview day, I tried leaving early but it took me a while to find Building 19 (the HR building) where I was supposed to meet with my recruiter. Microsoft campus is huge-ass. I was a little late. 19 is probably the spiffiest building I encountered, with its sorta dim lighting (for mood), Microsoft Surface to play with, and Rock Band! There were a lot of other students there waiting for their recruiter to get them. They all seemed kinda nervous. It was hard to get them to even acknowledge I was trying to joke around with them and get a posse to play. Then, I was about to start a song when my recruiter called my name. Ah, well.

From 10-4 it was interviews. They were each an hour long, except for a “lunch” interview which lasted 1.5 hours. And I had 30 minutes to sort of pass out after lunch before the final two interviews. Note to people looking for info on questions they ask in Microsoft interviews: don’t bother. I’ve noticed that a lot of people find my blog while they’re looking for interview questions to prepare for their own interviews. The thing that people don’t understand is that everyone asks different questions. And you don’t need to know the answers beforehand anyway. The whole point of the questions is that you answer them on the spot, and that the process of answering the question is what the interviewer wants to see. So if you knew the answer already, you might do worse in the interviewer’s eyes because they’d be like, “what the heck? This person doesn’t think!” Also, most of my questions were about me, so you’d have to do a lot of studying about Hung Truong if you wanted to ace my particular interview questions. </rant>

The interviews themselves were thoughtful and pretty cool. The people interviewing me were really smart and all seemed like cool dudes to work with. I mean, as a self-respecting geek I know that Microsoft has a certain reputation for software. The thing is that a company as big as Microsoft will inevitably have great products and not-so-great products. Also, I read this article in Fast Company about Gary Flake, my new(est) role model! MS is finally entering the web space like they mean it and it’ll be interesting to see how they approach it and how it will affect the other big players (Google and Yahoo… to some extent).

Finally, I had a chance to have dinner with a current MS employee. I chose my former classmate, Sameer. He and his wife took me to the Space Needle Restaurant, which was incredibly touristy and awesome. Oh, and expensive. Thanks for footing the bill, Microsoft! Seriously!

I know that most of my job hunt posts end in some kind of failure post (example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, etc). I’ve gotten pretty used to rejection over the past few years. But! It seems I’ve gotten better at interviewing! For I got an offer! I can’t (and probably shouldn’t) disclose certain things, so let’s just leave it at that. I have about a week to make my decision. I will probably make another post when I do make a final decision. And then we’ll finally have a proper burial for my series of job hunt posts, once and for all (or at least hopefully for a while!).

Sonny Stitt: Just In Case You Forgot How Bad He Really Was

If you ask almost anyone about Sonny Stitt, they’ll probably tell you he was really bad. Like, in a good way. But occasionally, some people will forget. In case of this rare occurrence, there’s a cd that’s appropriately named: “Sonny Stitt: Just In Case You Forgot How Bad He Really Was.”

I just got it from the AADL. Not because I forgot, but because I happen to like Sonny Stitt. The songs are all pretty good. I think it’s parts of a live set that he did a while back. Stitt is just really freakin’ good, and not as repetitive as some people (Dexter Gordon, I’m looking at you!).

My favorite part of this album is probably the cover art. Seriously, I think they looked through all pictures of Sonny Stitt and found the one where he looked baddest.

Worst Thing Ever

The worst thing ever happened to me today at work. Google Calendar went down. NOOOOO!

Goin’ To Chicago (Interview with Orbitz)

View Larger Map

I’m going to Chicago this Thursay and Friday for an interview with With the help of some friends (and Google Maps) I compiled a map of stuff I should see while I’m there. The timing might be kinda tight since I also have to interview (the main reason I’m there) but hopefully I can do things like:

  • See the mirror blob thing
  • Eat some pizza (Giordano’s seems to be the most popular choice)
  • Go up to the top (or almost the top) of the John Hancock building
  • Eat some popcorn
  • Go to the Apple Store (low priority but I need to do some name dropping or something

This is my first time in Chicago (well, I drove through once to get to Michigan but didn’t stop) so it should be interesting. I wonder if Obama is still hanging around. Maybe I can do the fist bump with him if I run into him…

Song Currently Stuck in My Head: Falling in Love With Love

There’s an instrumental version of this song by the Art Blakey Trio that I’ve liked for a while. One day, I don’t remember quite when, the random feature of iTunes played me the vocal version on the giant Clifford Brown collection I have. I like learning the words to songs, especially Jazz standards, so it was a surprise to me that the song actually had words:

Falling in love with love is falling for make-believe
Falling in love with love is playing the fool
Caring too much is such a juvenile fancy
Learning to trust is just for children in school

I fell in love with love one night when the moon was full
I was unwise with eyes unable to see
I fell in love with love with love everlasting
But love fell out with me

What’s interesting is that there are two rhymes for each line. Like how ‘trust’ rhymes with ‘just’ and ‘fool’ rhymes with ‘school.’ It’s easier to do in this song since there’s only like, eight lines and most of the time they’re just rhyming ‘love’ with ‘love’ anyway.

I like the idea of a song about falling in love with love. It’s meta! The only way to get more meta would be to write a song about this blog post about a song about falling in love with love! Someone should totally do this.

At first, I thought the line was “caring too much is just a juvenile fantasy” because all the instrumental versions I’ve heard give that note extra “syllables.” I guess instrumentalists can take more liberties with the song than vocalists. Sometimes I think adding more “syllables” is a bad idea, but it works in this song (maybe because I heard it that way first).

I started listening to a bunch of different versions of the song on The Sarah Vaughn version is pretty damn sweet! Let’s see how this MP3 Widget thing works: