Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: What do you see? (A game.)

Author:David McCusker
Posted:7/15/2000; 11:21:40 AM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 7/14/2000
Msg #:18670 (In response to 18647)
Prev/Next:18669 / 18671

Maritz and Muglia, looking down, are "away" in a mode typical of technical folks like engineers who are trying not to express an opinion about what someone else is saying. There are at least two common reasons. One is boredom in the course of a necessary but rather uninteresting presentation. The other is savvy avoidance of expressing a reaction that the speaker is a pompous idiot, at least on a given topic. Heads down is good for suppressing telltale lip twitching and eyeball rolling, and the like. One possible uncommon reason is fear of upstaging a vindictive control freak by catching the eye of the audience while he is speaking, since he will probably review his performance later.

Ballmer is waiting, and seeing whether any reporter has an interesting reaction to what is being said. Ballmer doesn't need to listen to Gates because he has heard similar stuff before, and doesn't expect to hear anything new in the slightest degree. Gates can be depended on to never ad lib or have sudden insights (at least ones he cares to share).

Gates is on autopilot, delivering a spiel he has virtually memorized in his mind's eye. He probably never practiced this in the mirror, because he already knows what he looks like when doing his robotic delivery. Gates does not want a rapport with his audience. He wants to be understood in unambiguous terms that brook no opportunity for interesting tangents. Gates wants to convey his knowledge of facts, and assure his audience that nothing is out of control. Gates is saying that the project to extend the Microsoft municipal railroad will be on time and under budget, and the trains will continue to run on time.

Paluzzo on the right looking at Gates is showing proper behavior for a respectful Microsoft employee in public who wants demonstrate suitable attention and obeisance to figurehead authority. Paluzzo is demonstrating what the audience should be doing, and he knows perfectly well he is setting the visual context on Gates' left, as opposed to a more independent right hand man Ballmer. Paluzzo imagines if he turns his head, an audible creak in his neck will spoil Gates' presentation, like a rusty hinge squealing on stage during a theater play. Paluzzo doesn't need to hear what Gates is saying, and is forgoing a more informative look at any audience reaction in order to set the proper mood.

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