4/18/2006 we had the honor of hosting President Hu Jintao at Microsoft. The experience was amazing, especially to work with the Chinese national employees. They worked tirelessly to make the visit perfect. They genuinely cared to give their president the very best experience. Their sense of patriotism was celebratory and refreshing. I still feel high when I think of the event.
We designed a 9 minute tour that introduced the Microsoft Home. We personalized the space including vision prototypes displaying photos of places he had lived throughout his life. He was appreciative of the gesture. The tour was presented by Tim Chen, head of our Chinese efforts at the time. At one point I presented a clothing scenario in the teenagers’ closet as Tim translated. The President bowed to me, twice.
It was my job to make sure the Home visit went smoothly. I purchased a stop watch for our rehearsals to make sure we hit our marks. It’s now attached to my bulletin board as a memento. The tour ended up taking 14 minutes, the president was very interested. During the visit one of his body guards, a woman, (provided by the CIA?) ran defense keeping the press at bay. She bounced back and forth with her arms out stretched creating a barrier all the while manically chewing gum. I wanted to giggle.
Microsoft was the first place President Hu Jintao came to on his US visit.
Speaking of Presidential first visits, in the summer of 2007 we had Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triết on the first presidential visit to the US since the Vietnam War in 1975. Wow. While it was an honor to also be a part of that visit, it didn’t have the same elevated effect.