When you saw the title of this article, what came to mind? That was actually a trick question for anyone other than the soloprenuer. If you are a soloprenuer, your best asset might be a “what.” But, for the rest of us – your best asset is probably a “who.”Earlier this year, Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft would be raising employee salaries as a part of an overall revamp of its employee review and compensation system. This shift is proof of Microsoft’s attempt to protect their best asset – their people. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, some of the best known web companies from the Bay Area –  including Zygna, Salesforce, Google and Facebook are opening satellite offices in Seattle in order to tap the region’s pool of software engineering talent. Though companies like Microsoft can offer comparable compensation packages, the news doesn’t bode well for local start ups.

So, I am here to put a little bug in your ear. I’m not telling you to go and give each of your employees a 15% raise, but I am reminding you to keep your best people at the forefront of your mind. Make them a part of a mission that is bigger than themselves and more important than their yearly salary.

Everyone knows that Microsoft’s HQ is in Redmond, but, how much physical office space does Microsoft occupy in Bellevue?  I was reading a report that GVA Kidder Matthews released about how much office space they have.  Some of this information is from that report, some of the information I found on my own.  All of their office space in Bellevue is leased.  However, most of their office space in Redmond is owned.  The amount of office space in Bellevue is a tiny compared to the amount of space that Microsoft already has in Redmond.

Downtown Bellevue: Approximately 1,300,000 SF. (1,621,000 SF. corrected 1/30/09)

  • Lincoln Square – 320,000 SF.
  • Bravern – 740,000 SF.
  • City Center Plaza – 240,000 SF. (561,000 SF. – corrected 1/30/09)

Redmond: Approximatley 11,450,000 SF.

  • Currently under construction is the $1 billion, 14-building expansion project on its main Redmond campus.  Information provided by Schnitzer Northwest.
Microsoft’s Puget Sound Headcount:
  • 2004:  28,587
  • 2005:  30,858
  • 2006:  34,869
  • 2007:  36,405
  • 10/08:  41,276
Microsoft has never had a year where its headcount has declined.  It will be interesting to see if Microsoft will keep that up for 2009.  Even with a “headcount freeze” they still managed to hire 500 people in the month of November, per the Seattle PI.