Since it first appeared riding atop a fire-breathing unicorn in 2014, Ninja Cat has been embraced as Microsoft's unofficial mascot by employees and the company's followers fans alike. But many may not be familiar with the Microsoft veteran of 19 years behind the meme, KC Lemson. In a new profile piece posted on the Microsoft Life blog (opens in new tab), Microsoft dives into the origins of Ninja Cat, as well as Lemson's own time at Microsoft.
Self-described as "socially awkward," Lemson has leveraged her unique energy across around 10 different roles while at Microsoft. Currently, Lemson works as a senior director of program managers in Microsoft's Surface division. But the origin of Ninja cat goes back to 2014, when Lemson says she created a graphic of Ninja Cat riding a unicorn while holding a flag with the Microsoft logo. The inspiration for the eventual mascot was Jason Heuser's "Welcome to the Internet" meme, which features a similarly stoic ninja cat on a unicorn. Eventually, Ninja Cat came to be seen as "a visual that spoke to a sort of zeitgeist about where we were headed," Lemson says.
Aside from Ninja Cat, the profile reveals that Lemson has put her energies into a stream of creative ventures over the years. Notably, Lemson is behind a card game called "Bedlam." Based off of Cards Against Humanity, Bedlam is very much a game filled with inside jokes intended for Microsoft employees. The game is sold in the Microsoft Company Store, with proceeds going to charity. Between the proceeds and Microsoft's employee matching program, Lemson has raised around $40,000 for charity.
The profile goes more in-depth on Lemson's view of her role at Microsoft, as well as her reflections on past challenges navigating her roles at Microsoft. The whole thing is definitely an entertaining read, and you can dive in at the Microsoft Life blog (opens in new tab) for more.
We're gonna need more of this type stuff.
See, even if MS is majorly enterprise focused, all professionals aren't old, boring, tight laced, ultra conservation, geezers... It's quite the opposite nowadays, in fact. Even the more mature professionals don't have the same attitudes as those before them. 30 is the new 50.
If MS were to try and appeal to enterprise consumers with any type of new Surface device there needs to be a tasteful element of fun involved. It has to be exciting, and that goes for all of their products. Nothing MS does should be the old "executive". Surface, and other products, must be litteraly, and figuratively, be colorful. And, MS's attitude should be perceived as colorful, as well.
Very well said 👍
Never liked Ninja Cat. Beta fish was better.
The Ninja Cat is my spirit animal
Such a moving piece. As soon as I saw the title, I knew I wanted to read the origin piece before reading more here. I am glad that I did. I originally thought that the creator behind Ninja cat was male - And I also learned that ninja cat is actual female ^^ If you have not, and you have an interest in people, and how they evolve and eventually come to inspire others: Go read that story :)
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