Being Microsoft CEO for One Day

Editors’ Update, Dec. 13, 2005
– Details of the hardware provided to Simi Valley Elementary School have been corrected since publication in the second-to-last paragraph below.

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 7, 2005 — On Friday, Dec. 9, there’ will be an extra CEO at Microsoft – just for the day. His name is Kiyaan Vazirzadeh. He hails from Simi Valley, Calif. And he’s 10.

Vazirzadeh made his wish to spend a day being CEO at Microsoft on the NBC Television reality show “Three Wishes,” which follows recording artist Amy Grant on visits to communities all over the U.S., where Grant and her team grant wishes. These wishes range from the simple and light-hearted to the more dramatic and involved, and all feature people who get to witness some of their hopes and dreams made into reality.

Asked to name his heroes when he was still in the first grade, Vazirzadeh wrote about Bill Gates. That did not change through the years, and a compelling essay, coupled with his goal of being a CEO at his young age, prompted Microsoft and the “Three Wishes” team to make his wish come true.

During the day Vazirzadeh spent at Microsoft headquarters – which occurred Nov. 21, just before the launch of Xbox 360, the next-generation video game console – the youth participated in boardroom meetings, greeted Microsoft employees in the building that houses Xbox development, and checked out the Xbox play test lab to ensure that all was ready for launch.

“I wanted to be CEO because it’s the top job you can get at Microsoft,” says the fifth-grader. “I enjoyed actually getting to go inside the Microsoft buildings, especially the testing center.”

Vazirzadeh also met with Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates, and the two discussed careers, technology and Gates’ own habits as a kid. After their conversation, the two exchanged business cards.

“What I like best about technology is the fact that it’s more advanced than having to do things yourself,” says Vazirzadeh. “Technology can help you in many ways and we are working through it and using it more than ever before. You can do a lot of things with technology you couldn’t do before.”

At the end of the day, Vazirzadeh made one final wish. On behalf of his technology-impoverished school, Simi Valley Elementary, which has never had more than a few computers, and those have out-of-date software, he requested a computer lab, with new hardware and software. Microsoft worked with Lenovo Corp. to provide Simi Valley Elementary with 36 new PCs, a network printer, a portable projector and a Tablet PC for instructional use, enabling the school to build its first-ever computer lab and upgrade its few existing computers with the latest Microsoft software.

“Microsoft and Lenovo were delighted to help fulfill Kiyaan’s wish for a technology lab for Simi Valley Elementary School,” says John Litten, senior marketing manager of the Original Equipment Manufacturers division at Microsoft. “We admire the desire — especially at his young age –to help others fulfill their potential and ensure that future generations are able to experience the latest technology innovations from Microsoft and its partners for themselves.”

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