KC Lemson, who started the Ninjacat meme, steps away from Microsoft

KC Lemson, who in her 21 years at Microsoft worked on Outlook, Exchange, Windows Phone, Windows, and Surface, is stepping away from the company. In a blog post today on LinkedIn, Lemson made the announcement:

I’ve decided it’s time for me to try something new: not working. Or to rephrase it in the standard corporate lingo: I’ll be on an extended leave of absence for the foreseeable future, during which time I will be pursuing some personal projects and spending more time with my family. I’ll still be in the GAL and on email occasionally, but I’ll be focusing on the non-Microsoft part of my life after this week.

Lemson has done a lot in her time at Microsoft, but is perhaps best known, at least outside the company, for social media presence. She seems to keep popping up, as a Microsoft Life post in 2018 reported, in memes like Bedlam cards, an iconic photograph of 7,000 Microsoft employees forming a Seattle Seahawks “12” on a soccer field in Redmond, and most notably for bringing to life the Microsoft version of Jason Heuser’s iconic “Welcome to the Internet.” As Lemson tells it in a 2016 post on Raymond Chen’s The Old New Thing blog, as with much of what comes out of Microsoft, the ninjacat started as a PowerPoint slide:

In mid 2014, a couple of us in that team were working on a presentation about what would later become known as Windows 10, and as a joke we made a slide that started with this image (that made the rounds of social media in 2013) and then animated it into a slide full of “kittens and puppies and rainbows and unicorns” with a design that was inspired by the amazing Welcome to the Internet image by Jason Heuser.

Like most memes, things kind of took on a life of their own from there, especially after Tom Warren at The Verge wrote about a ninjacat sticker he’d seen on a Microsoft employee’s laptop. Warren called it “the perfect example of a company with a bit of personality.”

Like anyone who’s attended Microsoft’s various conferences and events over the years, we’ve run across KC Lemson and been handed our share of stickers, always with a smile and a laugh. We wish her all the best, just stay off the email and enjoy life!

 

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