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

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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!