Small but important from Russell on the “elevator pitch” phrase, supposedly originating from Microsoft. They don’t even have that many elevators at Microsoft, it turns out:
I’ve been fascinated by the idea of the elevator pitch ever since I ran across it at Microsoft in the late 90s.
The story they told was of being in an elevator with Bill Gates whose default question was always – what are you working on? That meant that every Microsoft manager had a tremendous and snappy answer to that question. Snappiness was necessary because Microsoft elevators only went about three floors. Tremendousness was necessary for obvious reasons. I assumed they invented the idea, because I’d never heard it before, but looking back that doesn’t seem very likely. Partly because most Microsoft buildings didn’t have elevators at all.
Searching back through books on Google it looks like it was originally a Hollywood thing. Which makes sense. And looking on NGram, it looks like it started in the 80s somewhere, which also makes sense.