Douglas Coupland's Microserfs follows the lives of several friends as they make the big decision whether to stay at Microsoft and continue on with their secure but boring jobs or to take a leap of faith and follow the dreams of Michael, the real genius among them. Michael has an idea. He wants to create a new product.
As the novel opens, the group of friends not only work together at Microsoft, they also share a communal home just outside of Seattle. According to Dan, the narrator, none of them have a life outside of their ridiculously long hours at work. They are earning good money but their sense of adventure and creativity has been muted.
However, the dull life Dan has been leading takes some unexpected turns. He falls in love. His father loses his job. “Bill” (an oblique reference to Bill Gates) sends Michael to California for a conference. These three incidents stimulate change. Dan begins to realize that there is more to life than work. His father is depressed and flies to Seattle. Michael decides that he does not want to go back to Seattle. He writes a letter to his friends and co-workers telling them that he has an idea for a computer game and he needs their help. Will they come to California and help him put it together?
It is in the mid-nineties. Computers games are just budding into a new era of graphics. And “Oop!”, the name of Michael's game, is about to take off. Or at least, the group is hoping so. All but one of the group move down to Silicon Valley. They decide that the excitement of creating something new is worth much more than money.
In the process of their computer adventure, the friends learn that there are other things in life that are a lot more important than secure jobs. They fall in love; come out of the closet; and make babies. They learn to care about one another, touch one another, and lose their fear of opening up their hearts.