Welcome to Pete Brown's 10rem.net

First time here? If you are a developer or are interested in Microsoft tools and technology, please consider subscribing to the latest posts.

You may also be interested in my blog archives, the articles section, or some of my lab projects such as the C64 emulator written in Silverlight.

(hide this)

Looking back at 2009, and forward to 2010

Pete Brown - 31 December 2009

Like most people, at the end of the year, I look back and assess how things went, what I could do better, and what I want to do in the next year. I hesitate to call them resolutions, as that pretty much guarantees nothing will come of them :)

Looking back at 2009

I had a fair number of goals for 2009. The most important one, however, I couldn’t publish anywhere, so we’ll hit that first.

Get hired by Microsoft

My biggest goal for 2009 was to get hired by Microsoft. I started the process in 2008, and like a friend of mine once told me: it takes a year and a half to get hired at MSFT :)

I wanted to get hired to one of three teams at Microsoft (Scott/Simon’s team, local DPE, or public sector DPE. I have friends and contacts on all three teams, and knew I’d be happy on any of them. The position I wanted the most, however, is the one I started on Scott Hanselman’s team on October 12. It was sad to leave my previous employer of over 13 years, but at the same time, I was really ready to move my career in a different way.

So, how’s the new job going? Words cannot express how perfect this position is. It’s a lot of work, and my time management techniques from previous projects sooo do not apply here, but it is exactly what I’ve been looking for. The team is excellent as is the management. It’s no walk in the park (I have to put that in or you all will think I just have fun all day), but it’s definitely the dream job.

Become a Better Designer

I made some progress on becoming a better designer, both in being more familiar with some of the tools, but also just in techniques and identifying common patterns and memes. Sure, I’ll never bee a full-fledged designer, but this is one skill I hope to continue to build and improve upon.

Become a Better Developer

While I didn’t get into as many patterns an approaches as I wanted to, I did spend a fair bit of time on simple self-improvement. There’s always more to be done, but I feel good about what I accomplished in 2009.


Well, I never did get to write an application for Surface, or a game for Zune, but those aren’t off the table yet. In fact, now that Surface has opened up more and Zune HD is so awesome, it might be impossible for me to keep away from them this year. I wonder if Scott will let me expense a Surface for my home office? :)


Looking forward to 2010

There are a number of things I want to accomplish in 2010. Here are a few of them.

Launch my new Website

I finally got some decent progress into converting my site and blog to a new platform. It probably won’t be ready as soon as I thought (January), but it’ll definitely be this year, and probably early in the year. I’m pretty excited about this as I’ll have better control over the site and will be able to finally freshen up much of the old content.

Publish my Silverlight 4 Book

This is well on its way to being a reality, but I’m putting it here anyway. I will have, bar none, the very best Silverlight 4 book out there. Hold me to it :)

Speak More – in bigger Venues

I start the year off with a pretty hefty speaking load at Reykjavik, Iceland at the end of January. I have four sessions covering WPF, Windows 7, Silverlight 4 (c64 emulator, yay!), sensors, etc.

I hope to land some other larger gigs. In fact, it’s part of my job commitments so putting it here is almost redundant :)

Speak Less – in smaller Venues

This sounds terrible, but it’s realistic. Between local groups, calls from DPE, parts of my job, code camps, and INETA, I spent a lot of time in 2009 speaking to pretty small groups of folks. In 2010, I’m backing off a bit. While I’ll still do local usergroups sometimes, I’ll probably not do many codecamps or traveling shows unless I happen to be in the area for something else.

This will help balance out the time I’ll spend away from home speaking and visiting Redmond in my new position. My family found codecamps especially hard as that was a whole Saturday away from home during what is typically prime family fun time (early fall)

Manage my Time Better

Speaking of time…

One thing I promised my wife was the new position, being a consolidation of my after-hours MVP/INETA activities with a paying job, would give me more daily family and home time. That hasn’t been quite realized yet, so I’m going to do something about it the first half of this year. I’m going to plan my days better and set limits on work hours spent. That’s really hard, as truthfully, I really like doing this stuff for fun. But, as they say, “Step away from the computer, sir”.

My team and my management is very much into ensuring appropriate personal time, so no problems there. This one’s on me. I have some task and time management ideas to try out to make this happen.

Visit my Family More

My family (mother, father, two sisters) all live up in CT, pretty much on the MA border at the very far right of the state. The drive there is pretty long, and the flights inconvenient, so I’ve never made much of an effort to be up there more than once or twice a year. This year I intend to be up a bit more, not a ton, but enough so at least my son can remember he has grandparents up in New England.

Make Some Progress on the Home Renovation

One of my character flaws is that I love to start stuff, but once I get all the learning experiences out of it, and the rest becomes refinement or repetition, I lose interest. That’s why I always did well with building/managing proof-of-concept projects at my last job, and why I do well now with demos/apps where I have to learn a bunch of new stuff.

The home renovation stalled mostly because of that and partly because of other time pressures, but mostly because I kept de-prioritizing it.

To give you an idea of what my wife has been living with for the past 4+ years:

  • None of the kitchen cabinets have doors (except the trash bin)
  • Only half the kitchen wall cabinets are up (need to build/install the ones for the other side)
  • None of the kitchen drawers have fronts or knobs. They are just the boxes (on good sliders), but you have to hook your finger into them to open them up.
  • Sink cabinet has no face frame.
  • Because the cabinets aren’t completed, we’re still using a temporary countertop.
  • There is no trim on the floors or doors in the entire upstairs.
  • Haven’t done anything meaningful in the bathrooms yet (they need new floors at the least)

She’s a saint to have put up with that for so long. With managing my time better, I hope to be able to make more time to make significant progress on this this year.

Improve My Health

Like most folks, I need to lose some weight in 2010. I keep adding additional X’s to my shirt size, and that’s not good. Otherwise, my health is pretty decent, but it won’t remain that way if I get up into “OMG, is that a tent?” size in my clothes. With the new benefits I have and how they pay for a gym or equipment there are no real excuses.


2009 was a good year, and 2010 promises to be even better. I’m really looking forward to it. :) That’s it for now. Happy New Year!

posted by Pete Brown on Thursday, December 31, 2009
filed under:            

2 comments for “Looking back at 2009, and forward to 2010”

  1. Ed Mullinsays:
    I enjoyed reading your goals and accomplishments. I find them inspirational and instructive. Of course, the one that troubles me is the goal to speak less to smaller groups, however I do think it's the right decision. Perhaps my tiny group of zealots will be the exception.

    And maybe try some robotics. It's way cool.

    All the best in 2010. Go, man, Go.

Comment on this Post

Remember me