It's hard to believe, but today marks six months of working for
Microsoft. It was a long process - one that lasted almost two years
from the first contact to the start date, but it was worth it.
I started on Monday October 12, 2009. On that first day, I got
all my orientation and badge work done by 3:00pm, and then went and
found Scott so I could shadow him for a bit. I even made a few
awkward "oops, let me get out of the way of the door" cameos in
some channel 9 videos that week :)
That same day, I met with some product team folks in devdiv,
Windows, and elsewhere. The things I learned totally rocked my
world. I saw things that will show up in future products, and some
prototypes of things that will never see the light of day in that
particular form, but were amazing never-the-less, and will help
make other things awesome.
I normally don't like to do meta-style posts, but I'll indulge
on my anniversary here today.
So, do I Like it?
I often get asked at code camps and tweetups and other places
where I run into folks I've known from back when I worked for a
living "Do you like it?" and "Was it what you expected?"
As for whether or not I like it: Oh hell yes. Think about it for
- I'm working with the "Mr Big" of community teams
- I get to play with cool stuff
- I write, blog, code demos, record videos, speak at events, and
get paid for it.
- And it's my job
Did I mention it's a job I get paid for? Seriously, while there
is a boatload of work that never really surfaces until you notice a
site mysteriously opens a new section, or a pile of videos show up,
this is exactly what I want to be doing. I joke that I "used to
work for a living" only because I'd do most of this for free (and
have in the past, but not at this scale). Don't tell Scott I said
So yeah, without evoking the greasy golden arches let me say
"I'm lovin' it" :)
Is it What I Expected?
Was it what I expected? There are some real differences there.
For example, I thought working for a company the size of Microsoft
would be a huge culture shock. The reality is, while I branch out
through virtual teams, the people I work with are our extended team
(msdn, *.net sites etc.) and subsets of the product teams and dev
div management stack. In that way, it feels like a smaller company
than I expected.
The other thing I didn't quite expect, coming from the outside,
was just how cool and interesting most everyone is. Oh, and smart.
That first week was pretty overwhelming because I met with a ton of
really smart people and I was just starting to cope with the
feelings of "oh crap, am I even qualified to be around here?" that
I now understand many folks have. Big fish small pond, meet much
bigger fish in a much bigger pond. The word I kept using that first
week was "humbling."
The other thing I was nervous about was working for Scott Hanselman.
Scott and I had met a couple times, but in most people's view, he's
a short step from working directly for ScottGu. I'm not into hero
worship, but you have expectations set on public personas. I was
also used to being in a position where the thickness of the
management overhead above me was pretty thin, and I had direct
reports of my own. Scott did a great job getting me started though,
and is someone who really does care about the folks that work for
him. I'm happy with the decision to join this team. Scott's one of
the good guys.
One thing that was very new to me was the measurement process.
When you're in the consulting business (which I was for 13 years),
it's hard to set goals that are more specific than "stay billable
x% of the time". The process at Microsoft is much more formalized,
and everything is measured. If it can be measured, it will be. I'm
on the fence about the usefulness of some of the metrics
(especially ones I'm not quite hitting yet [Subscribe to my blog, I
beg you!!<g>]), but they're better than a SLOC count in any case.
It's also a welcome change to not have to account for every 15
minutes of my day. We're results-driven here, and truthfully,
everyone works more than 40 hours anyway. It seems nit picky, or
even petty, but it's an important quality-of-life aspect to the
job, and one that the rest of the team and our management fully
What's in Store?
I'm continuing in my current role as the WPF Community
guy, but I'll also be doing a good bit more in the Silverlight
space, Windows Phone and gaming. With the release of Visual Studio
2010 and WPF 4, and the impending release of Silverlight 4, plus
the holiday release of Windows Phone 7, I'm going to be pretty
happy, and pretty busy :) If it's XAML or client code running on
Windows, I'm interested.
Plus, I'm wrapping up my Silverlight 4 book with Manning, and it's
turning out to be even more awesome than I imagined. It's also
about 2x as thick as I had planned, but that's not a horrible
problem unless you're the publisher. heh.
Once the book is off my plate, I'll have a life again. :)
Overall, I'm really happy. I've picked the right company, the
right team, and the right technologies. Maybe I'm still in
honeymoon mode, but I've talked with folks that have been here for
5+ years who have the same opinions, so it's a seriously long
Oh, and I still can't bring myself to say "Send me an S+" Maybe
someday, but not yet.