Last weekend I packed up my house in SF, shipped my cats (who almost were lost, but that's another story for another day), filled a few suitcases full of clothes, and hopped a plane to Seattle! It's been an exciting adventure so far, full of new faces at Microsoft, and lots of new and fun challenges to face.
For those of you who are interested, I'm now working in the Application Platform and Developer Division at Microsoft, running the Web Platform team. My team (who I'll snap pictures of this week and introduce you to) is responsible for Internet Explorer and ASP.NET product management, Web 2.0, Web Influencer engagement, developer Open Source efforts, and standards engagement. It's an amazingly smart team with lots of enthusiasm, and it's just great to be working with people who truly have a passion for the community, and just "get it." It's been awhile since I've been in an environment where folks truly care about the people that use their software, and it just rocks. And, not being on a team that looks at revenue for a success metric is also amazing.
When I chose to go to Microsoft, there were a few key things that helped convince me to make the jump:
(1) When I was interviewing, I made it very clear that I care about the community first, and the company second. Every single person I talked to (from VPs like Dan'l Lewin and GMs like Sheila Gulati, right down to the business manager in the office, I kid you not) understood that this was critical to success. And that while other divisions might care about revenues or competition, our key job is ensuring that developers are successful, regardless of the circumstances or products they are developing on. And thus far, I've seen that message delivered to our team. This is something that has always been of number one importance to me, and I'm committed to keeping our teams focused on this moving forward.
(2) The acceptance of the vision of Microsoft as a more open company was crystal clear as something that has to be done both internally and externally at Microsoft. It's always been a principle at Microsoft to give transparency to what we do, but now, we're fully committed to being a more open company (as can be seen here). I sat down with Sam Ramji, Robert Duffner, and Brian Goldfarb just this week (Sam who I worked with at BEA, and Robert who I worked with at both BEA and IBM; Brian's my new boss) and we have some good ideas of where we need to go and what we need to do to get this done. Will this happen overnight? No. But the shift is happening, and I'm really excited about what we can do. There's so much opportunity here, it's just incredible. And people are committed to making it happen, and to see the change in that thought process is terrific. Please do send me thoughts and ideas, as always (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(3) Putting the fun back into the job. I've never seen a group of people that have more fun with their jobs than I have at Microsoft. There are lots of really bright folks over here, and no lack of great ideas flying around. This is one of the most important things I factor in when making a job leap. My first day, we actually had a team building activity (Whirly-ball) where I got to know folks from all over our division. The following day, we had a team offsite where I got the low-down on all of our teams' activities and what we're planning for the next year. And let me tell you - the level of enthusiasm throughout this offsite was great. And it's so nice to be back in an environment where this happens - all the time.
(4) Free drinks and coffee (wait, kidding, kidding). That's just a nice to have. :)
I'm excited and I can't wait to see what the coming year will bring. A lot's going to happen, and I hope that I can use my experience working with the Java, PHP, and OS Dev communities to help Microsoft build a better, honest, relationship with it's "non-traditional" developer base. But to do that, I do need to hear from you, so keep the feedback coming.
And get ready for an exciting year! /LC
PS: And to all you nay-sayers who said the weather would be awful in Seattle, it's been pretty damn nice out lately! I'm kind of glad the rental car they gave me was a convertible (my choice was either that, or a minivan... yeah).