When I had just joined Microsoft, as a video game obsessed college kid, I was trying to figure out the “point of the game” here at work. At first, I decided the point of the game was to write code. Didn’t matter how useful it was, it was cool to write lots of code. Then, when my testers started burying me with bugs, I figured the point of the game was to catch bugs before others did. Didn’t matter how important it was, it was cool to catch bugs in your code before anyone else did. But when I saw users wrestle with the product, I thought the point of the game was to build a great experience. Didn’t matter how many people use the scenario, it was cool to write awesome specs for well thought out end to end scenarios.
And then one day, I met an actual customer outside work who told me what a profound impact our product had on his life. He was so excited about the release and genuinely grateful that the product saved him several hours of time and made him super productive! I still remember that moment vividly. It struck me then, that the “point of the game” was really to make a difference in your customer’s life!! It didn’t matter how you did it – by creating an experience, filing a bug or checking in code. The point was to make a huge positive impact on as many users as possible. Since then, I’ve found that making a decision often becomes easier when you can answer clearly the question “Is this the best thing for the customer?”
As I look back at my last 10 years of shipping products here at Microsoft, the ride has been crazy, exciting and non-stop fun working with the best teammates possible. From being a developer writing a game for high school kids, a tester for a new programming language to being a product manager on a product that went from zero to market leader in 2 versions, every gig has been an incredible adventure. Life at Microsoft has never been short of excitement – relentless coding/debugging sessions (I was late for my own wedding engagement trying to fix a tricky timing issue failing my tests), drinking from a firehose of user feedback (our power users aka MVPs have strong opinions and can give us some tough love occasionally 😉 ), nervous waits before product launch (are the deployment Gods appeased with our offering of chocolate chip cookies?), learning from super-smart and patient colleagues (I had the TF on my team call me for an hour to explain basics of secure code cuz I was a newbie with a God complex who refused to believe I could be wrong) and so much more
It is hard to leave a place that has been home for so many years. But, it’s now time for a change and I say goodbye to Microsoft to go off on a new adventure! This will be my last post on my MSDN blog. You can keep in touch on twitter or at RebelMouse that aggregates my social media content. See you there!