Why Carlos?


Some colleagues and friends pointed out that, after a couple of tough postings on, respectively, DCOM Communication and Heap Corruption, it may be time for a light one. Fair enough, we are approaching the winter holiday season so you may prefer something easier. For guys interested in deep technical matters: you’re probably better off skipping this post since there is nothing technically interesting in it.

The URL for this blog, http://blogs.msdn.com/carlos, is qualified by the word carlos. Now, this is not my email alias within Microsoft, nor it is my first name (being it Carlo, without the trailing s). So what’s the rationale behind it?

Well, in the 12+ years as a Support Engineer / Escalation Engineer at Microsoft, I have interacted with literally thousands of clients in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, and with colleagues from all the continents except Antarctica. And very often, in return to an email that I sent to customers/colleagues, I got this greeting:

“Hi Carlos,

….”

At first, I was a bit annoyed by seeing my name mispelled. And I did not understand why it happened: I always finish my emails with my first name/last name, or my first name only, and the email header contains my first name and last name as well, this shouldn’t leave much room for misunderstanding on what is my first name, should it?

Over time, as the number of repliers using the name Carlos increased, it became clearer and clearer to me that there was very little I could do: the Spanish Carlos was much more popular than my real name, the Italian Carlo, and as a consequence non-Italian writers used the former in place of the latter. I even wondered if some of them noted that I signed as “Carlo” and just thought: “This guy mispelled his own name, let’s show in my answer that, notwithstanding his mistake, I can address him in the right way” Smile.

Admittedly, I am the one to blame for a couple of occurrences: I don’t use pre-created e-mail signatures for outgoing messages (yes, those signatures that, with disclaimers, phone numbers, urls, alternative contacts etc, over time grow longer than the actual email message) and sometimes I just write “carlo” at the end of my email before hitting the “Alt+s” key sequence which sends the email in Outlook. It just so happens that, if “Alt” and “s” are not pressed exactly at the same time, the email is not sent and the s is written in the email message at the cursor position. If you are in a hurry, you do not pay attention to that: you just enter “Alt+s”  one more time, and the email goes out with the signature “carlos”!

Even written communications sometimes address me as Carlos: it is the case, for example, with a hotel chain to whose mailing list I subscribed (don’t ask me how it happened, since I am not interested in these types of programs: it was probably when checking in at one of their hotels): for them, I am Carlos Colombo. A kind suggestion that they may start by spelling my name correctly did not have any effect so far and I am still Carlos to them.

So, when I came to choose a url for the MSDN Blog I just thought: if I am going to be addressed as Carlos anyway, maybe I should start myself. And here it came the URL for the Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/carlos Smile.

I don’t use quotations very often but I guess the popular saying “If you can’t beat them, join them” applies here (BTW if you know of a more suitable saying, please let me know: I am not a Native English Speaker and I am definitely interested in learning the language better).

And you know what? Over time I came to like “Carlos” as much as I like my real name “Carlo” Smile.


Skip to main content