MVP Insider – Q & A with Rob Windsor

Rob Windsor is a Senior Consultant and the Director of Training with ObjectSharp Consulting - a Microsoft Gold Partner based in Toronto, Canada. Rob focuses on the architecture, design and development of custom business applications using leading edge Microsoft technologies. In addition Rob is a top rated instructor - authoring and teaching courses on .NET development, SharePoint and software architecture. As a member of the MSDN Canada Speakers Bureau, Rob has had a chance to present at conferences, code camps, and user group meetings in Toronto and across North America. He is President of the Toronto Visual Basic User Group (TVBUG) and has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for his involvement in the developer community.

1. What does being an MVP mean to you?

It's meant a lot. I've spent most of my career as an independent consultant which means I've been constantly on the lookout for the next gig. When you're in that situation, having a strong network is vital to success. When you become an MVP your network immediately increases to include the best and brightest in the industry allowing you to form relationships that expand your visibility and opportunities. I wouldn't say that the MVP program has gotten me to where I am today but it has definitely helped open doors and accelerate my advancement.

2. If you could ask Steve Ballmer one question about Microsoft, what would it be?

What is the company doing to promote Microsoft technologies in colleges and universities?

3. What do you think the best software ever written was?

I don't know if it's the best piece of software ever but Lutz Roeder's .NET Reflector is pretty darned amazing. The stuff from SysInternals is not far behind.

4. If you were the manager of Visual Studio, what would you change?

I'd try and make the IDE features of VB and C# more consistent. A lot of people use both regularly and having the same (or similar) experience with Intellisense, snippets, refactoring, and so on would make life easier.

5. What are the best features/improvements of Visual Studio?

I'm going to go with the feature that was announced hours before I wrote this - the release of source code for the .NET Framework Libraries. Being able to step into the framework source code while you're debugging your application will be a huge benefit.

6. What was the last book you read?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

7. What music CD do you recommend?

There's kind of a funny story around this question. A couple of years ago I was at a client and I had headphones on while I was working. The person who had the cube next to me, Adriana, looked over and asked what music I was listening to. I handed her the headphones and she heard Chris Sells explaining how COM objects are loaded into memory on an episode of .NET Rocks!. She looked at me, smirked, and said, “You're never going to have a girlfriend.”

Getting back to the question at hand, I'd probably go with Chronicles by Rush followed closely by anything from Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute.

8. What makes you a great MVP?

I don't know that I'm a great MVP. I think what makes me an effective MVP is that I enjoy doing the things that got me the award. I would still run a user group, speak at code camps and conferences, write articles, and help out the community whether I was an MVP or not.

9. What is in your computer bag?

Um, a computer. OK, seriously I have a portfolio with note paper, business cards, a Toronto map book, a fold-up rain poncho, a retractable Ethernet cable, a USB extension cable, a phone cable (for those desperate times I have to use dialup), a flash drive or two, a USB Ethernet adapter, two wireless mice, an iMate JAM Pocket PC Phone (which I use for media and as my backup phone), my main laptop (a Dell Inspiron 6400), and sometimes my tiny tablet (Acer C110).

10. What is the best thing that has happened since you have become an MVP?

Wow, there's a lot to choose from. I'd say getting a chance to meet such diverse and interesting people from all across the globe is pretty cool. Also, although it wasn't technically an MVP thing, having the run of Fenway Park at the TechEd 2006 attendee party was pretty amazing.

11. What is your motto?

I don't really have a motto.

12. Who is your hero?

My Grandmother, I've never met a stronger or more caring person.

13. What does success mean to you?

I haven't really thought about it. Reflecting back I guess I have achieved a certain level of success and notoriety but looking forward there seems like so much more to accomplish. Perhaps it's a factor of the constant evolution of our industry.

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