MVP Insider – Q & A with Mario Cardinal

Mario Cardinal is an independent senior consultant specializing in software architecture. He has 20 years of experience in designing large-scale information systems. He speaks regularly at international conferences, including Microsoft Tech·Ed, Agile2008, DevTeach, and others. He leads the architecture user group for Communauté .NET Montréal and is the architecture track tech chair for DevTeach. Since 2004, he has hosted the Visual Studio Talk Show, a podcast about software development. Mario holds Bachelor of Computer Engineering and Master of Technology Management degrees from the École Polytechnique in Montréal, Canada. He also holds the titles of Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) for Team Foundation Server (TFS), and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD).

1. What does being an Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) mean to you?

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status is awarded to credible technology experts who are among the very best community members willing to share their experience to helping others realize their potential. Being an Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) has opened many doors for me as a software architect and (sometimes rather pushy) Microsoft customer and the relationships I've been able to develop have added a great richness to my life.

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

The core purpose of Microsoft is “ubiquity”. In the 90s, this translates concretely as the audacious goal of “a PC on every desk and in every home”. For this decade, its “software, anytime, anyplace, anywhere” – all steps in reaching “ubiquity”. Personally, the motto “software, anytime, anyplace, anywhere” does not sound very actionable as a goal. Don’t you think that it is time for Microsoft to promote a new audacious goal to align everyone working for Microsoft with an actionable vision?

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

Microsoft Excel. It’s everywhere. Everybody uses it and we do not hear many bad comments about it. It is the core component of Microsoft Office and the main reason why this productivity suite has gained so much popularity.

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

Make build script mandatory. Include a local build server and map F5 to compile project from Build Server.

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

Visual Studio Team System (VSTS)

6. What was the last book you read?

Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity by Carliss Y. Baldwin and Kim B. Clark

Using the computer industry as an example, the authors develop a powerful theory of design and industrial evolution. You must read this book if you want to learn about the concept of modularity, building complex products from small subsystems that can be designed independently yet function together as a whole.

7. What music CD do you recommend?

Every album from “The Arcade Fire”

8. What makes you a great Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)?

I believe in the community. A strong and healthy community benefits all of us. The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award is primarily important to me because it enables me to be more effective in the community.

9. What is in your computer bag?

My Dell XPS M1330 laptop, running Vista ; a 2.5” 80GB HD; Logitech 2.4 GHz Cordless Presenter; Kensington noise cancelling headphone.

10. What is the best thing that has happened since you have become an Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)?

I had the chance to meet other MVPs and get involved as a member of the Microsoft Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) Advisory Council.

11. What is your motto?

The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

12. Who is your hero?

I don’t have one hero. I think almost everybody is heroes every day in little ways.

13. What does success mean to you?

Success means to help this world be a better place to live. Success is the little things.

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