Exactly 10 years ago I joined Microsoft on Monday September 3rd, 2001, in the French office outside Paris. While I could write a lengthy post on what happened during the past decade at MSFT, I wanted instead to mention why I really enjoyed the past ten years and why I looking forward to a continued career at Microsoft. This is my humble opinion so please take it with a grain of salt.
First let’s start with a bit of background and what I have done this past decade at MSFT from a career perspective. I basically had two role in two groups during that time: first as a consultant in our Services organization (Microsoft Consulting Services France), secondly as a Product Manager in Microsoft Office Division. I started in 2001 as an Application Development consultant helping customers build e-commerce sites with the beta version of the v1 .Net Framework. It was a very exciting time with tons of learning of the MSFT key products at that time: SQL Server 2000; Windows 2000; .Net Framework v1; Visual Studio .Net; Windows XP, Office XP to name a few. Over time, at MCS, I decided to start shifting my expertise from app. Dev. to server products and looked at Commerce Server, BizTalk and Project Server. I will let you guess which one I started focusing more and more on, helping customers deploy and customize it to their needs. After 6 years as a consultant serving large international customer, I decided it was time to get closer to the product group and learn how we build and ship product and more importantly shift from a very technical role to one with a business dimension and that’s what landed me a Technical Product Manager in Redmond in September 2007. The past four years in marketing have been extremely valuable to date. So what keeps me going to work every day after ten years at Microsoft?
In summary I would say because of its people, products and customers. Let me explain:
People: people matters, whether back in the French subsidiary or now in Redmond, the people I work with and meet every day are just awesome. Yes, I’m serious, the level of talent whether it’s hard core technical expertise or business acumen (vision, strategy etc…) is just amazing. Did I mention diversity? Historically and still today the brightest, passionate, talented individuals come from all over the world to work here; so it’s amazing to see such diversity at work and that keeps it fun every day! I had a career prior to joining MSFT (yes it happens) and I genuinely believe my peers at MSFT are great to work with from an expertise level, diversity level, and intense passion.
Products: for a company that has been around as long as us, and the fact that we ship products that covers the full spectrums of users from consumers using Xbox, for instance, to large enterprises using Project Server to manage mission critical programs; it is simply amazing to see the number of people we help and reach worldwide. Yes, there are plenty of naysayers that criticize us for not innovating but seriously look at what we achieved and show me someone with our legacy to date (interesting post and video from this week alone)? Yes, we missed a few turns in trends, but I believe we have learned from our mistakes and have leapfrogged key competitors in certain areas. I could name drop lots of products but at this point in time two comes to mind: Windows Phone and Windows 8. I just love my “mango” phone, period! Do I need 100,000 app to be happy and productive? No, since it has all the key capabilities I need and more. To be honest, I only use few apps and I keep smiling every day and I’m not jealous of anyone showing off their collection! For Windows 8, I would only point to this blog you need to start subscribing to. OK, I’ll add two more after all J. Xbox/Xbox Live/Kinect – I am an occasional gamer (with a Halo crush, in particular) and have kids who play in the house and we all just love the experience and the latest innovation. Talking about experience, I did not know I have more than one finger until I got a brand new Microsoft Touch mouse this week; I’m now mastering mouse Jedi movements J…
Customers: yes again, it’s a true statement that we have amazing customers whether it’s my 4 year old son using Xbox Kinect, my wife using her Windows Phone; or large Fortune 500 customers using their “strong-positive” Project Portfolio Management software suite from Microsoft. I also have to mention the passionate end-user communities and advocates like our beloved Project MVPs for instance that are great to interact and work with. I also consider customers, partners, large and small, worldwide, selling services or products built on our stack. Again similar to my comment about People above, they are a lot of fun to work with and keep you on your toes every day, 365 days a year.
In summary I learn something, every day, in a fun environment, with great people, products and customers and that’s what keeps me motivated to go to work every day!
I’m looking forward to the next decade at Microsoft.
Christophe Fiessinger, 10 years after…