Greetings from 35,000 feet en route to sort-of-snowy Toronto — up early this morning to get back in the saddle after a fantastic break for Thanksgiving in the US. My daughter was home for the first time after leaving for her freshman year at Pomona, and while we all had a bit of the here-comes-winter crud, it was great to have the whole family together again. I did spend some time on work (creating a bridge between HealthVault and Dynamics CRM that I’m pretty excited about), but mostly checked out.
It being the season, I also reflected a bit on how lucky I am in my life — in a million ways, but for this post I was thinking about the incredible team that is pushing HealthVault forward as we try to create positive change for real people across the world.
About forty people work in support of HealthVault. That’s not nearly enough to do all the things we want to do — but it’s just enough to do most of what we need to. And while we have people join and leave like any venture does, we’ve got a core that is incredibly committed, making a ton of personal sacrifices and constantly reaching outside their comfort zones to pull it all together.
I could and should write something about every single person in the group. For today I wanted to introduce you to the HealthVault Leadership Team — the four folks that report to me directly, guide our strategy and execution, and suffer most when I say yes to another new great idea.
SCOTT is the HealthVault engineering manager, leading our all-up development effort. He started with the Health Solutions team before I did (and that’s saying something), and after working with us as a program manager, individual developer and development lead he took on the engineering manager role about a year ago now. Scott loves building great software, and works harder than anyone I know to create an environment where great engineers want to be.
Scott also believes I don’t put enough of our resources into marketing — and there is a good argument for that position. His response? Step up and organize folks to revamp our social media presence. And as one of the original developers of Connection Center, you’ll still find him fixing bugs and working directly with partners there. Scott, thank you for pouring so much of yourself into our success.
MELISSA runs the business team. She’s also been with us since before we launched in 2007, and has had her hands in just about every big and small HealthVault deal that’s been done.
Earlier this year when we spun out our enterprise products, this function was the biggest question mark because we’d had such a blended business team. While lots of people were coming to my office trying to figure out what they wanted to do, Mel just said “I’m in, tell me what you need” — she came to Microsoft to make HealthVault win, period. Since then she’s taken on WAY more than she ever has before: jumping into management, embracing a complete change in business approach, welcoming international, lobbying for and hiring a new account management function, creating a sustainable marketing program, and collaborating with finance and engineering to create a scalable contract and billing process. Whew. To my late-night IM buddy — thank you.
STEVE makes everything work. He’s an understated guy who plays down how hard it is to do what he does — keep a global service (the sun never sets!) running at high availability and performance with an efficiency that is staggering to anybody who knows even a little about the business. I know that theoretically my cell is still the end of the line for production escalations, but I can’t remember the last time I got a call.
It goes without saying that privacy, security and quality obligations are our lifeblood — if we were to mess those up we might as well just go home. Steve bears a ton of this burden and recently reached out to take on even more — driving our compliance and meaningful use functions with a fantastic ready-to-learn attitude that is pretty darn hard to keep up with. Thank you, Steve!
And then there’s UMESH … who not only pushes the envelope with innovation after innovation (the fun part), he rolls up his sleeves and FINISHES them so they can benefit real folks. He was the driving force behind the entire Direct Project .NET reference implementation, and most recently shipped our fantastic iPhone application single-handedly. Objective C? Microsoft threat models on the Mac? Navigating app store submission? Sure, how hard can it be? Pretty much he lives outside of “normal” to make sure we aren’t missing key opportunities.
I can’t say enough good things about the guy I’ve known since freshman year at Dartmouth … I’m lucky to know him, and we should all be thankful that he’s working to make people healthier.
Bottom line, HealthVault is awesome not just because it’s the right thing for the world, but because a ton of great folks are working their fannies off turning that great idea into reality. I’m truly indebted to all of them — these four and the rest of the team too. THANK YOU FOLKS!