12 Years…Feels Like Dog Years

Well, today marks 12 years at Microsoft for me. I try not to blog about my personal stuff, but I was feeling a bit reflective so I thought I would take a moment to post about it. (This is completely self-serving, my apologies.)

I started at the end of 1995, just a few months after Windows 95 was launched which was a big moment in the industry. Compared to the Windows for Workgroups networks I had been installing for small law firms in Boston (John - thanks for the patience and teaching) - it was a big step forward. I was also working with Windows NT 3.x which was a lesson in patience. I was a systems engineer in the field for MS and started wrestling with issues of interop and industry competition for orgs working with Netware servers and Windows clients. At one point I had technical chops - but those seem to have dissolved in the ensuing years.  

It was in March of 1996 though that I started a project that would take me through the next three plus years. I got my hair twisted in a knot about Y2K and started working on it in my spare time. I was originally focused on using a bunch of our early mainframe interop technologies (a cookie to the person who can tell me what "Thor" was from Microsoft) to move 2nd-tier apps away from the big iron onto Windows Servers. That morphed over time into just trying to work on the issues that our customers were having. I ended up being the first full-time MS employee on Y2K and had an incredible opportunity to be mentored by Bob Herbold, one of the best execs I have every had the honor to work with.

After the world did not blow up (never thought it would), I did a stint working on security issues which was not a subject I enjoyed a whole lot. That is a world that you have to be wired right for...I was not. (IQ-challenged I think).

Then, a meeting came up where a group of us were asked to wrestle with what Microsoft's position on open source software. I jumped at the chance to take it on, and ended up working with a great virtual team to kick-off the Shared Source Initiative. I spent five great years working on open source, and being the front-man for MS with the OSS community. At times I felt like the Far Side (Gary Larson) cartoon where there are two deer standing next to each other and one has a huge target on its chest. The other one is saying, "Hell of a birth mark, Bob." But, the people I met were amazing, smart, creative, dedicated. Without a doubt, Shared Source/OSS gave me more perspective and understanding of software as a business than anything else in my career.

Since late 2005 I have been working on Interop and Standards.

The last thing to note is the past few years of blogging. What a treat that has been! I have enjoyed the conversation with the community more via the blog than any other means I've come across. Thank you Rob Scoble for encouraging me to blog. 

Microsoft has been really good to me, and I've had the privilege to work with great people day after day both inside and outside of the company. Hard to argue with doing work that touches people globally and feel like you're having a real impact in a place that has grown from 17K to 80K people in just 12 years.

So, in that time I've grown up, got married, had 2 kids, bought a house...yikes! Must be time to quit and set up a bar on the beach in Bali.

Comments (13)
  1. Henk de Koning says:

    Wasn’t Thor the code name for SNA Server ?

  2. omz says:

    why don’t you get a decent job?    πŸ˜‰



  3. Chris Clark says:

    Putting aside the MSFT/ODF clashes just for the moment it’s interesting to read about people’s backgrounds Jason.  Well stated.


  4. Matt Asay says:

    You’re a huge credit to Microsoft, Jason.  I wish you were still involved in the open-source world, but I understand that you’re also valuable (unfortunately πŸ™‚ to Microsoft on interop.  Thanks for being a friend and a constant challenge to complacency in the open-source world.

  5. orcmid says:

    Congratulations.  And you did all this while living in Portland?

  6. jasonmatusow says:

    Thanks guys,

    Yes, all living in Portland vs. making the oft-requested move to Redmond. If my memory serves, Thor was the connector technology for data integration with early SQL Server to mainframe data using the SNA Server. I could be wrong in that though.


  7. Bob Marsh says:

    β€œThor” delivered the Microsoft OLE DB Provider for AS/400 and VSAM, which was made available exclusively as a feature of Microsoft SNA Server 4.0, released on or about December 5, 1997. Microsoft SNA Server 4.0 shipped standalone, as well as with BackOffice 4.0 and Visual Studio v6.

    –From an old SNA Server guy

    PS Happy 12th and many more.

  8. I wouldn’t say security needs a superlatively high IQ so much as an ability to look around corners without appearing to do so.  It’s not paranoia as such, when nobody makes/can make an insignificant movement, when every word means something hostile … that’s a medical condition requiring medical assistance.  It’s more an enhanced empathy for the dark side, an inability to think wishfully about security, and a steadfast refusal to join up with said dark side.  It’s related to the ability to play chess to an extremely high standard, much higher than your average Sunday arvo’s friendly game; it’s not part of the poker player’s repertoire, since poker’s much more of an open game consisting of bluffing rather than reading a situation three or more moves ahead of yourself in many possible time-lines/light-cones.

  9. len says:

    “songs to aging children come…” Joni Mitchell

    Coding is a kid’s game requiring a kid’s brain.  That is why the web feels like a cross between a city council meeting and vincent price’s ‘red masque of death’ and acts like the high school bully who now works for you.  

    Things that happen as I age:  I regret not spending more time with my kids while they still had their baby faces, and I like music that is quieter and more harmonic.     Dad said this would happen.  That is the third thing as pointed out by Mark Twain.  Fathers become wiser.   Buds become more distant.    There is an obvious inverse relationship between wisdom and Buds.

    See closing scene of The Coneheads.

  10. John West says:

    Congratulations on 12 Years!!!!

    The fact that you can still muster up the will to crawl out of bad after all this time is a testament to your fortitude and commitment, and perhaps pleasure for abuse. I know i could never handle it πŸ˜› .

    All kididng aside, thanks for getting me involved with this company, and congratulations on your 12 years!!!

  11. Jim Gross says:

    12 years!!

    You’ve come a long way baby.


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