My teammate, John Mullinax, poses a question that I get regularly at conferences: am I related to Don Box? It’s a fair question since the delta of our names is the first letter. When asked, I always say that we are cousins, although the official answer is NO. At any rate, it’s been good marketing for me.
Another recurring theme here is my name rhyming with my co-author in most of my writing, Dan Fox. For example, “Box And Fox on .NET Rocks”. Kent Sharkey has additional ideas on this, but that’s another post.
Other related thoughts on Don:
My first experience in attending a professional class was at DevelopMentor where Don was teaching DCOM. This was before ATL, so there were lot’s of manual steps to build a DCOM host in C++. I had a headache all week since DCOM was mind-blowing and this was my first true exposure to the Win32 API. This was a big week that had large impact on my professional career. It affected not only the work that I did afterwards (controlling videoconferencing hardware across a LAN via DCOM), it also led me down a career path that ultimately led me to Microsoft. Side note: my employer later allowed us to bring Chris Sells onsite to help us build (with the first release of ATL) our first COM prototype (controlling a VCR remotely across a LAN). That particular employment was a real learning experience and from that group today, there are 2 Microsoft employees (Jerry Dixon and myself) and Adrian Anttila (at Vertigo).
After being added to the INETA Speaker’s Bureau, Keith Pleas noted the name confusion.
From .NET Developers Journal interview of Don Box, back in the AUG 2004 issue, Derek Ferguson asks:
Have you ever been mistaken for Jon Box (NETDJ’s Mobility Editor)?
Don: The first time that ever happened was at Tech Ed this year. I went to register and they wanted to give me Jon Box’s badge. I’m sure David Chappell was really pissed off when that guy from the J2EE world started using his name – at least Jon Box is on my side of the fence!
Don and I stood together for an interview in .NET Rocks! The Movie, where Carl says this is movie history (TechEd 2004).
When working for Quilogy and sitting in one of the Microsoft waiting areas on campus, Don comes out unannounced and says “There’s Jon Box, my long lost cousin”. While not a big deal to some folks, when one of the more impactful names in Microsoft history claims that he knows you – that’s a nice thing. Plus, it was in front of my manager.
I emailed Don when joining Microsoft and his response was “I’m glad the Box clan is expanding at Microsoft”. Priceless!