Proudly Serving our corporate masters…

Adam Barr, a friend and former co-worker of mine (and currently an employee over in another part of Longhorn) is the author of a wonderful book on the development process at Microsoft called “Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters”.  The story on page 327 happened to me.

Well, Adam’s got a new book coming out, called “Find the Bug”.  His publisher’s also running a “find the bug, win an iPod” contest, everyone’s welcome to participate.  Oh, and he’s blogging too, at

Oh, and to save you from looking it up, here’s Adam’s version of my story (reprinted with permission):

One person I know planned a six-week vacation a year in advance, in careful consultation with his manager.  As you might expect, the six weeks wound up coming right in the middle of a ship crunch.  He ended up leaving his family for part of the vacation and coming back to work.  Since he was technically on vacation, he was paid as a consultant.  And since he had rented out his house for the six weeks, Microsoft put him up in a hotel.

The bit about being paid as a consultant didn’t happen, but the rest of the story (including being put up in a hotel) is true.  Basically Valorie and I had planned this long trip to show Daniel (who was 6 months old at the time) to all the grandparents.  We were also going to Valorie’s fifth high school reunion, and to attend Worldcon in Orlando.  While we were at Mercersburg attending the reunion, we had a catastrophe happen with the NT browser – the NT browser needed to be compatible with the Windows for Workgroups browser protocol, and the Windows for Workgroups guys had changed their protocol just before they shipped.  Since I was the owner of the NT browser, and the changes were significant, I had to come back to Redmond to make them (we were weeks away from the first beta release of NT, IIRC), it couldn’t wait until I was done with my vacation (since we would have shipped by then).

So I left Valorie and Daniel in Washington DC with her mother, came back to Redmond, worked 18-20 hour days for a week to get the changes integrated, and flew back to meet with the family in New York City.  It was not the best time in my career.  But it had to be done, unfortunately there wasn’t anyone else on the NT team who could have made those modifications (my backup was an amazing developer but he’d never worked on the browser).

One day I’ll tell the story of the NT browser and the browser checker. But not today.

Edit: Cleaned up CITE usage. 

Comments (4)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Something similar to that happened to my Dad when I was young (about 6 or 7?) – the price he extracted from his corporate masters was to get us flown to our destination in one of the companies biz-jets – it replaced a car journey of 10-12 hours (bad roads) by a 1-2 hour flight – sweet!!!

    Probably the only time I’ll fly in luxury like that….

  2. Anonymous says:

    "browser checker"

    I don’t even know what the "browser checker" is.

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