Changing Jobs

I became a Microsoft employee in May of 2000, and I've been a consultant in our Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) organization for the past 4½ years. Although I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in the field, I've always wondered what it would be like to work at our main campus in Redmond, Washington. Well, on Wednesday, I accepted an offer for a Technical Evangelist position that will focus on Avalon-related developer tools and components. If you're unfamiliar with Avalon, it might help to read a brief introduction from our November 2004 Community Technology Preview.

Before I came to Microsoft, I always thought that I'd like Robert Hess' job. I love learning about new technology and sharing it with others, and I'm told that I have excellent communication and presentation skills. Mix in some passion, curiosity, creativity, business skills, and a 25+ year history in the industry, and I hope you end up with a very strong Technical Evangelist. If you continue to follow my blog, I suppose we'll both find out!

If you read my post titled Failing at Vacation, you know that I flew out to Redmond last Tuesday and Wednesday. It was a whirlwind visit, and I barely had a moment to breathe. But, it was invigorating. After checking in at the hotel, I turned around and grabbed a taxi to building 18 for a 4:00pm interview with Karsten Januszewski. I interviewed with Steve Cellini (the guy responsible for the PDC) at 5:00pm, and my new manager, Jeff Sandquist (one of the guys who started Channel 9) at 6:00pm. They asked a lot of great questions, and I enjoyed meeting each of them. Unfortunately, my brain was running on an early morning Cinnabon, some Skittles I bought at the airport, and a package of United Airlines snack mix that I devoured on the plane. Fortunately, I was able to grab dinner that night, although I didn't finish until 10:00pm Redmond time (1:00am my time!).

On Wednesday morning—after a proper breakfast—I interviewed with Carter Maslan and Jeremy Mazner. Of all of the interviews, Jeremy's was the most challenging. He had me write some ad hoc code on the whiteboard (sans IntelliSense) and asked me to whiteboard a couple of PowerPoint slides that I then had to present to him. Whiteboarding code is always interesting. Although the code I wrote achieved the desired functionality, it was definitely a first pass. As luck would have it, a much more obvious and performant solution popped into my head the moment I walked out of his office. I had a short follow-up with Jeff, hopped in a taxi, and flew back home.

Thursday evening, I had a phone interview with Vic Gundotra, the General Manager of Platform Evangelism. I've seen Vic present at many of our internal events, and his excitement is infectious. Talking with him on the phone is no different. If you ever wanted to get pumped up about technical evangelism, Vic is your man. I look forward to getting a chance to meet him in person.

Overall, the interview process went very smoothly, and I'm excited to try something new. The decision to move away from our family and friends was a very difficult one for my wife and me, but I know that over time, we'll be happy with our choice. We both love the Seattle area, and we're looking forward to an adventure. I start the new job in early January, and we'll be relocating sometime later that month. Wish us luck!

Comments (21)
  1. Bruce Abernethy says:

    Congrats!!! And Good Luck.

    Well a big loss for West Michigan is a big gain for Redmond.

    You’ve always been a Tech Evangelist at heart – now it is official. If anyone could convince developers to shed their "pixel-based, two-dimensional UI" history and embrace the future it is you. I’ve already built an "Avalon Reference PC" at home for testing just waiting for the possibilities. Maybe you could get the title of "Avalon Jedi"? probably not, kind fits though.

    And, hey, I know it might be a huge pain to lug a bunch of audio-visual equipment all the way across the country – I’d be glad to haul it away for no cost to you at all!!! 🙂

    Have a Starbucks on me!!!


  2. Hellsbellboy says:

    Congratulations on the new job. Best of luck to you and your wife.

  3. Eric Maino says:

    Congatulations as everyone else has said and as I have also communicated in my recent emails. I wish you luck and will look forward to catching up when I am in town.

    Have fun and don’t worry too much about, I will try to hold down the fort for now.

    Once again, congrats and good luck.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Welcome Aboard Mike Swanson

  5. Thomas Lewis says:

    Welcome aboard! I am the ASP.NET evangelist on the team, come by and say hello and let me know if I can be of any help!

  6. Ray Klaassen says:

    Congratulations Mike – but I’ll miss having you here in West Michigan.

  7. Congratulations on your new position Michael it sounds like you’re really pumped about it and you’ll be working with a great team. Looking forward to lots of updates in the future.

  8. Rose Idziak says:

    Congrats on your new position! You will be truly missed here in West Michigan. Learn the right way to go on vacation and take your wife somewhere special before you start your new position!!

    Have fun!


  9. Congrats, Mike! I think you’ll do a great job in the role. I look forward to reading about your efforts in the future.

  10. Mike O'Neill says:


    Sounds like you’ll fit right in with your new co-workers.

    We’ll miss your enthusiasm, technical expertise and loyal support of our user group. (You already are an evangelist in my mind!)

    I know you’ll like Redmond and Seattle area. I spent several long weekends there last summer to visit my sons (one of whom works at Microsoft, too!) and new grand-daughter, and loved the Seattle summer and scenery.

    Keep in touch. I’d love to see you when I get back there next summer!

    Mike O’Neill

  11. David Weller says:

    Welcome aboard, Mike. Hopefully you won’t mind the first week that’s full of all sorts of hazing initiations. Jeff DID tell you about the hazing, right? 🙂

  12. Rob Cecil says:

    Well, I hope this now means you will finally get to write a book. And I KNOW that it will be an awesome book. Mike you are tremendous communicator, presenter, and entertainer! Just pick a topic and go!

    Congratulations on your new assignment, I will miss our interactions, and your involvement on the NxOpinion project. Your impact on this project will be felt for many years. I hope the next time you or a family member has to go to the E.R., you will see the "Powered by NxOpinion" sticker around in the room, on the Doc’s handheld, telemetry, etc.

    Thanks and best wishes!

    p.s. Oh yes, I hear you! I will go and get HL2 – I promise!

  13. David…funny…Jeff didn’t mention anything about hazing! 🙂

    Rob…thanks for the kind words. A book? I wonder if I’d ever have the time. I’ll miss our daily interaction too…I learned a lot from you. Take care.

  14. Matt Propst says:

    Mike, congrats on the job! Good luck with it! We’ll miss ya here in Michigan.

  15. Laura Sample says:

    Don’t Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. S. Sample says:

    Mike, All theluck in the world on your new job. I KNOW you will do VERY well. You have my complete support. Keep in touch with Western Michigan, and St. Joe in particular. I am depending on that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Nitin Gupta says:

    Congratulations and best of luck for the new assignment, Mike. I am sure you will do great there.

    Working with you on NxOpinion project has been a lot of fun……….

    Best wishes once again!


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