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!