Five Years at Microsoft

It’s hard to believe, but five years ago yesterday, I started my career with Microsoft as a consultant in the Great Lakes District. My first job was to help a large Midwest retailer move their rich-client functionality to a web-based intranet for all of their stores. I worked a lot on an automated printing solution, and from what I hear, it's still being used today. After some cool .NET early-adopter work (that provided my first exposure to Evangelism at Microsoft), my next large project was leading a development team to build a web-based e-commerce solution to serve over 14 million registered users. This project involved some cross-platform web services work where we implemented real-time replication of database information between .NET/SQL Server and Java/Oracle. After that, I spent almost two full years helping the Robertson Research Institute architect and build NxOpinion, a cutting-edge medical diagnostic package that will be available for free to rural and developing countries to help prevent death from misdiagnosis. I learned a lot about Bayesian Inference by working with David Heckerman (of Microsoft Research) during development. NxOpinion was extremely rewarding, and I’m very proud that Microsoft was so intimately involved.

Now, I find myself in Redmond living in building 18 with an amazing group of technical evangelists. The enthusiasm and creativity of my new group is infectious, and I’m privileged to work with such a passionate bunch of people. The past five years have been extremely rewarding, but there are definitely some great things ahead for our company, and five years is really just enough time to get warmed up.

As is tradition at Microsoft, I brought in five pounds of M&Ms today (one pound for each year). If you think that's a lot of M&Ms, Robert Hess (of The .NET Show fame) recently celebrated 17 years. That was a lot of M&Ms! In Michigan, I'm convinced that all five pounds would have been gone by the end of the day. However, in the health-conscious Seattle area, I expect that it'll take over a week to eat all of them.

Comments (10)
  1. Embedded says:



  2. Mike Dunn says:

    Totally OT but I just bought myself the same Sony LCD monitor that you have, based on your review and some others I found. It’s beautiful, man. 🙂

  3. kobush says:

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing with us your experiences working with Microsoft. I wish you all the best in years to come.

    – szymon

  4. byte me says:

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  5. Bill Nitz says:

    Congrats, Mike.

    When you’re someday sitting in your lofty VP position, don’t forget the little people that you played Killer Quake Patch and CTF with.

    Not that I’m short.

  6. Jeff Parker says:

    I will come help you eat them Mike.

  7. eric says:


    If you need help eating the M&M’s let me know I could always take a tour of Building 18.

  8. Matt Propst says:

    At first thought i would have said candy cigarettes? but if M&M’s are the Microsoft thing, then i guess i’m all for it. Congrats Mike!


  9. mswanson says:

    Thanks for the kind wishes, everyone! I’m not sure why I wasn’t notified via e-mail that there was feedback to this post, but I’m here now. Better late than never, I suppose. 🙂

    Mike Dunn: It’s an awesome monitor, isn’t it? I’m glad you like yours too. It’ll definitely spoil you.

    Ah, Bill…the good old Killer Quake Patch…remember the guided missile? That was awesome!

    Jeff and Eric…I’m sorry to report that the M&Ms disappeared today. My prediction of one week was overly optimistic. Watch for heavier people in building 18. 🙂

    Matt: Candy cigarettes! I’m going through withdrawal now that you’ve reminded me about them!

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