This month is my ten year anniversary at Microsoft. You might think that shows a remarkable lack of creativity in career terms and it did strike me that my contratulations and well done note from Bill and Steve (it was a printout) might have read “well done for staying alive and on the payroll for 10 years” as it was about as generic in the extreme. I received this wonderful glass thingamebob which my boss thought was for her until she read the note and had to give it over.
So my 10 year day passed quietly by and I thought it deserved at least a blog post. I better write some things down too as I am getting old and may not remember much of the last decade come my 20 year anniversary. If I think about all the things I really remember in Microsoft, what moments stand out for me? well here is a list off the top of my head.
- My interview where I was recruited by a head hunter in a smokey bar in fleet street. After a few pints my focus drifted a bit from the questions to just standing up. Later interviews featured my boss to be who after a hard night drinking the night before, had to get his girlfriend to drive him in for my interview. He didnt say a lot as I recall. Another was done while the interviewer ate a lovely big sausage and cheese bap making it hard to understand anything he said and as it turned out, interviewed me for the wrong job. All this lead to my getting rejected, going away, getting my MCSE and then trying again where finally they gave up arguing with me and gave me a job, back when Microsoft Consulting was 60 people.
- The meeting I carried out with an investment bank where I had to explain why a month after they had deployed Microsoft Office 97 sr1, they had to do it all again as there were a few extra bits we forgot and now there was an sr1a – if the pain of explaining this was not bad enough, the threatened pain I saw in the clenching fists in the room was worse. I remember this when I talk about how much better our file format change was handled this time.
- There was the Exchange 5.5 presentation I did 1:1 to a senior guy at Rolls-Royce. I had a very exciting presentation full of demos and was enthusiastically going through it when I looked up to find he had totally nodded off and was snoring. After a perplexing minute of sitting in silence I decided the best course of action was to yell “SO WHAT ABOUT THAT THEN?!?” at which point he woke up looking surprised to find he was in the office and not tucked up in bed with his book of jet engines. They are still on Exchange 4.0 AFAIK
- Many a happy Microsoft Technical Briefing in Seattle in January – thousands of geeks in the snow.
- Great gadgets from my laptop (right) which I still have (it runs windows millenium) to my USB coffee cup warmer (which blows up usb ports).
- I remember the way the stock used to climb a few dollars every day until the summer the stock crashed and I gave up worrying about it and sold the lot. What a lovely meal out that bought me, I even had pudding.
- There was the thrill of the release of Office XP with its value proposition around smart tags. Goodness am I glad I launched 2007.
- I got to go to the “Tahoe” Joint Development Programme – a new little idea for a product which eventually became SharePoint. I also saw a few other products disappear – anyone remember “grizzly”?
- I enjoyed going back to KPMG to migrate a Notes application that I had in fact written when I worked there 5 years previously.
- Most recently, launching Office 2007 was fantastic. When I think back to Windows NT 3.51 and Office 97 its remarkable how far we’ve come..