Community Interview with Me! (Beth Massi)

Here’s another community interview from our Italian Visual Basic MVP Alessandro Del Sole, this time with yours truly. 😉 I decided to release this one today since it’s my birthday.

Don’t forget to check out the Visual Basic Team page for pictures and bios and visit the home page of the Visual Basic Developer Center for a link to all these interviews as well. My picture up there is from a couple years ago when the Oakland A’s went to the playoffs… ahh.. memories….

Anyway, here’s my interview with Alessandro:

1. Nice to meet you Beth Massi! Let’s begin by asking a simple question: where are you from?

I was born in San Pedro, California but I moved to northern California in 1991. I had a very brief period where I lived in Seattle for 8 months in 2002 but I’ve lived here in the San Francisco Bay Area ever since.

2. We all know that you’re a Visual Basic Team member, but could we know something more about your role inside the Team?

I’m a Visual Studio Community Program Manager and I work with the Visual Basic team on engaging with their communities and producing and managing content like blogs, videos, articles, webcasts and of course lots of presentations! I also manage the content on the Visual Basic Developer center  on MSDN, which gets a ton of traffic. I also now work with the Visual Studio Office Client Team (VSTO) managing their online content and community on the VSTO Developer Center and participate in many third party community sites. I get to work across a lot of different projects internally as well — they keep you busy here ;-). 

3. What’s your favorite Visual Basic feature regarding the language and/or the IDE?

There are so many but I think LINQ and XML Literals are my favorite recent features. XML Literals can be used in so many interesting ways and coupled with LINQ you can be extremely productive as well as very clear about the intent of your code. Less code means less bugs, I love it!

4. How long have you been working for Microsoft and what was your occupation before joining the VB Team?

I joined Microsoft in March 2007. Before that I worked for a variety of software companies and software consulting firms. I began my professional career after I graduated college in 1994 but I wrote my first program with BASIC on an ATARII 400 in 1981. I have always focused on business applications and information systems and building application frameworks for that type of software. I started making money writing code in Clipper and then FoxPro (can anybody guess how old I am now!?). I was active in the FoxPro community until .NET came around and I learned Visual Basic.NET and fell in love with the platform and the language.

5. Why do you think VB is such a great language?

Because it’s case insensitive and is very easy to read, and with the background compiler and IntelliSense VB is your main guide into the vast .NET Framework. It didn’t take me very long to learn the language syntax because it just made sense and it helped me quickly spot trouble with its instant feedback (background compiler) as I typed. I think this is why it is a great teaching language as well. I learned BASIC when I was only 8 and even though the language has drastically changed since then, its principles are the same – there’s a low barrier to learning it and becoming productive.

6. Have you ever been to Italy?

Yes! I have been there twice and all over Italy. My nona and nono were from the island of Ischia and so I love it there. I think my favorite city is Roma because I love the city lifestyle as well as the ancient Roman history.

7. Would you like to tell us something about your life outside the office (how do you like to spend your free time, what do you like to do when/if you go out in the evening or when you’re at home and so on)?

I love cars (I’m selling one by the way), mountain biking, hiking, dancing and wine drinking. Most of all I love laying in the warm California sun listening to an Oakland Athletics baseball game on the radio.

8. Who is your favorite musician?

I love a variety of electronic music and classic rock, so it’s hard to say. One of my favorite DJs in San Francisco is Miguel Migs.

9. What’s your favorite food?

Hands down, my mother’s manicotti.

Thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions and letting us know something more about you!