On Saturday 6/17 I boarded a flight from Seattle to Austin and I didn't have a return ticket. You see, for family reasons I moved to Austin and joined the Microsoft Technology Center. The goal of the MTC is to help customers map their business problems to solutions based on Microsoft products and services. MTC Architects work with customers in three primary ways: Strategy Briefings (1day), Architecture Design Sessions(2days), and Proof-of-Concept Workshop(2-3weeks). You can read more about these activities at the above link, but basically they are about giving the customer the big picture of Microsoft technologies that can help with their business problems, drilling deeper into customer needs and architecting a solution to meet those needs, and building a proof of concept of that solution with the customer's own developers.
Needless to say, this role is quite different from my previous role on the WCF product team and I'm excited about that change and looking forward to spending a lot more time with customers and getting first hand experience with the customer-facing side of Microsoft. It's only been a week but I'm already having a ton of fun. For my first two weeks I'm shadowing Christian Thilmany in a POC based on Windows Sharepoing Services and Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server. Both technologies and in beta and I have no prior hands-on experience with them so I'm learning and having fun doing it. In addition to the exciting work, people on the MTC team have been warmly welcoming me and offering assistance whenever I need it.
Besides the exciting new role and the great team, Austin has some bonus features. There are some really great schools here (we're looking to live in NW Austin around Canyon Vista Middle and Westwood High Schools), UT Austin is a high ranking university, and the Austin live music scene provides some unique entertainment opportunities. Yesterday I discovered another bonus feature: Twisty roads. Moving here from Seattle's East Side (foot hills of the Cascades), I was worried I won't find good places to ride my bike. So yesterday I went out exploring and I found several well paved, twisty roads that were nearly empty at 5PM on a Saturday. In fact I got tired and turned back before the road showed any signs of ending. Turns out because Austin is in the Texas Hill Country, there are plenty of hills, canyons, and lakes and and abundance of twisty roads. Couple that with the drier and warmer weather, and you're pretty close to sport bike rider's heaven! I'm already loving it here.