Three Years and Counting...

Today is my three-year anniversary at Microsoft. It’s hard to believe. I love telling the story about how I had no intention of coming here—I had a cool job lined up in management consulting and was ready to live the life of airplanes and powerpoint. An 11th hour recruiting effort from Microsoft led to a trip to Redmond led to me getting blown away and spotting my true calling. I’ve really enjoyed myself and I am amazed and how much I’ve learned. I have been blessed with great colleagues, mentors, partners, and customers who have taught me more than I could have ever learned on my own. I may not be smarter, but I sure am wiser. Anyway, it’s a great time to reflect on the years gone by (not that three years is that much—there’s someone in our group with 17 years of experience!). As I look back, these are the things that have stood out in the memory in my experience:

  • Biggest Surprise: I like Seattle! The first year was tough, but this is s a great city. Still, I wish at least one or two other major cities were a little closer. Growing up in NJ, I had NYC, Philly, Baltimore (Go O’s!), DC, and Boston all within a respectable driving distance. Here, we’ve got Portland and Vancouver. No offense to those great cities, but could you throw in a New York or two? :->
  • Biggest Difference from Intel (a previous employer): They care about the customer here more than you can imagine. Intel cared about Megahertz. Microsoft cares about end-users. That’s not to fault Intel—Megahertz are what their customers want. But Microsoft is on the front-line as the user interface for the computing experience and, as a result, has no level of abstraction to hide its flaws. Of course, we’ll never be perfect and always be blamed for it.
  • Biggest Difference from Lockheed-Martin (also a previous employer):   The employees care. No one is really disgruntled with the job—people are usually upset only when something gets in the way of doing their job. When they’re at work, you get the feeling they wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. And yet, most seem to have great family lives. As for Lockheed, I don’t feel like I met anyone who really truly cared and that was depressing enough to make me leave there.
  • Best Quote From An Executive: “ Linux is free like a puppy. It looks free but when you get all the pieces around it, it doesn't work out so free. There's a lot more than I/O and memory management to make up an operating system. " – Paul Flessner.
  • Best Advice:It’s better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission. ” I heard this in my first week of work from a 13-year veteran who knew a thing or two about how to get things done at Microsoft. I wrote it down on a sticky note that I keep within site at all times.

I don’t how much longer I’ll stay at Microsoft, but you can bet as long as I am here, I’ll keep learning. There are times when I think about leaving for bigger bucks or easier corporate ladders to climb, but I think I’d miss the technology too much. Plus, I’m still hopeful about accomplishing something truly special here at Microsoft. I'll always be looking for ways to profoundly change the world. I feel like I’ve already been a part of something great with patterns & practices, but who knows what lurks beyond the next corner or when it’ll turn up. Maybe it’ll be this year. Whenever it does, you can be sure I’ll be on it, so stay tuned. You ain’t seen nothing yet…


{REM - Perfect Square DVD}