Ward Moves On
During my time at Microsoft, I have had the chance to meet some really amazing people. This was especially true during my time at the patterns & practices group where there was a tremendous ability to bring in some really special people. Among them was definitely Ward Cunningham. Ward's list of accomplishments is amazing, but you wouldn't know it by meeting with him. Ward is a easy-going guy and he has a special gift of teaching you something every time he talks to you. I spent time with Ward a few weeks ago at CodeSlam and I was reminded of how much fun it is to bounce ideas off of him and exchange ideas. It's easy to see where wikis and extreme programming came from when you see the gears turning in Ward's head. He's a technologist, but his greatest contributions are really social in their nature. He found ways of breaking down the ills of computing by promoting individuals over processes and seeing waht was possible when you ignored conventional wisdom. I was telling Ward recently that any time he uttered the phrase "Well, what if we tried to...", my ears perked up because I knew I was about to hear a nifty idea. Ward was fond of using the phrase "what's the simplest thing that could possibly work?", a mantra that I use constantly with people (co-workers and friends alike) to remind them that we don't need to make our lives any more complicated than they need to be.
This week, it was announced that Ward was leaving Microsoft to go work for the Eclipse Foundation. As a Microsoft employee, I am saddened by the loss of such a great guy. But as someone who feels priveleged enough to call Ward a friend, I am excited because I think he is capable of so much and his contributions have always been great for the industry as a whole.
Thanks for everything and good luck Ward. I look forward to your next great breakthrough.