Time flies when you have fun, they say. Its been 6 months into my life @ Microsoft. Figured I’d summarize a bit.
The first indication I’ve been busy is the fact its actually also been more than 6 months since I posted anything here. That is just crazy. I know I kinda have slowed down the last couple of years, but never to this level of NADA, ZIP, ZERO.. And trust me, its been very busy.
Onboarding @ Microsoft has been a lot of fun – so much to learn, and I love learning! My role; Technical Evangelist – really does not explain what I do – at all. Basically I’m more of an advisor. My job is to help ISVs in Norway get the best experience in Azure. The thing is; there are an estimated 600+ ISVs in Norway. Some of these aren’t ones we would talk to, based on “natural selection” (basically, those not doing anything or have any plans of doing anything in any cloud). But even after this, there are enough left to talk to at least one ISV every day. I work in a team with 3 others representing more of the business aspect of working with the ISVs, with different focus areas ranging from startups to more established ISVs. Needless to say, these guys run in a lot of meetings, talking and trying to figure out what ISVs are interested and need to dig deeper. This is were I enter; try to understand their business and what technical needs they have – but also what needs they might have based on where they see their business go. On occassion I dive deep and get involved in creating proof of concepts that requires me to deliver code – not something that will be put in production though.
One of the true joys of the prototype part is that I can do things in the open @ GitHub when I identify common things that would benefit more than one partner. Having done open-source development for a few years, I’m careful though. Anything put out there needs more attention if its a reusable component.
Then there is this fact that my role is called Technical Evangelist; there is a part of the job that actually involves doing presentations and write blogposts. And I love both.
I’ve worked a few places in my career. But hands down, Microsoft is different in all aspects – in a good IMO. Fair enough, I don’t have the type of role I’m used to having – but that aside, there is something to be said for the working environment, focus, structure and pace.
So.. What are these team chats you talk about. After getting used to everything being available on Flowdock or Slack for a couple of years, email feels like a true step down. This is a massive difference. The amount of emails I receive is ridiculous – but its needed. And I am coming to the realization that none of the tools I’ve been using could fix this in any way. So even with its shortcomings, email is king and I’m learning to live with it again. Its probably been 10 years since I’ve had to use folders to organize my emails – now after only 6 months I must have a 100 or more folders.
How about that coolaid?
Well.. Before I started @ Microsoft I had a few things I was starting to dislike about what they were doing. I felt that there was a need for revitalizing some of the tech and to be honest – recognize that there are other platforms and really start targetting them. I’m a Mac guy – and have been so since 2008. At this point in time I made a decision to step outside the Microsoft bubble I was in. It lead to a lot of cool new experiences and my favorite part; learning. Most of this learning I brought back to the projects I was on, which was C#/.NET projects. But the change of platform meant I had to actually learn new things which again lead to me wanting to explore even more. I grew back my apetite for learning. My wish has come through; Microsoft over the last couple of years have done the exact same thing and exactly what I criticized them for not doing when I was on the outside. The amount of stuff that has been open sourced for instance. Most of the things being done has a cross-platform thinking going into it. I’m really loving this. And yes, I’m half way down the cool aid. Azure has been on my radar and in my toolbox ever since it was launched in 2008 @ PDC. With all the new stuff thats going on top of this, I am truly smiling. I can now do all the things I’ve grown fond of over the years and the best part; I can use the best tool for the job – mix and match – on almost any platform.
My Biggest Challenge
Having a role like I have requires me to pay attention to a lot of things. Being in a small country, we don’t have the luxury of having a lot of people focusing on the different aspects of Azure – I basically have to know most of it, or at least know of it and go deep when called for. This is kinda fine, its knowing technology – and over the years one kinda absorbs new technology without too much hassle. The biggest challenge to me is to not stay in touch with real projects and gain real true experience with actually deploying the technology. This is truly the most important aspect in my opinion. Its when you use things you learn what works and what doesn’t. We’ve put in motion actions to actually gain the needed experience across our department. But in addition, I’m now starting a pet project that I’ve been planning for a couple of years and as luck would have it; the project will touch on most aspects of Azure. Now that I’ve gotten past the initial hurdles and starting to get a bit more comfortable with my role, I think I’ll be able to have the extra energy at night to do this.
In conclusion there is no conclusion. This is all so new and different that I just have to go day by day and see what is behind every corner. I’m excited, willing to learn and highly motivated. These things help.. 🙂