Today is the Last Day of My Life So Far

Typically, we recognize big change after it happens, not before. That gives you great appreciation for life-changing events that you realize are upon you. In my life, becoming a husband and becoming a father are two great examples of this. Today is another. Today is my last day as a member of Microsoft’s field organization.

After nearly five years “in the field” with Consulting, the National Technology Team and the .NET Adoption Team, I am moving into a new position at corporate HQ with the .NET Enterprise Architecture Team (known as .NEAT). I’ll be working for Adam Denning (who in a previous life wrote a couple of books on ActiveX Controls). .NEAT is a part of the Platform Strategy group headed up by Sanjay Parthasarathy which is in turn part of Eric Rudder’s Servers and Tools division. I get to work with some great people, most notably Pat Helland. Among other achievements, Pat was a “founding member” of the MTS team and he coined the term Autonomous Computing. Plus he’s got a great singing voice.

My role on .NEAT will be to foster Microsoft’s architect community. Currently, we have the MSDN Architecture Center, Architect Webcasts and the Community Architecture and Design GDN Workspaces. My goal is to expand the reach and membership of these efforts as well as improve the two-way communication channel between MSFT and the architect community. There is a lot of work to be done around architecture. When I heard John Zachman speak, he stressed that we are at the very beginning of the Information Revolution. If we look to history and see the widespread effects of the Industrial Revolution, we come away with a better understanding of just how much change the Information Revolution will bring. Much more than one company can do alone in my opinion. Architecture will play a key role in the Information Revolution, so involvement in a community of architects that shares ideas and distributes influence is pretty critical for Microsoft.

While specific community plans aren’t fully baked yet, I imagine it’s pretty obvious that blogging will be a part of them. In fact, after Scoble I may be the second person at Microsoft to get a job in part due to my blog. One of my first duties is to get Pat blogging. Watch for that soon. Pat’s working on the next generation of the Autonomous Computing architecture vision, code named Metropolis. Get more info on that at the PDC Architecture Symposium.

In addition to working with Pat, Adam and the other people on .NEAT, there are some other benefits of this change:

  • I don’t have to travel so much. My wife and 7 month old son are very excited about this. When I do travel, it will be to work interesting conferences, like PDC.
  • I can wear jeans every day and listen to music while I do my job. It’s pretty hard to listen to Linkin Park while presenting on SOA.
  • I get my own office with windows and a door. I figured since I was the new guy on the team, I’d get a cube near the bathroom or something. Apparently, those five years of seniority count for something. However, the rumor mill has it that we’re moving soon so I don’t know how long I’ll have it. They are even recarpeting it right after I start.
  • I have a lab of hardware “at my disposal”. <insert evil laugh here>
  • Since I don’t travel so much, I should be able to make at least one of Scoble’s geek dinners at Crossroads. I’ve been out of town for all of the ones he’s arranged so far, including this past Wednesday. Of course, if Scoble’s been planning them around my travel schedule, he’s screwed. 😄

Of course, there are a few downsides.

  • I may be joining a great team, but I’m also leaving a great manager and a great team that I helped build. I will miss working with them. It’s the first team I’ve been a part of at Microsoft that handed out official team nicknames like Guns, Groove Train, Voodoo, Jet and Swahili Wild Ass. Mine was Wizard, an obvious reference to Harry Potter.
  • With each job I take at MSFT, coding seems to become less a part of the job description. This is no exception.
  • Since I have an office, I can only assume I’m supposed to be in it regularly. After being a technical nomad for five years, the idea of going to the same place every day is sorta weird. At least there’s free soda there.
  • I have to give up my Toshiba Tablet PC. Since I don’t travel, I can’t justify two computers. So I picked power over style. Maybe a Tablet PC vendor would like to give me an extended loaner?

In the short term, I may go dark on this blog since I’ve got a lot of work to do before PDC. Don’t worry. In the famous words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’m running for Governor of California.