8 months in Microsoft

I haven’t been blogging lately and I haven’t been following your blogs either. I am now significantly reducing the number of blogs I am monitoring (~300 were too many) and also trying to better organize my time as part of a larger set of lifestyle changes that are coming up (read below). I have now moved to an all-Vista/Office 2007 setup for both my laptop and desktop. It’s not without a pain but I like the smoothness of the experience (both for Vista and Office 2007). I am being a good corporate citizen by trying to find bugs through early adoption.

So, May 12th today which means 8 months at Microsoft and in Seattle. What has been going on?

Work

While I still can’t reveal the specifics of what I am doing here in Microsoft, I have to say that I am having the time of my life. When I joined the company back in September 2005, I had to go through a 2-day orientation course. We were told then, amongst many other things, that it is normal to feel really excited about the new job within the first couple of months and then experience a decline in enthusiasm. Apparently research has indicated that this is a general trend throughout the industry. Well, I have been excited throughout my 8 months here. It’s been a fantastic experience so far and I have no reason to believe that I am going to feel any different in the months that follow. I am learning a lot and I get the chance to work with really really clever people.

I came here to work for an incubation/research-type project in the Connected Systems Division (CSD) which ended back in February. My first great manager, Oliver Sharp, left our small group to become the General Manager of the BizTalk group. Our project was declared a big success since we gained extremely valuable insights into the areas we investigated. We gained experience which we are now bringing into the future. At the end of the project I was in the extremely lucky position to be given the choice of a number of groups/projects to join, this time “for real” given the focus on product delivery. Only one of the choices meant I could stay with my second manager in Microsoft, Adam Denning. It was really hard for me to not choose to join his team because he was a fantastic manager (I can say this now since I don’t report to him anymore :-)

After 2-3 weeks of deliberations and lots of discussions with people, I decided to join the CSD architecture group with Don Box as my direct manager (3rd manager in 8 months). Oh man… this is serious fun. Lots and lots of interesting problems to solve, lots to learn, and a great opportunity to experience the design, prototyping, development, testing, and release of a new technology (the entire lifecycle). This is truly about changing the world, about changing the way people write software. I feel lucky to be in a position to be next to the thought leaders throughout this process.

Life

I wasn’t expecting to have a great life here given my determination to focus on my career and learn a lot before potentially making a move back to research. However, I am having tons of fun. I met lots of people, I am constantly out (spending all my money :-), enjoying life. I think I am almost settled in now. Recently, I’ve decided to go through a number of lifestyle changes as well:

  • Due to a problem with my teeth caused by an extracted tooth when I was a teenager, I had to start orthodontic treatment. As a result, I am now wearing braces at 33 years old!!! :-) Oh well. It only took me a day to recover from the sock but I am now back to my normal happy self :-)
  • I have decided to do something about my weight and I felt that the best way was to do something radical. I got myself into the 20/20 lifestyles program. I’ve been through all the medical exams and I am starting this Monday. Although I lost around 6 kgrs since I came in the US, the aim is to lose 30 kgrs in the next 3 months. Also the main goal is to get fit again so I have set myself a target of running a marathon in two years time. Apparently they really liked that so they are aiming to get me fit for a half marathon this autumn. Let’s see!
  • Oh… and I now have lots of blue highlights in my hair :-)

Of course the US is not like Europe. I do miss the European lifestyle but it’s all about making sure you are happy where you are. And happy I am!

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