OK, so I’ve worked at Microsoft… a long time. This summer, it’s going to be twenty two years since I first started full time, and twenty three years since I was an intern. During that time, I’ve worked in a lot of different places in the company. The Developer Division. Office. Developer Division again. A little division that doesn’t exist anymore, the Connected Systems Division. SQL. Developer Division again. And in all of that time, I had one cardinal rule: I was never, ever, ever going to work in Windows. No matter what happened, no matter how desperate I was, I was just never going to take a job anywhere in the Windows organization. No way, no how.
It’s not that I had anything against Windows or the Windows group, it’s just that for most of my tenure here so far, the Windows group has seemed… a little nuts. Not nuts in terms of what they’ve produced (although the whole Longhorn thing, ug), but in terms of how they seemed to work. From the outside, it looked like Windows was always on one kind of death march or another, from Windows 95 all the way through Windows Vista. And as much as I might like the OS, I just never thought that I was hardcore or badass enough to be able to withstand that kind of pressure.
There was also the fact that most of my career has centered around developers in one way or another, and for most of my time at Microsoft, Windows has been content to simply outsource the majority of the developer relationship to the Developer Division. This isn’t shocking or anything–hey, “Developer” is right there in the name!–but it meant that if I wanted to be working on developer-related stuff, there was only one place to be.
I decided to do this for two reasons. The first one is that since Windows Vista the Windows team seems to have adopted a much more sane attitude towards the whole work/life balance, something I got to see up close while working on a component that ships in Windows. They still work hard, don’t get me wrong, just that they no longer employ burly fellows to walk along the hall cracking whips every half hour.
The other reason is that since the Windows 8 cycle, the Windows team has a much more serious attitude towards supporting developers. They’ve even got a whole organization dedicated to it that works closely with the Developer Division and everything! And so when some acquaintances started chatting with me about some of the ideas the developer team in Windows had for future versions of Windows, I got interested. And then did an interview. And then accepted. So now here I am! Most of what I’m going to do isn’t public for the time being, so not a lot to say about that at the moment, but suffice it to say, I think it’s going to be interesting!
You should also follow me on Twitter here.
Cool, and good luck. I also happen to think Windows group are a a bit nuts, the last to really get with it, especially around engaging customer feedback.
Can you get the Windows team to use Connect? Because right now, if we submit WinRT bugs on Connect it gets a bit messy, like this:
Thank you for submitting this bug. This site is focused on accepting bugs for Visual Studio and .NET Framework, however, this issue appears to be related to the Windows operating system so we have transferred it over to the Windows team for review. further support. Should more information be needed, someone from the Windows team will follow up with you. We’ve created some online forums where you can ask questions, post issues and get answers from other preview testers and Microsoft support professionals. We encourage active participation in these forums as the best way to provide feedback to Microsoft.
•Visit the Windows 8.1 Preview forum (http://aka.ms/WinPreviewForum)
•Visit the Internet Explorer 11 Preview forum (http://aka.ms/IEPreviewForum)
•Visit the developer forums for building apps (http://aka.ms/DevBuildApps)
•Visit the IT pro forums for Windows 8.1 business features (http://aka.ms/ITProForum)
I’ll see what I can do!
As someone who is a little unhappy with the current direction of the developer division, and also as someone who loves Windows, I think there should definitely be a developer team inside Windows, and I also think that someone like you is exactly what such a team needs. Congratulations, Mr. Vick.
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