[Update: I removed the names I had listed below, as there is no way I could capture all the people I worked with and I don't want to miss anyone]
Two weeks ago I left Microsoft and joined Splunk. After 8 wonderful years this was not an easy decision. Why did I leave then? One reason, I am ready for a change. I looked within myself and felt the time is right. I am ready to take these years of learning and use what I’ve learned and the experiences gained outside Microsoft in a smaller growing company.
Splunk offers an amazing product which helps IT-Pros and Developers analyze machine generated data in realtime. It is an invaluable resource (from what customers tell me) in diagnosing problems that occur at the hardware, system or application level. It has many uses far beyond that, but everything revolves around operational intelligence.
I am really excited to have joined Splunk and to be working on such a cool, powerful, and innovative product. I really like the team and the vision. I am looking forward to helping to take the developer story to the next level and to working with you to make it happen.
Microsoft and moving on
Almost 8 years ago I received my blue badge and started at Microsoft. I came after 10 years of working in the industry, and about 10 years of wanting to work at Microsoft. I was so excited to have made it, I remember thinking “You have arrived”. I was passionate and driven to help change the world through technology. I was looking forward to working with amazing people and on important projects. Flash forward, I can say for sure that I found what I was looking for, and much more than I would have imagined.
Microsoft really was a land of opportunity for me. I joined at time when developers were being very critical of Microsoft’s platform. The common criticism which echoed very loudly from groups like ALT.NET was that the MS Platform/.NET was too heavy, did not embrace good software development practices that the community cared about like TDD, and that it did not play well with open source.
I found myself in a place where there was an opportunity to make a difference. It somehow became my personal mission to help change the way we build the platform and look at open source. I worked toward this throughout most of my time at Microsoft in various teams like Prism (patterns & practices), MEF, Web API and Windows Azure/Node SDK. I was not alone. I had a long list of wonderful people (too large to do justice to) I worked with internally toward this goal.
That mission brought me in places I never imagined. I got to work across the company with various teams helping them to adopt a newer approach. I got to travel the world and talk about the work we were doing, I met with (and worked with) fantastic people both inside and outside of Microsoft. I learned a lifetime. I couldn’t have hoped for better!
I am really happy with the progress that has been made at Microsoft. The DNA has changed in much of the dev platform. Microsoft did a complete 180 on the attitude toward OSS and supporting OSS tools. Nuget has been a big help in making open source much easier to consume in .NET. Several SDK projects are on Github, Apache 2 licenses for Microsoft projects are everywhere, Codeplex supports git, and many platform projects are taking pull requests from the community. In addition, Microsoft is proactively supporting other open source projects like Node and jQuery.
With all this change, there are new critiques. In .NET there is the concern that Microsoft’s OSS efforts overshadow other efforts of the community. Some are concerned that Microsoft is investing too much in other stacks (like Node, PHP and recently Java). Others are worried about the future of .NET itself. I understand the concerns, but for me personally, things are is much better than where they were.
As to my experience at the company, was it always rosy? No, there were plenty of challenges and I had plenty of my own tough moments. Look, it’s not a perfect company (I am not sure there is one) by any means and its definitely got its problems. I had my own particular style and passions that didn’t always gel with my management. I definitely had my frustrations and felt plenty of times like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. Regardless, the pros definitely outweighed the cons. I couldn’t have dreamed such an experience would have been possible. I would do it again.
I want to thank everyone (too many to name) who has worked with me over the years and supported my efforts at Microsoft, both inside and outside the community. You made my work possible and I learned a lifetime from you.
Thank you to all my managers and mentors both internally and externally who’ve invested their personal time and energy to help me, you all know who you are!
One person I need to mention, Scott Guthrie. The things you’ve done with .NET and Windows Azure have been fantastic and I look forward to the future. You’ve been a personal force in my career and it’s fair to say that I would have left Microsoft a long time ago had I not believed in your leadership. Thank You!