One Year At Microsoft

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bowl-mm Today marks my one year anniversary at Microsoft. Tradition dictates that I bring in a pound of M&Ms for each year that I’ve been an employee. I’m going to buck that trend (because I like bucking things) and bring in 1 kilo of Japanese candies. Since I just returned from a trip to Japan and it is also customary to bring gifts back from a trip, this ends up killing two birds with one stone. Software is not the only place to apply the DRY principle.

Looking back at when I first was hired and later at my first days when I drank from the firehose, working here feels a lot different now than it did then. I finally feel a lot more settled at Microsoft, though there are still many days when I feel like a new hire, or even as a bit of an outsider.

The other day in an IM chat with Scott Hanselman, he made some comment about how us Microsofties love our app_codeApp_Data directory. Hey man, his badge is just as blue as mine, but I understand the sentiment. Guys like us are referred to as “industry hires” as opposed to college hires. Many of the developers here happen to be college hires. The theory is that industry hires will bring a fresh perspective, but I think we just mostly get in everyone’s way and stir up trouble.

So what have I done in this past year?

I’ve spoken at five conferences (Tech-Ed Hong Kong, TechReady 6 and 7, DevScovery, MVP Global Summit) and two internal TAP events. I’ve attended two other conferences (Mix 08, Google IO). For the most part, I think I’ve gotten over my stage fright, which was intense in the beginning. Hopefully, I’ve also improved as a speaker, but I still cringe when I hear myself speak.

I’ve been involved in around four or five ASP.NET MVC preview releases (I’ve lost count) as well as the release of ASP.NET 3.5 SP1 (ASP.NET Routing feature) and a CodePlex release of ASP.NET Dynamic Languages support. I’m particularly excited about taking ownership of our DLR support for ASP.NET and hope that in the new year I can push that forward.

I’ve also been involved in division wide efforts to help other teams understand Test Driven Development so that our products moving forward will take TDD into consideration in the design of their products.

Amidst all this, I even found some time to get Subtext 2.0 out the door. Open source software remains a passion for me and I’m very excited about all the progressive changes that have happened here in the past year from us including JQuery in our offering to the opening up of licensing in various products such as MEF.

What’s Next For Me?

I think I’ll stay here for a while. My wife and I really like it in Bellevue and so far, I’m really enjoying the work here. In the next year, I’ll be taking on more responsibilities. I’ll be taking ownership for driving our TDD efforts, hoping to obtain a few small wins here and there. Baby steps.

I’ll also keep driving ASP.NET MVC towards RTM and put together a plan and strategy together for our Dynamic Languages effort.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the PM role here at Microsoft. My managers never fail to remind me that while I’m doing fine at the technical and community side of things, I really need to improve the project management side of things. Understandable, I’m doing great at the fun stuff, but not so good at the part that I don’t find so fun. :)

In any case, as I did before, I want to thank many of you for helping me with my job. There have been many large design improvements to ASP.NET MVC that quite possibly wouldn’t have happened were it not for your constant feedback. It really is appreciated.

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10 responses

  1. Avatar for Simone Chiaretta
    Simone Chiaretta October 14th, 2008

    Congratulations on the achievements of this last year...
    I'm approaching my first year at Avanade as well (November 11th if I'm not wrong).
    And good luck for your effort trying to push TDD inside the .NET development stack.

  2. Avatar for Keyvan Nayyeri
    Keyvan Nayyeri October 14th, 2008

    Congratulations, Phil :-)
    To be honest, you didn't keep your valuable activity on open source community and also didn't write much on your blog but it's quite understandable for everyone.
    As a note about those college people, IMHO you (as a someone with industrial) background can be as valuable as them or even more because the academic context is not very pragmatic and I found that few academic people can do well on industrial projects at infancy but as time goes, they can do more, so it's obvious that your experiences in industry is invaluable to the company.
    All in all, time went fast. I think it was yesterday when you left Koders ;-)

  3. Avatar for Josh
    Josh October 14th, 2008

    congrats. I was just thinking about the really good "industry hires" MS has brought in recently. You're getting quite a lot of heavy weights there.
    On the OT.. I was just in a small farm town in Ohio, and saw a sign for "Haack Farms". Must have passed it 6 times while I was there, and each I said I'd take a pic. never did. I thought it was interesting, but prolly noone else would.

  4. Avatar for davidinbcn
    davidinbcn October 15th, 2008

    i truly thank u & rob r the best, thank u... so very much... even though i never do c#...

  5. Avatar for Scott Hanselman
    Scott Hanselman October 15th, 2008

    App_Data, y'll like to put MDFs in ~\App_Data. ;)
    Congrats!

  6. Avatar for Shiju Varghese
    Shiju Varghese October 15th, 2008

    Congratulations, Phil
    You was really rocking for the last one year and I would like to appreciate your efforts for ASP.NET MVC. Now I feel that Microsoft is going to a right direction through ASP.NET MVC and TDD support.
    Good luck for your TDD efforts and hope lot of good things from MVC team.

  7. Avatar for Lamin Barrow
    Lamin Barrow October 15th, 2008

    Congrats Phil. Your contributions to the ASP.net/MVC community in the past year has been very valuable indeed and I am hoping to read about many success stories from you next year. All the best. :)

  8. Avatar for Sadanand
    Sadanand October 16th, 2008

    Congrats Phil Haack!!
    And all the best to you for next challenges.

  9. Avatar for Bruce
    Bruce October 18th, 2008

    A very smart person told me once "be outstanding at the stuff you're good at; don't spend a lot of time becoming slightly-less-mediocre at the stuff you're bad at."
    Good advice - although not all managers buy it.

  10. Avatar for Luis Abreu
    Luis Abreu October 20th, 2008

    Congrats Phil! You've been doing a great job. Keep up the good work.