Trying Something New

I'm trying something new in my career, going in a relatively new direction, but doing something I've loved doing my entire career. Everyone I've told about this new role has an a-ha moment, following up with comments like "I can't believe we never thought of this before." My new role is in the technical product marketing team at Microsoft, in a small team (we call ourselves the Fantastic Four) who contribute to the creation of demos for conferences like Build, Connect, and others.

When I learned of this position from a colleague and that I'd be working with some familiar colleagues like Erika Ehrli, Craig Kitterman, and Omar Khan, with whom I've worked in my engineering and evangelism roles at Microsoft it was obvious coming to work every day would be a pleasure. These people are just - they're awesome, creative folks who love the product and the engineers behind it and feel honored to demonstrate what can be done with our products. This team contributed to the inspiring demo Scott Hanselman did focusing on diabetes tech, IoT, Azure, and more, and maintain the Bike Sharing demo from last year's Connect event.

Once we got together and chatted, it felt right, so I'm taking a dive into a new area of the developer experience from the marketing perspective, where my role will be to help create these amazing demo experiences. I'll also be working with some great event planning and engineering folks on the Microsoft Tech Summit events.

i love docs

The past year, my sixth at Microsoft, I worked for an exciting team of folks building the next generation of developer and product documentation on the docs.microsoft.com team. The experience was rewarding, with lots of hard work that paid off for our customers. The team has evolved under the leadership of Jeff Sandquist and Dan Fernandez to include some exciting new areas, like developer advocacy. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working with peers like Rob Eisenberg and Den Delimarchi and with developers like Duncan Mackenzie, the content of whom I've been reading since college.

The past just-over-a-year included activities like working closely with my old team in the Azure SDK world to use Swagger to document REST APIs, to use various code-commenting techniques and conventions to output rich reference documentation, and so much more. I'm proud of the docs.ms.com team, and I'm excited to see how the team of talented Cloud Developer Advocates will round out my old team. I was also able to see the sheer, massive amounts of heroic work the team does to deliver amazing content in so many languages.

It isn't ever easy to leave a team of talented people, especially when the product you've built is so obviously valuable to customers.

But sometimes, your aspirations evolve, and you learn things. Or, in my case, you remember things.

i love conference excitement more

I can't sit still. I walk around in meetings - motion creates emotion, and I find it easier to focus and get engaged in the conversations in meetings when I'm not staring at my computer. This sort of excitement-lust is great for being conference-driven. Being conference-driven in engineering is hell, being conference-driven in content is the seventh ring of hell. But you can't deny though all the stress they cause, that conferences are a great way of driving excitement in the products and offer our community an opportunity to meet the heroes behind the products.

That excitement drives me to come to work every day, and I'd missed it in my role in content as it wasn't really a component of my role. So after a few road shows after a year's hiatus from them, learning about the technical product marketing demo team seemed like a message, a hint that I should try this one out.

what changes?

In terms of my blogging, there'll be more, as it'll be more of a component of my role and not something I feel guilty doing for fear that I'm missing a deadline - the blogging, demo-creating, event planning, and conferencing is the role, rather than it being a side component of an otherwise already-full role.

I'll still be contributing to the Azure Tools for Visual Studio Code extension, which may be evolving due to some internal team adoption opportunities. It has been great to see how folks like Matt Hernandez and Jonathan Carter have supported the ATVSC and how we're working together to create a reusable set of components rather than sioling ourselves. The organic growth of opportunities for Azure tooling work in Visual Studio Code are evident and strong, and as long as the real heroes building the products will let me tinker, I'll tinker.

let's do this!

So keep tabs on my twitter, this space, and I'll keep you posted of new things in devops (a new area where I'll be focusing), and all the great tools that'll help motivate you to keep partying in the cloud.