Bye-bye Microsoft, see you around!

I remember when my young-naïve-self joined Microsoft, he had in mind a two-year commitment. Enough time to learn a little bit more about how Microsoft operated in my country (Spain), expand my network, meet new people… 2 years seemed enough for that, right? Well, in the end, it’s been slightly more than that at the end. How much? Ehem… 14.7 years.

What can I say?! Microsoft threw enough exciting opportunities to keep me engaged! I’ve played multiple roles, worked across various regions, and lived in 2 different countries. 14.7 years can be a long time, but I was lucky enough to be part of fast-paced teams that made it feel like a breeze.

Why leave then? In my case, it was mainly because of three reasons. First, I’ve always had a voice lurking in the back of my head, pushing me to try something else from a professional perspective (different company culture, scale, business, tech,…). I also had a second voice (my wife’s) telling me that she was done with Seattle’s weather and wanted something sunnier. And last but not least, a third voice (my son’s) crying around the tiny one-bedroom apartment we have in Bellevue (you can’t imagine how crazy real estate has become here). It was the perfect storm. It was time to move on.

As I post this, it’s been already a few weeks since I clicked on the ‘Leave Microsoft’ link on the intranet, and several days since I returned my blue badge and walked out of the building for the last time.

Since that walk home, I’ve had some time to reflect on the journey and the lessons learned. OMG, there are too many! There is no way I will remember all of it unless I write it down — I regret not keeping an updated ‘learnings log’. Therefore, I’ve decided to organize my thoughts and write as much as I can down, I plan to share (most of) it, stay tuned! ;)

FWIW, I have also summarized my 14.7 experience on a few irrelevant data points

  • Conferences delivered while in the field: 500+
  • Different Countries/States visited: 21
  • Products launched from corp: 17
  • Approx. hours spent in internal meetings @ corp: 5k // yup… some roles require tons of face to face time
  • Approx. hours spent in infernal meetings @ corp: 300 // a prep-meeting before the prep-meeting, to get ready for the prep-meeting
  • Emails received over a week off 300–400
  • Most fulfilling moment: When I was a tech evangelist. Anytime somebody from the audience sent me an email telling me that whatever we covered helped them make their job easier.
  • Most stressful moment: I was in a hotel in NY the day before an event. It was 5 am — after 29 hours of straight work. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, reviewing dozens of steps of a particularly complex demo.
  • Most frustrating moment: When you drop everything to focus on something super important for several weeks (including nights and weekends), and it ends up being cut or not happening.
  • Productivity secret: Remove all notifications from all devices
  • Product launch best practice: Focus on a few reliable end-to-end journeys that add value to your target customer’s top scenarios.
  • Couple of things I hope MSFT changes:
  • Stop reinventing the wheel every few years from a process perspective. When you’ve been inside long enough, it’s easy to see the patterns =)
  • More remote work opportunities.
  • The one thing I hope MSFT never changes: Their core focus on improving other people’s lives.
  • A dirty little secret: I stole a few notebooks and stickers the day I left.

Jokes and meaningless numbers aside, Microsoft is a GREAT place to work. They’re always hiring. Maybe you can do as I did, join for a couple of years and see how it goes.

Happy hacking!


Twitter: @davidsb

P.S. What’s next for me? Oh well, glad you asked! We’re relocating to Austin by the end of the month, and I’m ready to join a fantastic team on a new adventure. I’ll share more once we settle ;)