Goodbye Microsoft, a Look Back, and Hello Adobe

Last Friday was my last day at Microsoft. It’s taken me a while to write this post, because I’m not really sure what to say, or what I can say to really sum up what were five amazing years with the company. I started working for Microsoft as a Student Consultant at UCSD in 2001, interned the summer of 2002 (in devdiv, the team that makes Visual Studio and .NET) and again in the summer of 2003 (in Hotmail), and the joined full time in 2003. In so many ways, the path my life has taken has been intertwined and driven in no small manner by Microsoft. I have so many good friends, good stories, and great experiences there, that it was sad to say good bye.

I remember the late nights trying to ship various versions of MSN Hotmail, fire drills dealing with live site issues. I particularly remember one were we upgraded a large number of our servers to new version of our codebase and the huge number of hours we spent debugging and testing and fighting to make things work. We ended up having a few guys from Redmond term serv to our data center, hooking up kernel debuggers and finding issues they’d never anticipated in Windows or IIS. It’s amazingly cool being part of an organization where using our own products internally make them better for our customers. It was great to be a part of the team that shipped Windows Live Hotmail (or “mail Beta” as it was called for a while), all on top of a new .NET based architecture with AJAX-y goodness. That was back in 2005, while people may not think of Microsoft as a forward thinking organization we were building the kinds of web apps people didn’t end up seeing en mass until later in 2006.

Then it was off to Shanghai for a while. What a time that was. There was so much we all learned there about building organizations, about what it means to have great people and to have a great team. I was there for nearly a year and a half, and I learned a lot more about “organizational” skills that I’d anywhere before. And I learned some Chinese! Living overseas was an experience I think everybody should have. It helps you learn so much more about who you are, and about the world we live in. We started this cool Calendar while we were there, and a year later, in November 2007 we shipped a public beta. It was a blast to see something start in Shanghai, then be part of the team in California to go live with it.

I’m waxing sentimental here, but it’s been such a fun ride, full of super smart people who love software and know what they’re doing impacts millions of people every day. I’m proud to be a part of all the teams that I’ve been in, and I know they’ll continue doing great things in the future

What’s next for me? I’ve taken a job at Adobe, in their mobile group in San Francisco. I’m really excited about what’s coming up in the mobile space and there were some really cool opportunities in Adobe to do cool things in the market. Looking around at the market, the mobile space to me feels like the Internet did in, say, 1997. Slowly opening up, with greater bandwidth to end users allowing a great wave of development and content to become a driving factor for consumers. Adobe’s in a great place in the market, already with their software (Flash Lite, etc) installed on 450m devices world wide. They’re making some moves that I found compelling and that I wanted to be a part of. This next year is going to be a crazy ride of learning a whole new segment of the tech industry and I’m looking forward to it.

Between jobs, I’ve taken two weeks off between Microsoft and Adobe. I’m halfway done with my vacation already! I’ve been spending a lot of time in coffee shops, reading, brushing up on coding (finally finding some time to work on a pet project), and cleaning up the apartment. It’s amazing how much better it looks when my frames and art are hung on the moulding and not leaning against the floor.

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