Engaging Microsoft

Many Microsoft employees were at the ALT.NET conf in Seattle — including many of the ones that have been criticized publicly by the greater ALT.NET community. Not only was Microsoft there, but they were a sponsor and a few employees were even on the organizers list.

Many of them only hear our negativity (because that’s the most vocal part of our interaction), but the rest of our interaction is us using their tools productively on a daily basis.  I complain about the 10-20% that I don’t like and use the 80-90% that I do like. Nonetheless, they were there (or made a serious effort — a few had travel and scheduling problems — we still appreciate it).

I’d like this to be on the public record that I appreciate the efforts of people like Phil Haack, Rob Conery, Scott Hanselman, Scott Guthrie, Glenn Block, and many, many others who are trying to do the right thing and, interestingly enough, running into the same kinds of roadblocks at the rest of us out here in the field are running into.  Just so no one calls me a fanboi here, that doesn’t mean I agree with some of the decisions they’ve made or excuse them by the reasons you made them, but the perfect is the enemy of the good and sometimes we — well, at least me — forget that.

Seeking Asylum Developer Exchange Program

Chris Ortman and Steven Harman (among several others) have a good idea about a developer exchange program to increase the pollination rate of ideas.  I was thinking that this would be good for the ALT.Microsoft contingent to participate in as well. I’d like to see Phil Haack and Rob Conery specifically get out of the mothership for a few days (maybe a week if family could go with — logistics pending) and learn and teach by doing and experiencing with some of us.  I singled these guys out because I know Hanselman and Glen Block get around a lot already, so I don’t think it would be as useful to them (maybe? no? yes?).

Likewise, I know many of us would like the opportunity to see just what forces Phil and Rob, among others, are dealing with and what pressures drive them to make the choices they make, to participate and engage the community, etc.

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About Chad Myers

Chad Myers is the Director of Development for Dovetail Software, in Austin, TX, where he leads a premiere software team building complex enterprise software products. Chad is a .NET software developer specializing in enterprise software designs and architectures. He has over 12 years of software development experience and a proven track record of Agile, test-driven project leadership using both Microsoft and open source tools. He is a community leader who speaks at the Austin .NET User's Group, the ADNUG Code Camp, and participates in various development communities and open source projects.
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  • The Microsoft folks have shown a lot of professionalism. I have a lot of respect for them for that. They are listening. We should all take some time to thank them for that. We’re all developers trying to make the work a better place. We all have the same goal. The conference showed it was unified community and not a “us and them” sort of thing. This is a great thing.

  • Here Here to all. Thanks for the help Glenn, Scott, Scott, Phil, Rob, and others.

  • Hey Chad, great to meet you, only regret is we didn’t get to talk much. Thanks for the kudos.

    As for the developer exchange program, it’s an intriguing idea. I’m pretty sure we do this already in the Seattle area, but not sure if we ever fly people out to the far reaches of the US. ;)

  • Hi Chad – didn’t get a chance to meet you, hopefully next time.

    I like the idea of a DevExchange but to be honest, I am about as far outside of “The Mothership” as I can get (about 2200 miles to be precise) – this applies both physically and mentally. Case in point, the MVC Storefront thing I’m doing right now runs directly counter to most internal efforts, if not all of them.

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen it yet, but the deal is that I am actively seeking out specialists in the community to help me. Ayende helped me setup some core architectural patterns. Steve Harman helped me setup a testable Repository. Aaron Jensen sat with me last week on campus (I was there for the summit) to go over some TDD stuff.

    To directly answer your question: I get many suggestions internally, but they’ve essentially given me as much rope as I want. It’s all me at this point – the only major thing that’s been requested of me is to keep it positive :).

  • @Haack It was crazy, I felt bad I didn’t get a chance to sit down with you either (or you either, @Rob).

    There might be something into getting MS developers out into the community to see how people are using the tools they’re developing. Your CEO keeps saying ‘Developers, Developers, Developers’, well, let’s make it about the devs, right? :)

    @Rob: Very interesting. I didn’t realize all that. Thank you for doing that and please keep it up and keep putting stuff out there.

    I talked with a few folks at the conf about the whole twitter/TDD incident and I think the ‘Let’s take it outside, on Skype’ was awesome. Sorry I missed it I wanted to be there. I hope it went well.

    I wonder if we shouldn’t have a ‘Rule of Fight Club’ where if we get to a point where there’s more than one or two public comments, we take it to Skype and iron it out. Unfortunately, we don’t always have that time, so the moment must support it, but it might be worth establishing some code of conduct for MS Developer vs. Public interactions like that. Thoughts?

  • I spose what would be nice in terms of “Conduct” would be simple professional respect, the same you show to the people in your office. 6 months ago I was your poster boy Alt.NET guy, now I work at Microsoft. I didn’t feel anything change, except that I became responsible for a lot of people’s anxieties :).

    The good thing is that I was hired, in part, to address that issue – which I am! All I ask is some respect, which I think I deserve at this point :).

    And we don’t talk about Fight Club.

  • Hi Chad

    Thanks for all your support and kind words. Developer exchange sounds like a great idea, I’ll start floating it around. Keep up all the good work.

  • Guys,

    I for one would like to see conversations kept public, in places such as Twitter, rather than being moved to Skype. Then everyone gets to see the two points of view and benefit from the debate.

    Plus we get to see who is best at name-calling :-p

  • Good to meet you Chad (at the funding open source talk) and to know that at least some of us at Microsoft aren’t automatically anathema. :)