Microsoft, SubSonic, and Me
- Friday, October 26, 2007
This is the sixth rewrite of this post. It's not that I don't know how to write a thought, nor that people are telling me what to write.
This is the sixth rewrite of this post. It's not that I don't know how to write a thought, nor that people are telling me what to write. It's just a big deal (at least to me).
I've asked some friends for help and some have chipped in with "are you sure you want to say THAT" or "I think you sound like a drone" or even worse: "dude this is bland. You've lost your voice" (losing your voice, to someone who likes to write, really sucks).
I'm not trying to get all "Moment In Time"-y here, but this really, truly means a lot to me.
Rather than try and come up with some lame metaphors and trite pop-culture references, I've decided to use some advice from English 101 Professor:
"Whatever the hell you're trying to say, just say it"
So I will: I'm going to work for Microsoft. I just signed the offer letter. I'll be working with the ASP.NET guys on the new MVC platform as well as some other groovy things like Silverlight. I get to work "across the hall" from one of my very good friends - Phil Haack.
This is good stuff - something that my buddies will decide requires a few extra shots before the night is through. But it's a lot more than that, and this is the part that's making this post hard to write...
ScottGu called me a few weeks back and said something that I still think back on and wonder who doped his Corn Flakes:
"It would be fun to see how we can help you build out SubSonic a little more... maybe in a fulltime capacity with us?"
Talking to Scott is unnerving enough. Having him bring up SubSonic and "fulltime" in the same sentence is, well, just plain ridiculous. Whatever he put in the Corn Flakes... I want some!
So that's the deal: I'm going to work for Microsoft, and my job will be to build out SubSonic as the "sweetness" on top of ASP.NET and (more notably) the new MVC platform. SubSonic will be the convention-driven toolset for Microsoft's new MVC framework. Someone slap me.
Not only that, but I also get to work on the "knowledge" front - creating webcasts and writing up tutorials for MVC/ASP/SubSonic. I love making webcasts (if you can't tell) and getting paid for it is just ridiculous!
I think it's worth pointing out that SubSonic hasn't been "bought". Some might smell a conspiracy here, but I'll leave that to the X-Files and Cap'n Crunch crowd to drum up all the evil reasons why the mothership has "beamed me up". SubSonic will remain under the same MPL 1.1 license it always has, and will remain as completely Open Source as it always has - nothing will change at all. I'm just getting paid, essentially, to work on it :).
If you're a doubter, let me just say that I had some questions myself (when offered the job), to be honest. I was in Redmond just a month ago and when I got there, Scott told me he wanted to show me some MVC stuff but insisted that he replace my eyeballs with these glowing metal orbs. They kind of hurt... but only when I blink.
Then he hit me up with the job idea and I fell right out of my chair.
When I got up (and fixed my hair) all I could think was...
"Why me? Why now?".
Scott: "I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something new going on with the Web. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?"
Me: "The MVC Project."
Scott: "Do you want to know what it, is?"
Me: "Sure... but...why do my eyes hurt.?"
Scott: "You've never used them. They're a new beta model and we think you'll make the perfect test subject. Just make sure UAC is turned off."
I probably shouldn't make jokes about the UAC since, well I'm now a "Blue Badge" and all. But to me, this is one of the best parts of the whole deal (that I can indeed, joke about it).
I'm working for Shawn Burke, one of the "boss guys" in "DevDiv" who works for Scott and who also runs the AJAX Control Toolkit project on CodePlex (he's also the guy who drove the .NET Framework Reference Source program).
The main reason I took this job was because of the chance to work with Shawn and his team. I've been working with these guys (on contract) for the last 8 months or so, and during that time have had a chance to see that there are some truly talented and flat out bitchen people working at Microsoft. When the contract started I was kind of wary - Shawn's a workaholic who runs Iron Man's (not kidding) on the weekends. I've worked with those guys before, and it hasn't been fun.
I started rehearsing the "it's not OK to call me at 3am" phone call after the contract started but luckily, to date, haven't had to use it :). To be honest I think I hassle Shawn far more than I ever feared he'd hassle me. Not sure why he got that restraining order... but ... nevermind.
The clincher was the a conversation we had (Shawn and I), "discussing terms" of my position. Of major importance to me was SubSonic and my blog - I've developed my "rep" over the last few years and I really don't want people to think that either have been compromised or that I've "lost my edge". This is crucial to me. I decided to be direct with him and make sure we both understood these important points:
"I want to be sure I have complete creative control over SubSonic, and that you don't censor my blog... is that cool?"
Shawn's response is why I took the job:
"Well Duh..." (he added some more things that were a bit more eloquent than "duh" - but I don't think I was listening).
I can make jokes about the UAC on my blog? And make up fictional Matrix converstations with ScottGu? Sign me up! I start on November 12th, right after DevConnections in Vegas (come on by if you're out that way at the DNN Open Force).
This weekend I'll put together a webcast and a more thorough post to show what I've been working on with MVC, and also write a bit more about where SubSonic is headed.
So that's the deal. I've just been offered a really cool job, working with people I like on the tool I love. The result will hopefully to make your lives better so you can go home and watch Survivor with your family or play with your kids in the park before the sun goes down.
That's what drives me. We work too hard and I've always felt there are ways to get our work done so we can get home to the things that are truly important. I'm not about complaining or throwing stones - I've tried to work it from the inside and the door to the Chocolate Factory has just been opened...