November 15, 2003 spout

My First Meeting with BillG’s Technical Advisor

Saturday, November 15, 2003

In my continuing quest to take advantage of unique experiences at Microsoft for those that aren’t able to, I spent an hour in a meeting with Bill Gates’s Technical Advisor, Alexander Gounares, earlier this week. Among other things, Alex is responsible for getting answers when Bill asks questions like Hey, what are we doing about adding air conditioning to Windows?”

I’ve had meetings with senior execs at MS before and I always end up saying stuff that upsets them. This time, the guy was so nice, I just wanted to nod my head and do whatever he asked of me. In fact, the thing I volunteered to work on (a vision” whitepaper exploring a new application of technology that’s still under development) wasn’t so much that he asked me to do it, but rather because he asked for a volunteer and made eye contact with me in such a heart-warming way that I couldn’t say no. (Of course, my boss kicking me under the table didn’t hurt, either… : )

BTW, in case you wondered, while the Sr. VP I upset knew me from my blog, Alex didn’t know me from Adam. : )

For folks keeping track, in my six month career at MS, I gotten to do *lots* of cool stuff:

  • Launch the Longhorn Developer Center
  • Hang out back stage at the PDC, including preparing to act as Chris Anderson’s demo understudy and helping ship one of MSDNs new features (annotations)
  • Write a Think Week paper for BillG and receive his comments back on it
  • Meet Anders Hejlsberg, Eric Gunnerson and Robert Hess
  • Have meetings with several execs, including one Group VP, one Sr. VP and BillG’s TA
  • Crash a WinFX API review
  • Introduce MS to the joy of a DevCon
  • Help get my PUM blogging
  • Invent an extension to RSS that is getting fairly wide implementation, e.g. SharpReader, RssBandit and .Text.
  • Appear on The .NET Show
  • Get a few mentions in the press as an official MS employee (including one that my Mom saw that made her very proud : )
  • Keep up contact with the community as much as I’m able via email, mailing lists, newsgroups, articles, conference talks and appearances

I list these not to brag, but to reflect on how many cool things there are to do at MS. I assume it’s all down hill from here. : )