Microsoft gives employee special Halloween treat

We have great benefits at Microsoft. One category of benefits involves commuting which includes free bus passes, Connector buses, and designated parking spots for carpools/vanpools. For example, I take the bus to work a couple days each week using my free bus pass. TB and I are registered carpoolers for the times we ride together.

Carpoolers share a single parking badge which must be displayed whenever a vehicle is parked in one of the designated spots. On several occasions when we both drive, I have admittedly broken the rules by parking my car in a carpool spot without the badge. Four or five times over the past 10 years I have received parking violations from Microsoft Security reminding me that I cannot park my car in a carpool spot without displaying the badge. Nothing more has ever happened but each citation stated the violation would be recorded and my car is subject to immediate towing.

Well, yesterday, Halloween, a Friday when I was at work until 7:30 PM, the big payback hit like a sledgehammer. A security officer with the initials JH had the 626 towed, y’all. My baby was in lockup for the first time.

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Keith@MSFT: 3,653 days and counting

Today, June 22, 2008, marks my tenth year as a full-time regular employee at the world’s largest software company.

Ten years at a single company is a long time in this industry, but it has passed rather quickly. Milestones are exciting and I always look forward to reaching them the closer they get. As for the gifts, I got a clock at 5 years but it no longer keeps the time. To commemorate my tenth year I will receive a massive Lucite desk ornament that resembles a crystal structure that would make the Son of Jor-El proud. (You all remember Marlon Brando as Superman’s father in Superman, right?)

What have I been able to accomplish in 10 years at the ‘Soft? First, here are the products I have shipped over the years:

  1. Visual J++ (Windows Foundation Classes DHTML Controls)
  2. Internet Explorer 5 (DHTML Editing Control)
  3. Visual Studio 2002 (Web Forms Designer)
  4. ASP.NET 1.0 (Performance & Stress)
  5. Visual Studio 2003 (Windows Forms Designer)
  6. Visual Studio 2005 (Visual Web Developer)
  7. ASP.NET AJAX 1.0
  8. Windows Vista (IIS7)
  9. Silverlight 1.0
  10. Windows Server 2008 (IIS7)
  11. Visual Studio 2008 (Visual Web Developer)
  12. Expression Studio 2 (Web, Blend, Design, Media, Encoder, Subscription)

I also helped orchestrate the launch of the following Microsoft sites over the last 2 years:

Yes, I have met Bill and Steve. I’ve also had the opportunity to talk with James who has been on Microsoft’s Board of Directors since 2001.

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MIX 08 is a Wrap

Microsoft MIX: The Next Web Now It has been an eventful and, by all accounts, successful week for Team Microsoft here in Las Vegas.

The UX Summit went more smoothly than the previous three—several participants commented my involvement helped considerably. MIX was an amazing experience for customers, partners, trade press, industry analysts and employees alike. We stepped up and delivered a compelling story that has resulted in some very favorable reporting on top tech news sites and blogs.

My team pulled off the Expression 2 MIX communications plan, which we have been working on since January with our internal PR team and our agency account executives at Waggener Edstrom. You would be amazed how much work goes into a press release, press kit, and an executive blog post (penned by yours truly). I am especially proud of that last item since Soma is a newly-minted Senior Vice President at Microsoft and he keeps a tight rein on what gets published on his blog.

The following list of articles include quotes attributed to me from a subset of press interviews and analyst briefings at MIX:

All in all, I could not feel more pleased with the results of this week. It is onward and upward from here as we head into fiscal year 2009 planning, the MIX Essentials events happening around the world, Tech-Ed US and PDC this fall.

MIXing it up in Las Vegas

Microsoft MIX LogoWow, have things been busy!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know it is that time of the year again. The 3rd annual Microsoft MIX conference kicks off this week (Wednesday) at the same location, the Venetian in Las Vegas. I arrived in Vegas just before 11 PM tonight in preparation for the User Experience (UX) Summit I am co-hosting on Monday and Tuesday prior to MIX. This week is going to be packed. As with previous events, there are some major announcements planned for MIX and lots to discuss with our fellow UX Summit attendees.

This is the fourth UX Summit which, twice a year, brings together roughly 60 Microsoft employees from around the world to plan strategy and tactics for advancing Microsoft’s platform and tools products for the Web, Windows and devices. Attendees include Microsoft Expression product managers, designer audience marketing managers and user experience evangelists for the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, India, Korea, Japan, China, etc. I have been involved with MIX since the inaugural show (ahh, the early days) and I have participated in every UX Summit (including the one last fall in Madrid). However, this is my first time officially co-hosting the event with one of my colleagues in the Developer & Platform Evangelism group. It is one of the new duties I have since completing a massive re-org within my parent organization which began before Thanksgiving and was officially rolled out in mid-January.

My friends and family always ask exactly what it is I do at Microsoft. It is now actually quite simple to articulate: I lead the team of product managers for Microsoft’s designer audience and tools. Our responsibilities include inbound/outbound marketing of Microsoft Expression Studio, a suite of tools for professional designers, and designer audience marketing. If you are a designer or developer using or considering Microsoft products to create Web or Windows applications, chances are high you have already come across our work. If not, click here or here or here to visit the marketing and community sites created and managed by my team. We have been very busy, indeed.

I will capture this week’s activities on my blog as time permits. I need to get some sleep since we’ll be going from 7 AM to ~11 PM tomorrow. I won’t be getting much sleep between now and when I return to Seattle on Friday. The good news is TB is coming down on Wednesday night so we can celebrate her birthday together in Vegas.

1-800-CALL-411

live-search-411 On the go with your mobile phone in hand, Microsoft’s free 1-800-CALL-411 (Live Search 411) service helps you find the information you need and get to the places you want to go. You can access the service from any land line as well.

I had a chance to use the service several times while in Chicago and found it extremely easy to navigate and very easy to use. I was highly impressed by the time-saving convenience features that have made me a an immediate fan. For example, there is the “Text me this Info” feature that sends the listing information (address, phone number and link to a map) to your phone via SMS—if you call from your mobile, of course.

Yellow Pages? Check.
White Pages? Check.
Traffic, Movies, Weather? Check. Check. Check.

This service is under Microsoft’s Live Services—which includes Live Search, Live Mail (Hotmail), Live Local (Maps), etc. A lot of the technology came over as part of the Tellme Networks acquisition in March 2007 and is being integrated with ideas coming out of Microsoft Research. Many of you are already familiar with the Tellme technology if you have ever dialed 1-800-555-1212 or 1-800-555-TELL.

Repeat after me: “Only chumps dial 411. The cool kids dial 1-800-CALL-411.”