Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A fuller spectrum of Bryan

I've been sitting on a significant piece of news in order to not steal Summer's thunder. In an effort to cram two years worth of stressful life events into a single week, I left Microsoft on Oct. 31 (4 business days before Summer was born). On November 1st, I became an man.

Astute readers will note that this move is not as drastic as it sounds. MSNBC is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal. This means I get a lot of the Microsoft plusses (resources) without a lot of the minuses (corporate bureaucracy). In fact, my new office is still on Microsoft campus, a mere 300 yards from my old one.

More fundamentally, this shift represents another step along the path I started back in grad school. In essence, I've been travelling along the ideas-technology-business spectrum. Let me explain:
  1. Grad School -- This was all about pursuing ideas for their own sake. Although we were solving real problems, it didn't matter if the horizon for widespread application was many years off.

  2. Microsoft -- I was on a platform team. Only developers directly interacted with my "product." It was all about the technology. Technical contributors were more or less insulated from business considerations.

  3. MSNBC -- With Microsoft as a parent, you can bet we have a strong technology bent. Nevertheless, projects without strong business justification don't see the light of day.

My expectations have not been disappointed. On Friday, we held a kickoff meeting for the first big project I'll be working on. I expected to discuss features and schedules. Instead, we spent the time debating the practical value of the project.

I think I'm going to like it here.

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