With apologies to Lyle Lovett....

I'm spending this week in Texas; specifically, at Microsoft's Las Colinas Customer Support Center in Irving, Tx. Now why in the world would I do that, voluntarily? Well, I'll tell you...

Each year as I review my performance, I look at ways I can improve. Everyone at Microsoft should do this, and most people I know here do a healthy amount of introspection during review time. Normally, you take a look around at training and work experience opportunities, and choose 1 or 2 that you'd like to do this year. The last couple of years I'd been choosing people manager training opportunities. This year I wanted to do something different. In my first 6 years at Microsoft, I'd worked on components that shipped in VB5 and VB6, Visual Interdev 1.0 and 6.0, SQL 7.0, as well as Office Developer 9.5 and 10. But I have been working on Expression since July 2002, and it's been a long time since I've truly 'walked in the customers shoes'.

So here I am in Texas, and I'm going to spend a week here, building a relationship with my product's Customer Support Engineers, listening to calls, understanding their workflow, with the goal of bringing back to my group more customer focus.