So it's a really non-kept secret that when you write the Gotdotnet.com feedback alias, you get me. Yep, just me. No customer service rep in a remote place (although Redmond can seem sometimes very remote), no robot voice saying "Please hold," no perky.
Which I sort of regret. It being a lifelong regret, that of not really being able to master perky. Perky gets you marketing gloss and overall business approval and no doubt higher salaries and better shoes. But the one customer that I suspect mistrusts perky like the plague - which is where I come in - is the developer. Perhaps it is all for the best.
So that means the Gotdotnet community gets me on the fly, at work, like a normal human being at Microsoft (drowning in email up to the brain follicles, if the brain had follicles). They get me just like I get them - raw, uncensored, uncut and caffeinated. It's a meeting of the minds. One of us, or both of us, may be cranky. I've had literally hundreds of these electronic meetings a month.
Some days, like any retail salesperson I have sore feet and a tired brain (no perky shoes), but there are times when the community work just soars above and beyond any of the tasks I have to do as a site-manager-turned-program-manager. It's because the folks themselves soar above. It's funny, it can be sad ("Why is hotmail not working?"); it's better than watching cable and it changes the idea that what I do in my day job is meaningless.
Today I had one Workspace user - a network admin frustrated because he's having variable results on 3 different machines we are troubleshooting together - offered to do whatever he could to help, including let me to remote into his machine to help our team's debugging efforts. (Can't do that, but there's naked trust on a stick right there people. Thanks for believing, but be wary out there... :) )
I've had community members write me haikus about how they feel when the site doesn't work. I have a folder in my Inbox called "Hall of Fame" and this one was in it:
Why site no workey?Slow as melting beef jerkey.Workspace pool of broth.
Despite my angst around managing the site, I had to laugh. (Dangit, Diet Coke up the nose). And what it means is some developer took the time from being mad at us to create art - goofy art, even better.
Troubleshooting Workspaces, by the way, we are doing now. It's slow because we are trying to figure out why some users have issues and others don't. See the FAQ at http://www.gotdotnet.com/team/betsy/workspacesfaq.aspx for workarounds that may assist you if you have issues).
I've seen Gotdotnet users over and over again stop what they are doing (because Betsy doesn't scale) and help out another user. I've had users who were livid apologize when they realized there was a real person listening real-time. I've seen the alchemical reaction where users take a site that with a retro-1999 flare and turn it into gold. (And you thought disco was hard!)
I've learned a lot from just working with you folks and appreciate your patience with me and with each other. So in this holiday season, a special shoutout to the Gotdotnet folks I am thankful for.
Live it vivid!