I had a chance to chat with Sandy Khaund today (I know, people at Microsoft actually TALKING to each other! without the aid of computers! how NUTS is that!!??!!) about Gotdotnet closing its doors in July 2007.We reminisced about the good, bad, and the bitchy (that last was me of course :) ) and what Gotdotnet means in the grand scheme of things.
Gotdotnet when it launched in 2000 was a symbol, created by an upstart team, to show the potential of .NET and a publishing mechanism that bypassed MSDN a bit to get the latest beta code and information out there. It pioneered .NET sample repositories and employee BlogX blogs and collaborative code-sharing workspaces all living on the .NET framework. It went nuts and took off like a rocket.
I remember telling earlier team members Andy Oakley & Chris Mowrer & Tina Dow that to me, the spirit of Gotdotnet is "Never Say Die." It was a hard community to kill, even as the site sputtered, and then GDN found new life under the MSCOM communities team (and by extracting many gray hairs, sleepless nights and a pound of flesh from yours truly).
It was here Mary Jo Foley once called me "Gotdotnet's fix-it woman."
It was here Sandy decided I was an Irish samurai (although frankly, every time I read that phrase I think about Belushi more than Bushido, if you know what I mean.)
It was here 6 out of 9 vendors who worked on the site, immediately got married -- and after I left the team, the rest got wed. (Let that be a lesson to us all: .NET development = LUV).
It was here I learned what community passion really is - and I don't mean per se me feeling the passion, I mean people who loved the site, expected more, pushed us to be better, told us where to go and where to put it. They made me a better pm, a better community advocate, and a faster command line typer (though I suspect I will never be a proper customer service rep).
Moving the focus of collaborative projects and developer community to CodePlex is hardly a real goodbye as that Gotdotnet spirit lives on in the folks that are coding, joking, swapping info, and finding new ways to explore the technologies that make the world a cooler place. Moving Microsoft employee blogs from Gotdotnet to the .Text platform in 2004 likewise wasn't a goodbye, it was a chance for blogs.msdn.com and blogs.technet.com to grow. It's hard for me to imagine this change as anything but another chance for more community goodness to continue. And remember, this from the woman who would literally feel punched in the gut if she discovered Gotdotnet down. My gut says this one's okay.
Technologies and times may change. It's the people who are the most important.
Live it vivid!