*** UPDATE:  Thanks to everyone for all your kind words and wishes in my new role. 

I have decided to move my blogging to http://www.looselytyped.net

where things will stay much the same but with a slightly more personal twist.

My last day at Microsoft will be November the 1st 2011.

Starting November 2nd I will be moving to open Provoke Solution’s brand new branch/subsidiary in Seattle, WA, USA.  (Press Release here: http://www.provoke.co.nz/about/13-10-11.html)

Provoke are are Microsoft Gold Partner headquartered in my home country New Zealand.  I will lead their expansion in the US with the first office in Seattle, Washington and aim to grow their US business into a highly successful and vibrant Microsoft partner focusing on systems integration (SI) and packaged software (ISV). 

I’m not leaving SharePoint.  Not by a long way!  The new venture will focus will be on SharePoint implementations and custom development projects.

This was one of the toughest decisions of my professional career, but I am sure it wont be the last.

Microsoft has provided me with phenomenal opportunities over the last 9 years and I have grown personally and professionally in ways I never would have imagined when I joined.

Some memories of my time here….

I joined Microsoft New Zealand in Aug 2002 as a dev consultant helping customers build solutions on our stack.  Not long after that I started working on Content Management Server 2002 projects, which naturally led me to SharePoint.  (all roads lead to SharePoint after all!)  At that time the two were very separate products and customers wanted to build Intranets like sites they did with CMS02, but they wanted SharePoint collab capabilities at the same time.  There were lots of “creative” ways of doing this.  Needless to say I am glad the products came together eventually and Intranets around the world rejoiced :)

I got to travel the world for various projects and training events.  I will never forget my first MGB event in New Orleans with Bill Gates.  Steve B came out swinging to Eye of the Tiger and ran around chest bumping and high fiving people for about 20mins.  I honestly thought he was going to die on stage he looked so exhausted.  I just loved the passion and commitment and enjoyed it a lot.   This was officially my first proper Kool-Aid moment … and ill never forget it.

(MGB pics … 25,000 ppl strong)

IMG_0923IMG_0924

After some time in New Zealand I started doing some work around the Asia-Pacific region around the Office and SharePoint 2007 launch.  This was awesome and got to visit Japan, Korea, Australia, Singapore and India in a mega 3 week training tour.  It was a really fun product launch and people were lapping up the new stuff.  I joined the SharePoint Ranger team covering the APAC area and got to work on some really gnarly deployments that we needed to ensure worked out right.  This team is sponsored and paid for by the SharePoint Product Management Group (PMG) in Redmond, and this is what ultimately led me to Redmond.

I moved with my wife Vicki to Redmond in May 2007 to join the SharePoint engineering team working on O14, what became SharePoint 2010.  It was great fun and I was able to work on our “Virtual Lists” that got named functionality aka External Lists built on Business Connectivity Services or the BDC at the time.  I also got to work on things like allowing devs to install SharePoint on Windows 7, the Client Side Object Model, Visual Studio tooling efforts with amazing people like Mike Morton, VSeWSS tools and a few other things.  It was an incredible learning experience see an engineering engine that is part of the overall Office group produce and support software used by literally 100s of millions of people.  Its very hard to explain the scale of the operation and its hard to truly appreciate the effort put in by the people that work on the project unless you have seen it in motion.

Not long after we hit code complete on O14 (about 20 months after I joined) I moved to the SharePoint Marketing team.  In my field role I had worked with Arpan and Richard and new it was the right place for me.  I started in early 2009 and got the opportunity to help launch SharePoint 2010 through efforts ranging from training to press to keynote demos to all the things we build to help partners and MS field to sell SharePoint all over the world.  Its staggering the monumental effort a billion+ dollar product launch is and its amazing to see the whole group working feverishly on making sure it’s a success.  Again, being part of it is something I will never forget.

The Next Phase…

Now it’s time to jump into the next phase of my career, building a business.  I want to build on the wonderful experiences I have had with SharePoint to date and become part of the most vibrant ecosystem around any product I have ever seen.

I’ll definitely be a part of the SharePoint community via various SharePoint events and on @LoungeFlyZ via Twitter of course.  I hope to bump into all my friends and acquaintances … and of course I will be at SharePoint Conference 2012 !!!!,. but in a slightly more relaxed mode as an attendee this time :)

I have made some great friends as part of this journey and I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunities I have had here. 

Till next time…

-CJ.