OK, so Microsoft are hosting a huge tech'stravaganza for all its technical people in Seattle called TechReady. Franky was kind enough to let me go over a few days earlier to get a real feel for what Microsoft's home based in Redmond is like. Along the way, I'm planning on catching up with some really cool people...

So my first day at Microsoft, Redmond started with my very dear friend Jason McConnell, who is not only an ex-Developer Evangelist from Melbourne, but is now a Technical Product Manager for Visual Studio in Redmond! He picked me up in his unbelievably awesome BMW M3 coupe, which not only goes like the clappers but sounds unreal! The first stop was his office so that I could pick up his digital camera, then he was off for a meeting, and I was off to get my security pass sorted.

So off to Building 8 I went, got my pass setup so I could access the campus buildings (Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond is split up into a number of buildings, clustered like that of a university campus). On my way to my next appointment, I was lucky to see one of our most valuable and indispensable products, also known as MSDS!

My next catch-up was with Office SmartClient extraordinaire, Amy Strande. Amy looks after the Enterprise side of SmartClient development (she helped orchestrate the SmartClient Customer Event I ran in Melbourne during May), and shared some awesome tidbits on what’s new in Office12. One addition, which I’m not allowed to speak about, blew my socks off! Let’s just say, for all those who use InfoPath, and have always wanted some way to access your forms online, you should see what’s in store with Office12!

With out meeting over, Amy offered to walk me to the cafeteria before her next meeting, and I mentioned that it was awesome to be in Building 18, the home of Developer Evangelism. With that, we passed none other than Robert Scoble’s office, and low and behold, the great man himself was working away. We had a brief chat about blogging and podcasting (Rob was convinced podcasting needed “shtick” to draw the punters in, whereas blogging is more accessible as it can be discovered by other means (google, OPML’s). Rob also asked me to look after a VIP while I was in Seattle, and accompany him home to Melbourne with me. How could I say no, so I was introduced to Clarry, and we both headed over to the cafeteria for some lunch.

Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters are huge, and are not only well laid out, but also amazingly maintained (for such a large set of facilities). It’s very much like a little town, with many of the standard infrastructure and amenities that are normally provided by councils and principalities; including branded Starbucks coffee!

My next stop is the Microsoft Company Store; I have a few events coming up, such as the Monash Information Technology Society Install Day, and I need to pick up some goodies for the day.

Tomorrow will be another great day as I will be catching up with Eric Lee, Rob Caron and Erik Gunvaldson to get their thoughts on Visual Studio Team System; then, now and the future.

From Clarry and I, Auf Wiederseh!