Ok, so day two of my Redmond experience started out with a taxi ride to the office. Seattle drivers are painfully polite, and very tentative about performing specific driving actions such as merging in traffic. I kind of like their “I’m going to close my eyes now and hum loudly as I move into the next lane” approach to merging in traffic. My taxi driver didn’t seem to agree with me though, and did his best to penetrate the “humming” barrier of one driver with some of the best Ethiopian/English profanity I’ve ever enjoyed.

Anyway, I arrived safely and securely at Building 42, where I experienced the full visual and physical assault of meeting Matthew “Hardman” Hardman, ex-Developer Evangelist from Australia, now Regional Developer Boss Man in ASIAPAC. Matty was one of the first Developer Evangelists in Australia, and was even voted Best Speaker at Tech.Ed ‘02 (he actually carries the award on his person everywhere he goes, and showed it to me). I also wasn’t aware that he and Jason McConnell where founding members of Microsoft (see picture at left).

I then caught up with Erik Gunvaldson in the customer experience labs in Building 20; this was such an awesome experience. There are heaps of labs that are filled with machines that are imaged with the very latest versions of our products, including an Xbox lab (I was caught loitering around there by one of the guys who was setting up a lab, and then ran off like a scared schoolgirl). Erik was setting up a bunch of VSTS labs for an upcoming customer training event this coming week, and we had a great opportunity to swap stories of customer experiences with VSTS. He was using the very latest build of VSTS, and even had one of the developers from the product team there tweaking the registry; unreal!

I left him casting images across the labs, and headed back to Building 42, where I had the pleasure of catching-up with Eric Lee. Eric is the Product Manager for Visual Studio Team System, and I was keen to have a chat to him about the original vision for VSTS, and where it’s heading. Eric has had a really cool journey in Microsoft, from working originally on J++, to now being the point man on VSTS. I’ve heard alot of good things about Eric, and after meeting him, they are all true. Not only is he a natural evangelist, but is also truly passionate about developers.

Last year, I really got into blogging, and am loving it; but this year, I really want to get into podcasting. So I asked Eric if he would mind me recording our conversation, so that I could produce a podcast. He said yes, and with the help of the Channel 9 team, I’m going to get my first podcast up on Channel 9 in the next few weeks. My vision for these podcasts is to use Channel 9 as a vehicle for Australian focused content; Aussie identities with Aussie contextual content. I know my first few are going to be clumsy, so please be gentle listeners while I grow some podcasting grey hair.

My next adventure for the day was a visit to the Company Store (just an employee store where you can get Microsoft goodies cheap) and the Microsoft Museum (this was where the picture of Jase and Matty was taken). To be honest, there wasn’t much to rant about there, except the historical stuff, some really cool old pictures and magazines of Microsoft and Bill G in the early days.

Finally, just a picture of a shop I snapped after dinner last night (at right).

What can I say…guns and money, go together in perfect harmony..