Family Health Guy

In which Sean talks about HealthVault and other cool ideas in Personal Health

All Three Things

All Three Things

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Have I mentioned that we've got a lot going on over here? So... well, we could really use some help getting it all done. Eric beat me to the punch with his recruiting post, but I thought I would follow with some thoughts of my own as well.

One of my roles with Health Solutions is to be the "as appropriate" for interview loops. The group is too big now for me to talk to everyone we hire, but I try to do as many as possible. One of the cool things about being the "asapp" is that I get the benefit of some great filters; candidates who make it to me have generally done pretty well through the first part of their day.

One thing I try to do for these folks is make sure they get their questions answered. Frankly, these questions are often as telling about likely success on our team as the problems and questions we ask of the candidates. But one question is always the same, and always comes up: "Why are you working here?"

I love getting asked that question. My biggest problem when I get started on this is remembering to watch the clock so I shut up with enough time to take care of the rest of the interview.

The short story is this. I look for three things in a job:

  1. I want to work with great people and have fun.
  2. I want to do something really positive for the world.
  3. I want my products to make a great deal of money, so they continue to exist.

This is, for real, the first time I have gotten all three at once. Two out of three -- no problem. But all three? It just doesn't happen. Well, except here. In the Health Solutions Group. Where, as I may have mentioned, we're hiring.

The long story is, I came back to help create the Health Solutions group after ten years away from Microsoft. This was not part of my life plan -- I dearly love being on my own. On my own, I learned how to build companies and teams from scratch, had the opportunity to work in a bunch of different industries, and had the very good fortune to create a situation where I could work a relatively easy schedule, spending lots of time with my family, and still do quite ok for myself.

So when Peter asked me to join, I said sure -- I'll help part-time on contract, but I'm not looking to return to being a full-time part of the behemoth that is Microsoft.

As an aside; it wasn't because I had anything against Microsoft. I started my career as a classic Microsoft Brat. When I was a junior at college I decided I should do an internship somewhere, so I sent two letters: one to Steve Jobs and one to Bill Gates. I never heard back from Steve, but a couple of weeks later somebody from Microsoft called, asked me a few questions, flew me out for an interview (which was absolutely freaking terrifying by the way), and then -- here is the amazing thing -- offered me actual money to write code. Needless to say, I was sold, and except for a small detour to finish my degree spent the next six years learning how to really build great software. So while I fully recognize and often am quite vocal about our flaws, please don't throw me in with the smarmy bunch that picks on Microsoft from a position of ignorance.

Anyways -- my part-time enagement with Microsoft lasted all of three months. It became immediately clear to me that this company was really committed to helping make a positive impact on healthcare. The commitment I saw from Craig Mundie and Steve Ballmer was unbelievable -- not just an incubation or an experiment, but a real commitment to see through a process of transformation that is sure to take years. And a recognition that this was going to take a new kind of group, one that leveraged not only the strengths of Microsoft but also the smarts and experience of folks from the startup world AND the healthcare world.

Once again, I was sold. I rejoined the company full-time in January 2006, and it has been the best career choice I have ever made. Two years later, we have created this crazily eclectic group of dedicated, amazing people. We are truly, really changing the world for the better. And yes, we have a business plan that is going to keep us alive for many years to come. All three things.

Everybody here has a story. If you run into anybody from the group -- ask them why they're part of Health Solutions at Microsoft. You'll hear about the guy who put his career on hold to care for a spouse with autoimmune disease; or the person who had to go back to India to try to get adequate care for a terminally-ill parent; or the mom who strugged to find alternative therapy when she was told that her prematurely-born son would never speak (by the way, that preemie is now studying lines for his first Shakespeare performance).

If you can write code, build interfaces, test products, work with partners, write documentation, manage projects, or anything else that will help -- come talk to us. Our career site has a list of open positions, or you can directly contact our indefatigable recruiter Tracey and she will get you pointed in the right direction.

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