What a title, and yes they do have one thing in common.

Me...

I arrived on campus, a couple of weeks ago and pretty much spent most of my time meeting with lots of people from different teams throughout Microsoft. I mainly focused on the UX story overall, where are we heading and how long are we going to take to get there.

I hung out with the Silverlight folks, whom are bursting tell all their secrets on where it's going, how things are tracking and where it will end up, but sadly I can't share that with you - Note to self, stay away from beers for a while..

It was interesting to see how far Silverlight has gone from this time last year, to where it is today, and where it's heading tommorow. It's something I'm proud to be apart of that's for sure.

I can't wait for MIX08 when you're hopefully going to be amazed at how far we have truly come. I did manage to bump into Scott Guthrie couple of Sunday's ago and he showed me some snippets of what he's got planned, and was not only impressed with the approach but also how excited he was about it ( I mean come on, it's the Gu right - well VP-Gu now..).

I also got to meet Ian Ellison Taylor (General Manager) (Sorry Mike & Joe, you're both amazing but come on..) and he was telling me the story of Windows (he must get sick of that story), specifically the Start bar and how it came about. Fascinating story, and I'd love to share but not sure which parts are public and which aren't, so I'll stay this side of the legal line and simply say - what an amazing insight.

(You can watch an interview here that Dr Legend Sneath put together before my time.. http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=284474)

In Ian's building, I also walked past the Microsoft Surface table, and immediately sat down to play with it. It's an amazing toy to play with and I was surprised I not only got to play with it by myself but most simply walked passed as if it was some plant or permanent fixture... Building 10 folks are spoiled..

I accidentally left my ID badge on the table and by the time I caught a campus bus, I got an email from Peter Blois (Program Manager on the Expression Team) telling me he found it and immediately grabbed him for a coffee to see what's happening around Expression.

Again, can't say much but there is one feature where I was excited and guys like Peter are at the helm of making sure the code comes together around these sweet products (Peter basically never sleeps).

I also spent a lot of time with other entities within Microsoft, focused on RIA and there is movement within the beast!

Last week, I did manage to head across the road from where I was staying and visit a friend over at Valve Software (Makers of TeamFortress 2, Half Life etc). Robin Walker, gave me the 50c tour of Valve HQ and it was really cool to see how these folks put together some of the best games on earth - literally. I also got Robin's inside view of how TeamFortress came about, in that how it went form a "realistic" looking game to where it's today, in Team Fortress 2.

I did get to briefly meet Dhabih Sijun, one of the best Photoshop artists I've ever known, and it was interesting to see how his influence on the art helped change the way TeamFortress 2 looks today.

I meet with a lot of really exciting and interesting people from all backgrounds and different companies (Google, Amazon, Adobe etc) (Yes even had a beer with Ryan Stewart at Adobe).

It was a fun trip, and now I'm back in Australia (even though for 11 days and back to the US) I've come to the conclusion, I'm without doubt spoiled.

I am meeting legends in the industry and feel I am cheating somehow.

That being said, I'll have some personal news I'll announce soon, but suffice to say I'm both excited and terrified.

Special thanks to Mike Harsh & Joshua Allen for letting me hang out in their offices between meetings and stealing their network connection. Also to Brian Goldfarb and Brad Becker for their effort! :)

I now understand the metaphor of "standing on the shoulder of giants"

(The list of people I'd like to thank for their time is long, and thank you to those teams who not only invited me into their team meetings, but had also asked my counsel on their upcoming directions around their respective products. I felt overwhelmed and hopefully I didn't waste your time!)

Can't wait for MIX08, as it's going to be a crazy time and I cannot believe I landed in Brisbane this morning, flying to Sydney tomorrow and then coming back to pack for MIX08.. Qantas better suckup to my AMEX card heh.

p.s

Chuck and Frank are doing fine, they each have a window office and it shows they not only know where all the Microsoft bodies are buried, but also have the shovels.. (translation: In Microsoft it's apparently hard to get a window office and these two got them straight away - POWER People..POWER..).. so far my blog is briefly outranking Chuck's.. he seems to think my luck is about to change, but i think I'll have a trick or two up my sleeve :)