Tommorrow I start my sixth year at Microsoft.  I can certainly sympathesize with those whose birthdays' are on 9/11.  That's my MS birthday (in Y2K) and I'm not sure whether I should be happy or be sad as I recall my first day and a year later the vivid memory of one MS employee from NY in her office receiving phone call after phone call relaying the news of numerous lost friends.  On my second day at Microsoft, 5 years ago tommorrow, I flew down to a conference in San Diego to present to a group of MS internal folks on a technology that no-one knew about (BizTalk), that had some pretty confusing terminology (there are 2 types of ports), had a tutorial that really didn't work (I know how you feel when tutorials are broken) and I was still very much learning in real-time (Thanks Larry&Susie).  I had flown from NZ into the USA two days earlier and I didn't even have a US bank account, let alone a credit card which caused some hilarity when it came to the "pay for the hotel" step.  By the end of the trip I had earned the nickname "BootBoy" for reasons that someone else can explain :). 

Today - 5 years later - the BizTalk Server community is booming as developers around the world use BizTalk Server for EAI, B2B and BPM projects.  Indeed, you can find about 2 million hits on the web if you search for "BizTalk Server".  It has been a pleasure working with so many of you.  We have come a long ways, yet we have lots of opportunity ahead to make it even simpler to integrate applications and trading partners using business process management.

This week at PDC we will have two sessions dedicated to BizTalk Server.  The first by Joe Sharp is focused on the BizTalk Server 2006 capabilities.  The second by Patric McElroy will give you a glimpse into some future thinking (mostly >> 2006).  If you aren't on site then you will find some of Patric's demos (not all but some) make there way to Channel 9 along with a brief glimpse of some guy wearing an All Blacks vs. Lions tee-shirt<g> . 

While I'm not giving a PDC technical session I'll be run off my feet with other commitments on site, especially on Wednesday.  So if you see me feel free to say hi!  Indeed, tommorrow as I get on a plane and again fly down to California, this time to Los Angeles, it makes me giggle inside how much this trip has in common with my 2nd day 5 years ago...