It’s the last day of voting in the ComputerWeekly.com IT Blog Awards 08 – congrats to all the nominees including my fellow Microsofties, Helen and the LG Team and my pal Paul Fabretti.
Thanks to everyone who voted for me and if you didn’t get around to it, there are still a few hours left. You can find me under Company Blogs along with David Overton and Eileen Brown and our ISV team. My old mate Jason Langridge is also in there under Wireless and Mobile and Steve Lamb is there for security.
A friend of mine in Microsoft recently published a great internal document a he titled Growing As A Technical Leader and was kind enough to ask me to contribute through answering five questions he gave me. It was thought provoking enough that I decided to share the questions and answers here.
Q: What is your current role and how does your day to day job look like? A: My current role is S+S Lead for Microsoft International. A typical day involves getting up mid morning but working later in to the evening as I spend lots of time on the phone with colleagues in Redmond discussing S+S strategy, rollout plans, business models and generally providing WW field input.
Q: What are the toughest challenges you face? A: The toughest challenge is keeping on top of and focusing on only a few areas of technology – there are so many exciting products and technologies to take up my interest.
Q: How do you approach these challenges? I try to go offline for periods of time. It gets harder and harder but I often stockpile a lot of interesting document and print them out (sorry, I still enjoy paper). Then I go find a quiet place to read them – sort of like Bill Gates Think Week’s but more “Think Days”. I think all of my previous team heard this advice from me at some point or other.
Q: What are your secrets to become a technical leader? I think one real secret is find a niche and become an expert in it – become known as the go to person for that topic. It makes you indispensable and a hub of information. Always be looking for the next niche though as once a product has become mainstream more people will become the experts.
Q: What are the two most important skills a technical leader requires to have? A thirst for information and an ability to turn technology in to something that makes sense to your parents.
Q: How did you develop these skills? By trying to put myself in the shoes of the customer – or my parents. It’s easy to get caught up in technology and forget that people will only really buy it or use it if they can see the benefit for them. It’s a real skill to be able to make technology real for people through stories, analogies or listening to their issues and relating technology back to those.
Q: Do you have a specific technique (e.g. problem solving) you would like to share? Networking – lots of people ask me about this. The secret to networking is figuring out what you can give to the other person, not what they can give to you.
I know some of the answers are brief but I’d love to develop further if you have questions a some of this will hopefully be part of a book I’d like to write this year.
In my final post on Vista today and just to please @dahowlett - Essential Downloads for Vista - another great find from Sarah – where does she find the time? :)
In the US only it seems for now – I like it though and the Live Search blog has all the details. Be sure to check out the hotspots
Video: Windows Vista Demo: Instant Search
Not content with Mojave, the Vista team are pushing out some videos showing in simple terms some of the cool features of Vista. I’m liking this back to basics approach.