I’m Joining Microsoft!
Despite living in Seattle for almost all of my adult life, I haven’t actually worked for a local company in almost ten years. Remote work is great in so many ways, but in-person collaboration is what gives me life.
In confident pursuit of that feeling, I’m thrilled to be joining Microsoft to run Design & Research for their Web Experiences organization.
I was Microsoft-adjacent 10 years ago at MSNBC.com in Building 25, but this will be my first time as a blue badge, so to speak. I’m also thrilled to be joining Liz Danzico and John Maeda, who have also started at Microsoft in the last several months. I’ve known them both for a long time and have wanted to work with them forever.
There are several things which drew me to this opportunity, but at the top of the list is the people. Not just Liz and John, but the thousands of teammates in Seattle, Vancouver, Hyderabad, Barcelona, Beijing, and many other cities. There are certainly some great solo efforts in tech, but almost all of the best work I’ve been around has been the result of getting the right people jammin’ with each other. In my first several days here, I’ve already met so many of those people, and I can’t wait to continue the momentum Albert Shum created by carrying the torch for one of the best Design & Research teams in the Pacific Northwest.
The second thing I’m super excited about is the scale of the work. I’ve worked on the largest sports site in the world and one of the largest social networks in the world, but the properties in this group reach well over a billion people. Between the (refreshingly fast!) Edge browser, MSN, Bing, and several other products, Microsoft has quietly built up one of the top five properties in the world in terms of traffic and reach. They’ve also done it with humility, knowing how far they are from being perfect. I also love that so many of these products can and will be so much more as we begin to use some of the technology that’s emerging within Microsoft. In my first two weeks, I’m already overflowing with ideas.
Finally, the other thing I’m most excited about is getting back into the office in a flexible hybrid environment. I’ve worked in-person for most of my career and remotely for the last four years, and where I’ve landed is that everyone’s preferences are different, and it’s just tradeoffs all the way down. Where you land depends on a mix of your personality, your life outside of work, and what type of job you have. For me personally, I very much like being around people and feel like I do better work when I am… but I also like getting back my commute time a couple of days a week and making daily jogging more convenient. Also, Henry (pictured above) enjoys the extra lap time. Microsoft’s hybrid policy is a nice balance, and it sounds like exactly the right setup for someone like me.
Speaking of the exactly right, this also feels — for me at least — like exactly the right time to join Microsoft. The company has been through several distinct eras over the decades, but this feels like the era of re-commitment to the planet. To customers delightful experiences, to employees a great environment, and to the natural world, a smaller and eventually negative carbon footprint.
It’s a new year, and I couldn’t be any more here for it!