This feels like a mega-spam entry, and I'm very self conscious about posting it, but I'm excited about this and I wanted to share . . .
I just published my third book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives. I mention it here because it's all about growing up in the 70s, and coming of age in the 80s as part of the D&D/BBS/video game/Star Wars figures generation, and I think a lot of Slashdot readers will relate to the stories in it.
I published a few of the stories on my blog, including Blue Light Special. It's about the greatest challenge a ten year-old could face in 1982: save his allowance, or buy Star Wars figures?
After our corduroy pants and collared shirts and Trapper Keepers and economy packs of pencils and wide-ruled paper were piled up in our cart, our mom took our three year-old sister with her to the make-up department to get shampoo and whatever moms buy in the make-up department, and my brother and I were allowed to go to the toy department.
"Can I spend my allowance?" I said.
"If that's what you want to do," my mom said, another entry in a long string of unsuccessful passive/aggressive attempts to encourage me to save my money for . . . things you save money for, I guess. It was a concept that was entirely alien to me at nine years old.
"Keep an eye on Jeremy," she said.
"Okay," I said. As long as Jeremy stood right at my side and didn't bother me while I shopped, and as long as he didn't want to look at anything of his own, it wouldn't be a problem.
I held my brother's hand as we tried to walk, but ended up running, across the store, past a flashing blue light special, to the toy department. Once there, we wove our way past the bicycles and board games until we got to the best aisle in the world: the one with the Star Wars figures.
I'm really proud of this book, and the initial feedback on it has been overwhelmingly positive. I've been reluctant to mention it here, because of the spam issue, but I honestly do think my stories will appeal to Slashdotters.
After the disaster with O'Reilly on Just A Geek, I've decided to try this one entirely on my own, so I'm responsible for the publicity, the marketing, the shipping, and . . . well, everything. If this one fails, it will be because of me, not because a marketing department insisted on marketing it as something it's not.
Of course, I hope I can claim the same responsibility if (when?) it finds its audience . . . which would be awesome.
What happens after you've created an exceptional product like Gnumeric? Well, you have to get your customers to buy it, use it, and ideally, love it. That even holds true for things as ubiquitous as Novell's ODF to MSOOXML.NET conversion software, exchange connector, mono.NET and silverlight.NET
I am responsible for moonlight.NET deployment and adoption. In a nutshell, my job is all about unlocking the value in Microsoft.NET products. For example, you can only experience the value of a chocolate chip cookie once you "deploy" it to your mouth or the value in a pair of running shoes once you "deploy" them to your feet. It's the same with Novell software, our customers only realize the value of mono.NET, silverlight.NET and Office Open XML exporter once our technology is "deployed" on their computer. My job is to develop strategies and tools that make the job of deploying and adopting Microsoft.NET software as clear, simple, and no-brainer as possible.
In my early job hunts, Microsoft was the most obvious fit--I'm not a very innovative guy. But on my first interview at Microsoft it took me 30 minutes just to find the latch to open my laptop (though I did successfully find the "on" button pretty quickly). I think that's why my brief time at Micosoft has played such a vital part in my career development.
Success in my role isn't about understanding technology, it's about understanding the
I also have to figure out how to connect with customers directly, to convince them that every day they delay deploying Microsoft's Office Open XML.NET with Exchange.NET and Sharepoint.NET all connected to Evolution.NET on SUSE.NET they miss out on real business value. In both cases, this takes a clear understanding of their functional (bits, bytes, deployment tools, etc.) and emotional (superstardom, frustration, support, etc.) needs, and ultimately, clear and simple messages about the value of
With field, partner, and customer interests constantly in play, each day is pretty darn busy. Here's an idea of how a day typically shakes out:
6:54 a.m.--Put down Xbox360 controller, hop in the car and head to Novell. Plug my Zune media player (shamelessly brown and proud - its so social) into my car stereo and sing loudly to keep myself awake. Getting out the door before 7 a.m. is crucial to beating the positively brutal traffic.
7:28 a.m.--Wade through e-mails using Exchange (whats this? why does the grid control corrupt as I scroll?). Throw some random fist pumps GO-MONO!-GO-MONO!
8:02 a.m.--Run the latest Office Open XML.NET deployment numbers by country. Identify those countries that are falling behind pace. E-mail Microsoft management with ideas on how they can close the gap.
9:22 a.m -- Novell 'elite' conference call. We study the new GPL version 3, there has to be a loophole - someday I shall find that weakness and use all my cunning to twist it and exploit it to our purposes.
9:45 a.m.--As I walk back to my office I take a moment to daydream.... I run into Bill Gates and he says, "Miguel, I've been thinking. I'm going to be working on the Gates Foundation full-time in two years, and I need someone to lead the company. Steve Ballmer is a fantastic, high-energy guy; but your hairline is far better. I think you have what it takes to lift Microsoft to the next level." Almost hit by car. Snap back to reality.
9:58 a.m.--Quick one-on-one meeting with my comrades to review current projects and get some more direction on a scorecard I'm developing to track our Moonlight.NET success...
Systems programmers are the high priests of a low cult. -- R.S. Barton