I might have had another constant job for a long time, initially without knowing it, then I was kind of aware of it, but now I’ve decided to make it official: I’m an Independent Microsoft Technical Evangelist.
What does it means? I don’t technically work for Microsoft on paper or get any direct compensation from them, but I found myself constantly promoting the products that I like and talking about the misunderstanding lot of people have about them, so let’s face it, that’s an evangelist.
I always used Microsoft products
By always I mean after I was 10years old.
The first Microsoft product I really used was MS-DOS, when I saw Windows95 for first time that was mind blowing and they just got me. As I’ve said before my first website was built in FrontPage using ASP (now Classic ASP), on Windows98, using Personal Web Server and Access as database, so the Microsoft Stack was really DNA bound to me as a developer. From Office products, to VisualStudio and SQL Server, I got everything I need to be productive and create products that have a market.
I don’t hate Microsoft, I like it.
Early 2000s, I felt the Microsoft hate deeply as other colleagues attacked me for using those tools instead of something else. So I found myself (over and over again) engaged in heated discussions with colleagues defending my point of why I used the tools and why I found market for my skills and the products I built.
It got to a point where I was known as “the Microsoft guy” or as “the C# guy” or as “the .NET guy”. Which I liked.
My motivation to use the products was simple and based on simple principles:
- be productive,
- don’t waste time,
- focus on delivering the product to the client,
- leverage what I already know as much as possible.
All that was easy to apply with the Microsoft tools. What I used helped me deliver software for my clients effectively. And yes, developers had to pay for the tools, and my clients had to pay for the licenses. I understood that was an issue for certain companies/people and that’s perfectly fine for them to find alternatives and I acknowledge the power and future of those alternatives; but never to the point of hating and disregarding the Microsoft products just because of that.
I know what is like to have hate for some corporations for the way they treat their customers, I’m not a good friend of AT&T for example, but will never attack my friends that use it. I would highlight the benefits of the one I have now.
“Facts, not Attacks”
Microsoft have made many mistakes, tons of improvements could have been done, bugs could have been fixed, earlier. But I also recognize and appreciate the effort they make. We all know how hard is to bring software to life and specially how hard is to maintain something that runs is an extreme variety of hardware, run software of an extreme variety of very good and very bad developers, so I think twice before criticizing and I criticize my product and my company before.
For me Microsoft is the company that people reward too little for the many things it does right, and punishes very hard for the few things it does wrong.
I own several products and talk about them a lot
I own/use a few products:
- Windows Phone (Lumia 960XL)
- Microsoft Band2
- Office 365 Home
Inside the developer world I used even more products: C# for everything, ASP.NET, MVC, SQL Server, IIS, Entity Framework, LINQ, WCF, well I will really not go long here, but bottom line is that I use a lot of things sometimes because they just ship sometimes because they just work for me.
Some developers are always looking for the non-Microsoft tool to do the job every time they think they’re doing something fancy. I’m not actively looking for a Microsoft tool if I already have one that do the job, but I’m more than happy to use a Microsoft one as a first try.
I remember drag-dropping a DataGrid on ASP.NET Web Forms (not called web forms back then but just ASP.NET) right click/enable paging/enable sorting, add datasource etc. and my Java friend was jaw-dropped. Yes of course there are lot of things on that example to take care of for a large app or for some specific requirements and WebForms was an abstraction and abstractions are expensive, specially if you don’t know what you’re doing, but long long discussions about WebForms.
This kind of scenarios always have been common to me. And I found myself over and over engaged into this discussions because I wanted to share the good life I was living as a developer while seeing other people losing their hair. I wanted other developers to see how my life was good and I could focus on other stuff.
I thought OOP for one semester to 1st years students on 2009. The curriculum was on Java but I told them:
“Listen, I know you have to use Eclipse and do things on Java but I’m not going to use it. I have been working 7 years on this Visual Studio and C# so I will use it. I know java syntax, it’s pretty much C# from the syntax point of view, so you can make the similar and it’s going to be good for you. I will teach you OOP so don’t panic”.
And it was very good and we got very good results, and always show them nice VisualStudio things that helped me a lot.
People around me see the benefit and get them
A friend starting up a company asked for my advice on setting up few technical things for him specially a reliable email solution and storage solution for a non-technical team.
I presented to him the idea of using a cloud storage solution like Dropbox for business for example, or GoogleApps which will also have the email solution covered or Office365 for Business which will also give you have an office license for desktop PCs.
OK, I might have emphasize the fact of having licensed office installs on desktops (which was major requirement for him). But it was true value and he’s happily running it now.
When I joined Careerscore they were using AWS, 6 month later we started migrating to Azure, also we get $150 monthly credit through BizSpark but as a VisualStudio user and C# guy and a Microsoft developer in general, migrating to Azure or starting using Azure was so natural, and so fluid that now I can’t think of developing without using it.
Easy life, good for their businesses, I don’t care as long as it’s also good for mine.
Two people at work got a Surface Pro and a Surface Book, and one got Office 365.
I’m “the technology guy” for my family so all computer stuff… you know, goes to me, (and also TVs or anything electric ) pretty much everybody is using Office 365 with the 1TB space mainly for photos uploaded from android devices and installed versions of Office on their desktops.
It’s NOT about being a fan, I don’t like fan attitude, I’m objective, I don’t get issues when I use the products, I see the benefit and the usability, I also use a bunch of other tools.
But I decided to add Independent Microsoft Technical Evangelist as a title and even include it sometimes in my resume. It’s also very funny.
Maybe that’s why a true technical evangelist is in first place, because if you get paid for doing it it losses the fun.