Photo by Michele Perras
I’m excited to announce that I am joining Mark Relph’s team at Microsoft Canada. That’s right. This is very real. This is something I’ve been thinking very carefully about for a long time. My official title will be Senior User Experience Advisor. My position reports to John Oxley in the the Developer & Platform Evangelism group.
I’m not the first to make this leap. A number of people I respect have joined Microsoft. Jon Udell, Molly Holzschlag, John Lam, Hugh MacLeod and Ryan McMinn among others have written about their reasons for joining Microsoft. Microsoft is an important leader in the technology space. Microsoft Canada has a team of great people, influence with a community that is foreign to TorCamp, and a selection of new interesting technologies.
What will your role be?
In broad terms, I will continue to function pretty much as I do today. I can continue connecting people, software, information and ideas. I will be blogging, building community, and developing software. I’m focused on user experience, community and emerging technologies. It’s pretty much exactly what I do today.
Why are you doing this?
I’ve spent the past 18+ months trying to build a vibrant Toronto technology community. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of entrepreneurs, technologists, and designers working on projects they are passionate about. This role will allow me to develop new relationships, forge new connections between community members, and to produce results.
Recently, I’ve been working with the fantastic team at Radiant Core. It has been a wonderful experience, traveling to ETech and Web2Expo and attending ICE07. Radiant Core is a world-class design and development shop. They continue to build beautiful web sites. Jay and Mike understand the opportunity presented to me. They have invited me to stay involved with Radiant Core as a member of the Board of Directors. I believe in Radiant Core, the work they do for clients, and the quality of the software they build. They are capable of elegant, easy-to-use web standards compliant designs and they continue to build new tools and solutions that everyone should consider integrating in to their professional practices. I am proud to have been associated with them for a short period. And I know that they will continue to shape the industry with work like the design of the official theme for Firefox 2.0 and leadership of events like TransitCamp.
Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I’m going through
— David Bowie
This is a big change. It is a change that allows me to stay in Toronto. It is a change that allows me to continue to support the user experience and emerging technology communities in Toronto.
Are you selling out? Turning your back on principles you’ve championed? On the community you’ve instigated?
I think Jon Udell put it best:
Wait until the evidence is in, then decide for yourself. I’ve been in this game for a long time. I think my record of pragmatism and agnosticism speaks for itself…
I don’t think anything has changed other than I now have an employer. I am really hoping that this role will allow me to expand my reach in the Canadian software and emerging technology community. I hope that it will be beneficial for TorCamp community. I look forward to helping connect Canadian innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists. I hope that my track record and dedication to the community will afford me the opportunity to find out.
What will happen to BarCampToronto?
BarCampToronto will continue and hopefully it continues to improve, refine and gets better. Our community members are striving to create a strong local culture. Mark, Will, Jay, Ryan, Eli and others have taken up the challenge. There will be BarCamps, DemoCamps, InteractionCamps, CaseCamps, VizThinks and a whole variety of other events. These events are run by individuals, sponsored by companies, and attended by community members. Community leadership is difficult.
The goal of the community needs to be to bring together members of the community, promote debate of ideas, engage the participation of citizens on an ongoing basis. By being open and making basic community services available to all members of the community at fair and reasonable cost, or free, we have created a strong local culture, with local relevance and a strong sense of ownership.
— David Crow
This community is important. It is important to keep it open. To make it strong. To help it’s members grow and be successful. It can’t and won’t be dominated by one person or one company.
I’m taking a few weeks off to enjoy life. I start at Microsoft on June 4, 2007. I’ve been tasked with changing the world. Hopefully I’ll meet my goals. Until then I’ll be attending BarCampTorontoTechWeek, Enterprise2.0, mesh Conference and InteractionCamp as part of Toronto Tech Week. I hope that I see you at these events.