The Most Boring Story Ever

The other day a reader suggested:

Make a blogentry about how you started at MS and so on!

You asked, but I’m warning you: it’s the most boring story ever.

I grew up in Waterloo, Ontario, which was a piece of luck as Waterloo has the best computer science school in Canada. I studied applied mathematics and computer science from 1991 to 1996.

Amongst its many claims to fame is: UW has the largest cooperative education program on the planet. For my fourth, fifth and sixth work terms I was an intern on the VBA team here at Microsoft. On the strength of my internship the VBA team extended me a job offer, which I accepted. I worked full-time on the scripting technology for five years.

Then the VBA, Scripting and Microsoft Office Developer teams were reorganized into one large team (the “Trinity” team) tasked with modernizing and improving the Office developer story. I’ve been working on that for about two years now. We’ve just shipped “Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Tools For The Microsoft Office System 2003”, which I actually did very little work on — that was Peter Torr ‘s baby, so read his blog if you want details.

I’ve been working on the next version, which, of course, I can’t talk about except to say that I hope the name is shorter. Also, I do a fair amount of work still on scripting — not implementing new features of course, but ongoing work like attending security reviews, helping out our product support and sustaining engineering teams, and (obviously) writing a blog.


Commentary from 2019

It was an easy choice to go to Waterloo; I could live at home, I had family on staff, I already knew some of the professors, and it was and still is the best school for computer science and mathematics. The co-op program literally changed my life; it’s pretty unlikely that I’d be living in Seattle were it not for those work terms.

We had an all-hands Trinity team meeting the day that the official product name was announced, and people laughed. I was one of them. The team manager was known to have a sense of humour and I figured that this had to be a parody of the clunky-stream-of-nouns approach to product naming that happened at Microsoft. But no, management was serious, and this was the newest and most egregious example of bad product naming ever. “Microsoft” is in there twice for goodness’ sake!

The best product name that came out of that team was we had a little helper application that did… something. Maybe it set up Office interop security policy or something like that? I don’t remember. But it was the Microsoft Office Helper for Interop Technology, or MOHIT.EXE. That it was written by my colleague Mohit Gupta was a total coincidence, I’m sure.

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