the mail

Today I wrote that mail that every Microsoftie has written and rewritten in their head a hundred times in their career....the exit mail. Friday is my last day as employee #45918 at the mothership. Whole new challenges ahead and never felt more excited to step things up a notch and see where the road leads.

Here's the mail for anyone's that interested and be sure to subscribe to 8ninths by clicking the link to the right. I've spent the last 6 hours reading and responding to well wishes from friends, colleagues and partners. It's not often you get to experience something like that and it's really quite humbling! Man, I'm thinking that I may miss working in a big company after all :-)


I recently found an old homework book from 1984, I was 10 years old...As you can see, America's cultural exports were already influencing this wee lad sat in Plymouth, England as I spent my time playing and programming the new ZX Spectrum 48K and dreaming of hanging out with B.A. Baracus. What I was surprised to find, and had no recollection of, was that even back in those days I had a personal dream of being a programmer at a big company and one day having a software company of my own.

Fast forward 10 years, I found myself working at IBM's Hursley Park research laboratory in Winchester, UK writing software to analyze visitors to their Olympics website. My fascination around America had continued to grow as I played basketball and eventually visited Disneyland (a somewhat skewed first experience with this amazing country). I decided that I wanted to learn more about this place and applied for jobs in Silicon Valley. Terry Myerson was the young CEO of a plucky startup in Sunnyvale, CA named Intersé Corp. who took a big gamble, sponsored my visa and brought me over to the US to work as a developer on his Market Focus product...Less than a year later we were acquired by Microsoft and I had a lesson in geography as I found out my new home would be Seattle, WA.

Over the last 12 years I've grown both personally and professionally with this company. I've tried my hand at almost every discipline in the career guide, and had a hand in shipping (Microsoft Site Server, Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack, MSN Carpoint, MSN Alerts, MSN Spaces, MSN Sales(BEET), MSN Filter, Ops PM for (Datacenter Monitoring, Messenger, Hotmail, User Profile Store, MSN Mobile), Live Labs Deepfish, Live Labs Photosynth.
I've received 12 patent cubes, circumnavigated the globe and interacted with personal heroes including, Kevin Johnson, Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

My approach has always been to aspire to be a great generalist and follow my passion for the cutting edge. The reward has been the most amazing set of experiences I could have possibly have imagined, and an education on building world class software and services that no other company could possibly provide. So with mixed emotions I announce my departure from the mothership with my final day of employment being this Friday 9/19.

The Next Chapter...8ninths

I'm partnering up with the talented MSN veteran, William Lai and together we're creating a new r&d lab and incubator here in Seattle that will be focused on exploring new concepts in the online space.
In addition to building products and services we'll be reviving the old 'Shep Report' model of seeking out and providing an analysis of the cutting edge of the web in the 8ninths 'Deep Dive' bi-weekly mailer and blog (Please click to subscribe and tell your friends, colleagues, and partners!). Product announcements coming soon so sign up!

There's no way I could thank everyone I’ve worked alongside over the years. Through the ups and downs, I have only had the utmost respect for each and every one of you and without a doubt you were the reason I got up each morning and crossed that bloody bridge.
With that, I'm off to finally finish my homework and "make my own company".


p.s. I'll be attending the company meeting this Thursday and then enjoying a post "I love this company" brew at the George and Dragon Pub in Fremont into the evening. Would be great to see you there!