Come on Ricky!

Ricky Gervais is a funny man. He was band manager for the British band Suede, conceived, pitched and successfully had the original "Office" commisioned by the BBC and then went on to sell the concept as well as "Extras" to US Audiences. His standup is excellent and his self deprecating anglicisms hit the mark every time.

I thought I'd celebrate my first day of unemp....self-employment ;-) with a visit to the movies to see 'Ghost Town'. Basic premise is Ricky can see dead people after dying for 7 minutes during a routine colonoscopy. Hilarity (alledgedly) ensues as he then spends the rest of the movie trying to 'free' Greg Kinear from the world of ghosts by preventing Tea Leoni from remarrying some other dude. I tend to try and avoid reviews (which this post seems to be shaping up to be) because I think they unfairly taint your perspective. The movie doesn't suck. It's not my normal cup of tea and I would say it's borderline chick flick material but Ricky is good as the caustic dentist Pincus. The problem is the entire premise of the movie feels so trite and familiar that it just feels pointless. It's ghost, meets 6th sense, meets scrooge.Bizarrely it actually feels like the kind of movie Ricky would poke fun of in 'Extras'.

For someone so good at surprising people with subtle comedy, I'd love to see a little more than just cashing the paycheck. If this is the price of entry for breaking into Hollywood I'm not sure it's worth it.

Sorry Ricky, prove me wrong with the next one!

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!

in the beginning...


We're at T-Minus 11 days and counting till my final day of employment at Microsoft. While I've blogged internally at Microsoft for many years and even established a small blogging network at MSN with the 'Filter' concept a few years back,  this is my first time really making a concerted effort to maintain a public presence outside of the normal social media outlets.

I'll likely be experimenting a lot of with what kind of content I want to put up initially but my photography, interesting things I encounter on the web, and thoughts on whats going on in the world will likely form the bulk of the content.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you find the trip worthwhile!