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Joining Microsoft

IdentityMine, Microsoft, MVP, MVVM, Personal, Universal Windows Platform UWP, Valorem, Work, Xamarin, XAML
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Well here is a post I didn’t quite expect to write… but the best things in life are unexpected. I am thrilled and proud to announce that as of August 1st 2017, I joined the Cloud and Enterprise group (aka Azure) at Microsoft.

My role will be a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate and I will explain in this post what it is I will do! I guess an FAQ format is most appropriate here, so here goes:

Are you moving to the USA?

No, I am staying put in Zurich Switzerland, my home for the past 23 years. While I don’t exclude living in the US at some point in the future, now is not that time and I will stay close to the friends and family I have in Switzerland. The role is global, and I will be travelling about the same amount than I am now, including coming to Redmond about 3-4 times a year and going to events worldwide.

It’s really interesting to see all the new people joining the team and I can’t wait to hear more about who else will get on board. Because it is a global role, we will have local offices around the world (in exciting places such as London, Shanghai, Bangalore etc). I really hope I will have a chance to be present at events in places where I couldn’t go yet, especially in Asia and South America. While I am super happy about all the talks I gave in Europe and the USA, I feel that it’s time to go “advocate” in more places now. Can’t wait to create that content and teach.

What will you do?

This is the most interesting part! This group is helping to redefine how we engage with developers on a big scale and be an empathetic advocate to the product engineers building the tools, services, APIs and other tech you use on a daily basis!

If you follow Twitter, you might have seen quite a few very talented people joining the Developer Advocate group. These people have very diverse skills, from web to open source to Linux to Docker and more. Even though I will be “advocating” Azure, my main expertise is going to be with Xamarin development and cloud-connected mobile app experiences, and of course MVVM. XAML has been a primary interest for more than 10 years now, and Xamarin is a technology and a team that I worked with for the past 4 years now. I am really enthusiast about working with these technologies even more intensively now, and most importantly to teach people worldwide how to use them.

Who is employing you? Who is your boss?

Because I am living in Switzerland, technically I will be an employee of Microsoft Switzerland. But I am reporting to Tim Heuer (a great friend!) who is based in Redmond. Our team is a part of the engineering group in Azure and reports up through Scott Guthrie. It’s kind of a hybrid situation, and I expect to be regularly in Wallisellen in the Microsoft Switzerland offices, as well as in Redmond for team meetings a few times a year.

What makes you most excited about this job?

Difficult to answer. When I received the call three months ago, and heard about the amazing job description, I thought it was just great for me. In a later call, I heard that Tim Heuer would be my boss and that was an amazing cherry on a fantastic cake. I have to admit that the thought of getting into Microsoft at this time, under Satya Nadella and Scott Guthrie, is making me very happy. It is a great time for Microsoft and especially Azure. I started getting more and more interested in Azure after I joined the Microsoft Regional Directors group. This group of experts is composed of very experienced people who have strategic roles in various firms, big and small. A large portion of the discussions have been focused on Azure, which led me to understand how important this technology is. There are just so many applications and the pace of innovation is quite breathtaking. I have a huge respect for everyone I will be working with, and especially of course for Scott Guthrie, who I have met many times over the past 10 years. He is as nice as he seems but most importantly, he is really, really clever and drives innovation amongst his people. I am delighted to be a part of this new adventure.

What do you regret the most?

I will certainly miss working for Valorem and especially all my friends. I met some of you guys 10 years ago, and we have been working together as a team for more than 8 years. I will be forever grateful to the IdentityMine team who gave me a chance in 2008 and decided to create a whole branch in Switzerland just for me. I think in retrospect it was a win-win, just look at all the amazing projects we realized!

But maybe most painful of all is the fact that I will have to resign from the MVP awards (both Microsoft and Xamarin) and the Regional Director program. Of course the joke is that joining Microsoft is the best reason for losing these awards, but I will really miss the amazing community of peers, some them who grew to become more than dear friends, a family.

Of course the good news is that I will continue to see many of you at conferences and other events around the globe. I will also continue to participate to some of the distribution lists and so we will be able to keep in touch. And as always, if you come to Zurich, let me know and we’ll have a fondue! (or something…).

Will something change for MVVM Light?

Short answer: No.

Slightly longer answer: Microsoft is very open regarding open source. I retain the full ownership of the project and I expect to be working on it about the same amount of time than I do now (of course on my free time). In the next few weeks you will see a move to Github as well as a version for .NET Standard so keep watching this space for updates.

What’s next?

Well while today is officially my first day at Microsoft, it is also Switzerland’s national day (Happy 726th birthday Switzerland!) and so my first day will be tomorrow. I have the new employee orientation (NEO yay) at the Swiss HQ in Wallisellen near Zurich. I expect that I will get my blue badge as well as a ton of information. At some point I should also get a new laptop (I was given a choice between a PC and a Mac and selected a Surface Pro 4 because I still love the Surface form factor, especially when I travel). Then I will spend a few days in Redmond next week, and connect with some of the team. Really impatient to get started!

I am sure I will have a lot more to say about all this in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Happy coding
Laurent

GalaSoft Laurent Bugnion
Laurent Bugnion (GalaSoft)
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New role, new responsibilities, same passion! Embracing 2017

IdentityMine, Technical stuff, Valorem, Work
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As I am writing this, I just came back from Kansas City, Missouri, where I met with a few people who are going to be an integral part of my next adventure.

I often tell this story: When I was working for Siemens and my passion for software was facing a difficult time, due to the frustrations of not being able to render my designers’ visions in HTML/CSS, I was sent to Las Vegas to attend MIX06, the first ever MIX conference, and to discover Windows Presentation Foundation and Expression Blend, which became two passions of mine. Working with the various teams at Microsoft responsible for these amazing new products, I started blogging about my experiences. This led Microsoft to give me the MVP award in 2007 (and every year since then), this also led Sams publishing to contact me and ask me if I wanted to write a book about Silverlight 2 which Microsoft had just started in preview. I started speaking at conferences, first within Siemens and then at various conferences. This became a side activity that was often crossing paths with my day work as a software developer.

My public speaking, blog writing, and other publishing activities were just something I felt like doing. It was profitable both for the firm I was working for, IdentityMine, and for myself as I was building my personal brand.

In May 2016, IdentityMine was acquired by Valorem, and our activities started encompassing more than the client application development we were known for. Valorem had always been very active in back-end development, from Sharepoint to Azure to Office365 to PowerBI to many other areas which I know of, but which I don’t know much about. This year, I will be starting a new role, which neither Valorem nor pre-acquisition IdentityMine has ever officially had: That of Senior Technical Evangelist.

In this role, I will educate myself in all the various areas where we do business. I want to be able to talk to anyone in the firm and have an understanding of what they are doing. Then, I will be responsible to give visibility to all the amazing people who work at the new Valorem. This includes blogging about activities that we do, projects that we work on, but also exciting new activities which I cannot talk about yet (but video should be involved, fun!!). I also want to make people proud of what they are doing, and to teach them how to talk about it, maybe at local user groups, maybe at conferences, maybe writing for the Valorem blog, maybe writing articles for magazines etc. Teaching people to manage their personal brand, coaching them to put themselves out there, work with the community, etc.

Everyone at the executive level is very excited because that is something that we just didn’t do before, not in any official capacity. This is a new role, which should allow me to explore and try new things, see what’s working. It should also allow me to visit all our various locations, talk to the people, understand what they do, and get more knowledgeable on all the areas that we are covering (which is a lot). Also, it will give me the opportunity to look into new areas that might be interesting for the firm, such as Cognitive services, Blockchain, and many more.

Next to this, I will of course continue to support our sales teams in pre-sales operations, as well as give a hand in architecture or coding for our development teams where needed. And of course I will continue to support our European operation, which as small as it is right now is still generating enough leads and projects to keep things interesting.

I’ll be looking forward to meeting a lot of Valorem employees in the months to come and work with all of you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions, remarks or suggestions. This role is for you in the first place.

Happy coding
Laurent

GalaSoft Laurent Bugnion
Laurent Bugnion (GalaSoft)
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