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Microsoft needs more people like Scott Hanselman

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I ran across an article by Scott the other day and I started to think how great this guy is...of course, I didn't realize that this is the same guy that had me rolling on the floor laughing at his presentation at the Portland Code Camp I recently attended. I do remember a detail about Scott that may have many people wondering if he actually has a soul. He works for Microsoft.

Now, as many of us in the IT world do, I have a friend who works for them too, but that one friend is not the definition of Microsoft for me. Generally speaking, I think of them as this high and mighty, pretentious, greater-than-thou, group of money hungry people with a lot of brains and no social skills (and the ones who brought us arguably the best OS around). Of course I am wrong! If you look at all of the things that Microsoft does (charities, employee benefits, community involvement, etc.) you may actually find yourself admiring them. I know its popular to hate Microsoft and their OS, but I actually like it (except Vista, which I have spent many hours cursing it and its developers). In fact, I love almost every single Microsoft product I use. Yes, I said almost, but if you think about it, that isn't a bad thing. When your company prides itself on putting out new software all the time and coming up with products that are of great value to their customers, they have to take risks. Sometimes those risks pay off and other times they are epic flops (...cough, Vista, cough). Back to the point, you have people at Microsoft like Scott Hanselman. He is funny, smart, and pretty personable. If I were Microsoft, that is the kind of poster boy I would want to present to the public. I would not want the kind of person I described earlier.

I had another recent interaction with one of the MS employees. I don't know this girls name, but I had to send my XBOX360 in for repair (my kids were hassling me for weeks so I gave in) after three years of use. A week after I sent it in it had not arrived at its destination so I called their customer service. Now, I know what you are thinking. "Of course this person is going to be nice to you! She is in CUSTOMER SERVICE!", but I have called many customer service people in my life. This girl actually had me trying to get off the phone. She told me what I wanted to know...and a whole lot more. All I called for was to get a time frame for when I would get my XBOX360 back, I got that and I got how to keep my box running longer, how to prevent scratches on the games, how to prevent it from overheating, and on, and on, ...and on. She was extremely polite and relayed a story about her daughters abuse of her XBOX360. I was so amazed at the level of customer service that I received I sat there and listened to the whole thing. She was not just trying to rush me off the phone so she could get back to whatever else filled her time, but she was trying to make my experience with her company's product better! This is just a single example of the kinds of things that MS does that make me love them. This is not to say that they are without fault.

I currently use Visual Studio 2010 and I love it, but it has some quirky stuff that I really could do without. For example, sometimes after changing some of my code (I code mostly in VB.NET) I get errors where no errors should be so I build/rebuild the project to no avail. I end up having to restart VS to get the errors to go away. The code that gives me the errors is in the auto generated code for windows forms. Another thing I find a little disconcerting is the lack of support there is for some of the controls. For example, I use ReportViewer quite a bit and corresponding RDLC reports. Go out and try to find some support for this and see what you come up with. Most all of the documentation that is out there is for Crystal Reports. I have even posted a couple times to the MSDN site and got zero responses, even from Microsoft (I am curious as to why most, if not all, responses I have seen them make on MSDN are double posted).

Anyway, I hope this reaches the eyes of Microsoft since Scott specifically called for programmers to give Microsoft constructive feedback on how they are doing. And for my readers (all one of you) I hope you can keep an open mind when dealing with Microsoft. Just remember, they want to make your life better...while they are making money.

2 Comments On This Entry

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AdamSpeight2008 Icon

29 June 2011 - 01:49 PM
I think Scott is a good presenter also he seems more human than some, where it more about the sell. He can handle the situation where the chaos monkeys fling poo at him (Unexpected Technical Glitch). I think the one he did at PDC08 on BabySmash.
Other good one are the more technical one's Erik Meijier, Bart De Smet and Lucian Wischik.
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epriddy Icon

16 September 2011 - 04:43 PM
I also like some of the other guys that may not be Microsoft: Steve Pontello, Andy Leonard, etc.
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