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On leaving Microsoft 2010-May-08 at 08:52 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
Tags: , ,

Yesterday was my last day at Microsoft, and I suppose that, given such an important life transition, I should capture a few words.

First of all, I love the company, as much as anyone could love a company. I always wanted to work there.  I believe in their mission.  I believe they are uniquely qualified to make a tremendous impact on computing and the way we interface with computers over the next two decades, at least.  No company in the world invests more in R&D than Microsoft, and IIRC Microsoft accounts for 3% of the total R&D in the United States.

I also really love their products, with few exceptions.  They deliver incredible enterprise and business functionality in a fairly user-friendly way.  The consumer products (I’m typing in Live Writer) are also getting really good.

So I don’t have anything bad to say.  What I can say is that after looking around the company for other jobs, and looking into my heart, I’m just not quite a fit there.  I’ve got a unique set of skills and perspectives around technology that are, by almost anyone’s standards, both broad and deep.  As I interviewed around the company, I kept running into groups that looked for even more depth than I have in very specific areas, and didn’t care at all about my breadth and experience.  And, ultimately, I didn’t want to dive into that much depth without getting a chance to leverage my broad experience in interesting ways.

I’m not in resistance to that… just observing it.  Microsoft is an incredibly successful company, they’ve gotten there doing what they’re doing. Recognizing that I’m not exactly fitting in, as happily as I’d like to, is just giving myself the ability to stop struggling while trying to.

As soon as it became clear to me that I should leave, though, an enormous weight was lifted.  I feel energized, I feel excited, I feel alive.  I can’t wait to get started on my new life.  And I’m grateful for what I have learned in my time at Microsoft… much of it will be useful to me as I continue down this new path.

And now that writing this book and blogging here are crucial parts of what I’m doing, look for a lot more traffic.  A lot more.