In January 2006, nearly 4 years ago to the day, I created my first account on CodePlex, when the site was still in internal-only alpha preview. A the time, I was the Program Manager for the Visual Studio Power Toys, where my team created the 5th, 6th, and 9th projects on CodePlex before it went live. I recall sending the CodePlex team a 15 page document on all the UI suggestions I had. They were very receptive of my feedback and always treated me like a virtual member of the CodePlex team since the very beginning.
I officially joined the team in October 2007. The CodePlex site had approximately 2800 projects at that time. Now, we have exactly 13,505 projects. It’s been an absolute privilege to watch 11,000 open source projects get created on a site run by Microsoft. I can’t thank the CodePlex community enough for the support they’ve given us and me personally over the years. It’s just been incredible.
So what’s next?
I’ve accepted a position to be a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft in the Silicon Valley area in California. In other words, I’m moving from the product groups to “the field.” Needless to say, this won’t be the last you’ll hear of me doing open source. Remember, I jumped off a building for open source at Microsoft, so you’re not getting rid of me that easily!
Again, I cannot thank the community enough for such a tremendous couple of years. To quote the immortal words of the 9th Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston) right before his regeneration, “You were fantastic! And so was I!”
Happy Mardi Gras!
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In a follow up to my original post on how I learned to program manage an agile team, I’ve put together a 3 part series on how to be an Agile Program Manager over on Port 25.
Just like the kiwi bird down here in New Zealand, I proved that I too am flightless. The 7 minute video explains it all.
You can find this full version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcc4KRrZpI0
Or watch just the jump from the ground looking up at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKvQLb2UKXg
Special thanks to Sky Jump! for lettings us film and TechEd Online New Zealand for making the jump happen and for putting the full edited video together.
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The Channel 9 team recently met with me to discuss “The State of the CodePlex” as I like to call it. It was a quick chat about where CodePlex has been and where the site is heading.
Link to video: http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/NicFill/A-chat-with-Sara-Ford-CodePlex-turns-3-reaches-10000-projects
I think this was my 4th appearance on Channel 9 (Women in Tech interview with Scoble, Hurricane Katrina recap with Jennifer and Charles, Power Toys for Visual Studio interview, and now CodePlex.)
Yep, it’s a bold statement to make, but I like to live life in capital letters. Last week at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention was truly epic. The Community Leadership Summit + OSCON 2009 epitomized everything I’ve ever wanted to do in community as a Microsoft employee.
I didn’t realize how special last week was until we Microsofties went out to dinner on the last night. As we discussed how much interest there was in the guitar hero competition, someone commented how we (Microsoft) were invited to participate to play. It was Ubuntu’s idea to put together the competition. We provided the guitars and the venue. When I first heard my coworker’s comment, I nearly rolled my eyes thinking I was listening to classic PR/marketing talk (yes, I’m obviously a proud female developer), but then the significance of the statement hit me.
Community is about focusing on what we have in common, while putting aside what makes us different. The Community Leadership Summit and the Guitar Hero competition gave everyone common ground to come together and talk. I’ve done community for Visual Studio and for CodePlex my entire 8 years at Microsoft, but I’ve always wanted to engage with the open source community to say “Hey ya’ll. This is what I do at Microsoft. Come teach me your expertise, and I’ll share what life is like promoting OSS within Microsoft.” For a total of 7 days, I was given this opportunity, which was truly one of the greatest weeks of my career at Microsoft.
- When I grow up, I want to be like Jono Bacon, the Community manager for Ubuntu. I want to be cool enough to organize an event like the Community Leadership Summit. I cannot wait for his Art of Community book to come out. @JonoBacon I know you hate me for beating you in the guitar hero finale =) but please sign my copy of your book when it comes out.
- "Don’t cut people off before they have a chance to grow.” This comment from the CLS had the biggest impact to me personally.
- Empower people by asking them “what do you like doing? what do you do best?” This comment from the CLS had the biggest impact to me as a program manager / community manager.
- Larry Rosen remembered me! I attended a talk by Larry Rosen a few years ago on the Microsoft campus. I was surprised that he had remembered me from such a brief introduction years ago. But then again, there are not many 5’1 women on crutches hobbling around declaring how they are going to tame the Microsoft Legal department. (don’t ask me how that’s going.)
- I learned a lot outside the Microsoft platform bubble. Working in Redmond day in and day out, I’m not really exposed to much going on in the outside world. I had a great time visiting the various booths to learn what’s out there. Oh yeah, and there really is an OSS version of Guitar Hero called Frets of Fire. Who’d a known?
- The guitar hero competition. I will *never* forget when, right as Jono and I were about to play in the finale, someone screams “JONO! THE FUTURE OF OPEN SOURCE DEPENDS ON YOU” OMG, that was a top 5 moment of my career right there.
Best Opposing t-shirt photo op
New friends from CLS
Little Kid rockers
Putting together guitar hero bracket
First comes denial in who won the guitar hero competition
Then acceptance =)
See ya’ll at OSCON 2010!
Last week, I attended the Open Source Bridge conference in Portland. It’s a volunteer-run conference that came about because OSCON moved to San Jose this year. They had a great turnout and the organizers did an amazing job, especially for a first time, volunteer conference.
I was most impressed with Selena Deckelmann (co-chair of OSBridge) and her ability to network and organize this event. She had an initial goal of 50% female speakers (and to think this is for an Open Source conference). She was able to get 30% female speakers using the same quality bar as the guys. Now that’s networking.
To Selena, THANK YOU!!! Finally someone who truly, truly, truly gets the Women in Technology issue. It is a breath of fresh air to see someone really do something about this.
- I started off my CodePlex talk mentioning how Selena accepted my talk because “peeking into CodePlex might give you ideas that you can embrace and extend.” I said, “Because of this, Microsoft has instructed me that you all will have to sign these NDAs.” The room erupted in laughter. I am the stuff of legend, trying to get an OSS audience to sign Microsoft NDAs.
- Got called “the queen of open source at Microsoft” after my talk: http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2009/06/welcome-to-codeplex.html
- Spent 2 hours at lunch chatting with faculty and staff of Ohio State University doing research into OSS communities and their behaviors. This area of HCI is like crack cocaine to me, so I definitely enjoyed chatting theories of human behavior and gaming the system.
- Had a geek dinner in Portland for the local .NET User Group to share my stories of the day.
- Only real lowlight was that I could only spend a day there. Our boss gives us one day a week to work on a pet project, so i used that day to drive down to Portland to give talks. =)
Over on the CodePlex blog, I just posted the stats for the year in review. Here’s a sneak peek:
||% increase from 2007
|New Registered Users
For more stats, visit http://blogs.msdn.com/codeplex/archive/2009/01/26/codeplex-2008-a-year-in-review.aspx
Yesterday was an incredibly fun day for me. Wanted to break up the endless series of IDE tips and tricks posts with a little something different…
On the CodePlex team blog, I wrote down the Top 5 Myths and Facts about CodePlex:
Myth #1: Software hosted on CodePlex is only for developers
Fact: CodePlex is for any open source software application. Some of our top projects include Rawr, a .NET tool for World of Warcraft players, and the Vista Battery Saver, an app for managing your laptop battery life.
Myth #2: You have to purchase Microsoft software to use CodePlex
Fact: Visual Studio Team Explorer is free for use with CodePlex. Other clients include TeamPrise, TortoiseSVN, and the CodePlex Client.
Myth #3: CodePlex is only for Microsoft projects
Fact: There are over 350 Microsoft projects on CodePlex. The other 5,000 projects are owned by members of the community.
Myth #4: CodePlex projects must run on Windows
Fact: CodePlex welcomes all technologies.
Myth #5: CodePlex is run by Microsoft
Fact: This one is true! =D
If people have any other myths or facts, please let me know!
Also Soma, our Senior Vice President for Developer Division (aka Visual Studio and more), also blogged about CodePlex turning 2 years old.
If there ever were a “Sara needs a hug” moment… I’m doing a talk on Friday called Towards a Stronger Open Source Ecosystem. It’s a story about what I’ve seen and ideas I have for the future. I actually put together this abstract 2 years ago, so it isn’t necessarily a talk about the future of CodePlex, as my day job would led you to believe.
Here’s the abstract. Wish me luck!
“Code speaks louder than words” is a fundamental philosophy of the open source community, because developers use code to discuss code, not words. Imagine a code review over email that did not contain a single line of code. The conversation would be lost in translation. Code is the universal language in the developer ecosystem, allowing us developers to communicate with one another.
But yet, we don’t communicate universally today. We define ourselves by our business models, our developer tools, our technologies, hence defining who we converse with. But imagine if there were no definitions or boundaries, where all developers could effectively engage together. Imagine an open source ecosystem that included all developers, regardless of platform, language, or development environment.
This talk will cover go over a roadmap for striving towards this stronger open source ecosystem through current infrastructure enhancements, fostering community growth through discoverability, project incubations and sponsorships, and paving the ways for proprietary products to evaluate various methods of going open source.
Today is the 2nd anniversary of the CodePlex launch announcement. I brought in some birthday cake on this nice, warm and sunny Friday afternoon in Seattle.
CodePlex team members who are not currently on vacation. We have a few who are out of office right now.
And yes, i’m wearing one of the Microspotting t-shirts.
And a picture of our half-eaten birthday cake. I have got to remember to take pictures first, then eat the cake…