So I posted a quick blurb on my Facebook wall yesterday that I had taken a new job within Microsoft:

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I got a lot of well wishes. And I want to thank everyone who did either post on my wall or sent me an e-mail with the congratulations. I also should have predicted a few questions and I figure rather than try to answer them all in those tiny comment boxes, that I would put up a post here and fill everyone in with more details. But first a bit about my old job.

Most people know that I am currently an evangelist for Microsoft, a position that I have held since January of 2007. I won’t bore you with the details that there are different flavors of evangelist and evangelist will focus on different segments of the technical community, but I will just say that I am an audience architect evangelist. An evangelist is an interesting position, because we are the face or Microsoft to people who write code on our platforms. It is a fun job because the people who do it are paid to do what they naturally love: technology. But enough of my old job, on to the new job, and to answer some of the questions I got about it.

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I am going to be an Account Technology Strategist working with some customer accounts in Wisconsin. I joked with one of my teammates that I had to take a job with a title that was as “interesting” as evangelist and I think strategist is pretty close (although I will not get jokes about wearing a white suit and preaching the gospel of .NET). Some of the ways that the job is different are:

Smaller geography. In my old role I was responsible for Microsoft events and community outreach in 3 states: Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. I went from Green Bay, WI to Decatur, IL to Bloomington, IN (fortunately not all the in the same day). My new job keeps me much closer to home, which fits nicely with some changes in my personal life.

More Technology. In my old role I focused primarily on Visual Studio, the .NET Framework, Silverlight and Internet Information Server (I would touch on other technologies on occasion, but most of the time it was .NET and the related technology). In my new job I am the primary technical contact for all Microsoft technologies. Not sure if you looked lately, but we have a lot of those. Fortunately, I get to bring in specialist for specific questions on some technologies (I personally know a lot about the platform, but come on, that is a lot to learn).

Fewer Customers. As an evangelist, my customer base was anybody writing code (not just Microsoft code – because we did more than preach to the choir). Depending on how you counted it, that was close to 200,000 people in the three states. In my new job I will have just a handful of customers to work with.

Deeper Engagement. As part of working with just a few accounts, I will have the opportunity to spend more time with each customer. Evangelism is about scale and reaching a larger number of people, being an ATS is about having a close partnership with a few customers.

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I think Scott is asking if I am still going to be active in the local technology community. I am personally very passionate about the community. I did not go to user groups, code camps, conferences and barcamps because it was part of my job, it was something that I liked to do (It was a bonus that I could also call it “work”). So you will still see me around. I no longer work for the part of Microsoft that is helping to foster and build communities, so it is something that I will have to juggle with my job, but that makes me like everyone else that goes to user groups after a hard day at work.

In my previous job, I helped to secure Microsoft sponsorship of a lot of cool local events (RIAPalooza, MOSSCamp, IndyTechfest, Barcamp Milwaukee, Drupalcamp Wisconsin and the list goes on). I don’t have the direct connections to do that anymore, but never fear I am still good friends with someone who does have those connections.

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Yes, Rob, I will have to “dress up” for my new job. This is a long running joke with Rob Nottoli and I. Rob thinks that evangelist show up to meetings in jeans, shorts, pajamas or whatever else they find lying around on the floor. I will really miss that part of the job. 🙂