Leaving Microsoft

Today will be my last day at Microsoft. I've been at the company for 23 years, coming straight out of college. I'm incredibly grateful to this company that I still love, but it was time to try something new, to get a different perspective. Starting Monday, I'll be at Amazon, where I'll be the director of their product details page. It will be a big change (and a much longer commute), but I'm really excited.

Still, I'm finding that I'm pretty emotional about leaving. Being at Microsoft is a huge part of my identity and my life. I've worked at Microsoft longer than anything I've ever done. It'll take a while to get accustomed to a new way of thinking.

Here's the mail I sent announcing the change.

Subject: Farewell

It's become painfully clear that my bid to become the new CEO of Microsoft will not be successful, so today is my last day at Microsoft.

A few highlights from the past 23 years:
1990 Shocked to learn Microsoft shipped software with known bugs. More shocked to discover a big part of my job would be to pick which ones.
1991 Made the only known hole-in-one during Golf 1.0 testing (my first product). It didn't help my review score.
1993 Surfed the Internet for the first time in the Microsoft Library. Didn't get what the fuss was about.
1997 Learned to do The Hustle at a ship party. Grateful that cellphone cameras hadn't been invented yet.
1999 Spent six months addressing Y2K bugs in Works Suite. Saved the world from calamity.
2000 Hit my lifetime net worth high point. Oh well.
2003 Got my hands covered in blue ink minutes before a demo to BillG. Managed to not get him inky too.
2004 Pilloried in blog comments after jokingly claiming we invented pop-up blocking in IE6 on Windows XP SP2. Learned that including smiley face in a blog post is no protection against trolls.
2006 Was called "cute" by a prominent blogger. Faith in the Internet restored.
2007 Testified before the DOJ and EU on the same day. Lowlight was the French official jumping out of his chair yelling, "Aha! I caught you!" during my talk.
2008 Moved to Beijing. Delighted to find I was expected to sing and drink (sometimes at the same time) as part of my job.
2010 Had a 1:1 lunch with BillG. His hands got covered in Big Mac special sauce, and he couldn't figure out why. Felt secret sense of schadenfreude.
2011 Moved back from Beijing. Missed the office tea lady with my daily fresh fruit and pot of tea, but clean air was a big plus.
2012 Started surfing online porn professionally for Bing SafeSearch. Surprised to find this is not as cool as it sounds.
2013 Learning how hard it is to say farewell to an amazing company, brilliant colleagues, and good friends.

Thanks to all my teammates, past and present, for making me look good (or less bad, at least!) Thanks to my managers and mentors for your patience and guidance. Thanks to you all for a lifetime of great memories.

FAQ
Q: What will you do next?
A: I will be the director (like a PUM) for Amazon's product details page.

Q: Will you still be in Seattle?
A: Yes.

Q: Why are you leaving?
A: I've never worked anywhere else as a fulltime employee. I realized I would regret not ever having a different perspective.

Q: How can we keep in touch?
A: Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog (kind of), email, WeChat/微信 (ID: F218828), Pinterest, Foursquare

Q: What is the best way to cook bacon?
A: In the oven.

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8 Comments

Leslie Irish Evans Reply

It's been a long time since I've commented on TonyNet Explorer. (Frankly, the place hasn't been the same since the Evil Michael stories stopped.) But this was worth the trip. I LOL'd for real several times reading it. When I heard this news, Tony, the first words out of my mouth were "Good for him!" and I meant it. Congratulations on your new adventure. Looking forward to hoisting a glass with you in celebration.

Angie Ong Reply

I'm with Leslie...Evil Michael stories were awesome and are alas replaced with Ennui Michael comments on FB :) I'm thrilled to hear about your new adventure and am also very grateful that cameraphones weren't present during our late 90's ship parties...holiday parties...shrimp and weenie parties... Good luck, Tony. Prost!

Chris Stephens Reply

I completely agree about cooking bacon in the oven. I usually do so on heavy duty foil (not that thin crap) and a crinkle the foil up a bit to create an uneven surface; to which I credit the superb outcome.

Kevin He Reply

23 years is quite a long time , i am sure that's hard time to say goodbye.
So many memories ....Even my 3 years MS time, that was also painful .

Godspeed Tony.

Richard Reply

Wow! First I've heard of this! Best of luck, Tony.

Dieyu Reply

Tony, good luck, man.

Sarah Hinman Ryan Reply

Hands down, this is the best of the "best of"...

2010 Had a 1:1 lunch with BillG. His hands got covered in Big Mac special sauce, and he couldn't figure out why. Felt secret sense of schadenfreude.

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