(Note: This is a page I put together for the interviewers for a gig I interviewed for in March, 2011. I got the job.)
You'll be talking to me in real life very soon. Charming as my wife says I am, I'm not sure I want to leave that to chance. So here are some reasons to pick me for this PM gig. In no particular order...
- I checked out DataMarket. Nice. I whipped up a quick app to see how easy it was to use, by checking the value of the house that I can't sell back in Cleveland: <link removed, because it was on an Azure instance I don't wanna pay for>.
- When you put context around my last few jobs, I was getting into roles pushing great products. I'm a pusher. A pusher PM, if you will. Balancing the customer and the people executing on vision is the most fun I've had in any job, and it's a challenge I look forward to in this gig. I spent my first five post-college years doing what is essentially program management, and many of my consulting gigs were heavily in the realm of what we call PM work. It's time to use that experience in your org.
- This is my kid, Simon, at right. Not particularly relevant, I just like to show people photos of him. He's about a year old. Being a dad is the best job ever.
- I get software development, on a level that is far from trivial. I've seen the entire range of development process types up close, from waterfall to strict agile, XP and scrum. There is no One Ring To Rule Them All, and having the experience to understand that and know which parts to apply are useful skills.
- When I worked at Penton Media, I had tough customers. On one side, sales folk who believed the Internet was a "value add," and on the other, content folk who thought online content cannibalized their magazines. But in working with these customers (and a dev org in the middle), I eventually got them thinking in the right direction. While the rest of the company stumbled, our business unit began to succeed in the transition. Turning difficult customers into satisfied customers is a process I rather enjoy.
- A good PM is like a good coach. I've been working with teenage volleyball players for my entire adult life, and it turns out they're not that much different from software developers. Both are eager to learn how to improve their skills, and they get a lot of satisfaction from delivering positive results. You can lead horses to water, but you can't make them drink. You have to guide them, let them fail sometimes, and most importantly, give them the framework to succeed.
- I'm an achievement addict on Xbox Live, and I bet that I'm the only person you've ever met that has all 1,000 achievement points for Lego Harry Potter. Hey, where's my Kinect Beta virtual T-shirt on my avatar? I was the alternate for the "sexy dance" Windows Phone commercial.
- I enjoy writing code, I'm just not interested in it being my 40-hour-a-week focus, as it is in a traditional SDE role. I'll always be into it in one way or another, because of my "hobby." CoasterBuzz isn't just a distraction, it has become a profitable side business. Plus I've got a big open source app in the works, and I'm fascinated with this phone thing we're selling. I've already published two trivial apps. I'm trying new things on MouseZoom with Silverlight. As long as I'm working for a software company, I'm going to stay in the loop when it comes to on-the-ground development. I think that's an important trait for a PM, especially here. Running your own business, however small it might be, doesn't hurt either.
- In my time at Microsoft, I've been fortunate to work on and build stuff that enjoys a fairly large scale, relative to the projects most developers get to work on. I've been at the white board when we discussed new systems that had to scale, like the recently launched recognition and achievement system for MSDN/TechNet. My mission has to be about never breaking customers, and finding efficiencies that save money, time and resources, three constant constraints. These are important qualities for working in an organization that runs a service.
- Speaking of services, it does seem a little cheeseball when Steve Ballmer does his "all in, baby" speech, but clearly the biggest opportunity this company has is around services. Windows might be the big source of cash today, but the future is obvious. These services are our future. I want to be a part of that.
These LinkedIn recommendations might finally be useful...
- "Jeff is an intelligent and articulate programmer who has the unique ability to approach problems from a big picture perspective, while drilling into the small details while programming. Additionally, Jeff is extremely thorough and considers his assignments from various points of view. This combination of attributes makes Jeff exceptional and he will prove to be an asset to any company. It has been a pleasure to work with Jeff." - Tena Crock, Marketing Manager, Insurance.com
- "Jeff is extremely knowledgeable and has empowered me to learn more about the technical side of the business. Always with an open door, I'm never hesitant to walk in and say, 'I don't get it. Can you help me?' Jeff is patient and takes the time out to help. With a unique quick-wit and the skills to boot - he's a great guy to have on the team." - Laura Szarek, Account Manager, Digital Day
- "Jeff is smart, forward thinking, and a straight shooter. It's always a pleasure to work with him." - Paula Werne, Director of Public Relations, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
- "You suck. You play the worst music." - Random listener to the former WZJM/Cleveland, circa 1995
I can start relatively soon, given whatever the customary notice is for switching jobs. My current manager, <name removed>, is ready to give his glowing endorsement, and is supportive in helping me make this change. I've noticed they're already keeping the upper level of the parking deck clear in anticipation of me starting over here, so thanks for setting that up.
I look forward to hearing from you soon,