Welcome, Frédéric!

by Joey deVilla on November 29, 2010

Frederic HarperA little while back, we put out some job postings for a couple of developer evangelism positions that had opened up at Microsoft Canada. You might remember my post talking about our search for a developer evangelist based in or around Toronto, and as of this writing, we’re still interviewing people for the position.

We were also looking for a French-speaking developer evangelist based in either the Ottawa or Montreal area, which we talked about in this blog post. We found him – it’s Montreal-based Frédéric Harper!

Fred’s one of the bright lights in Montreal’s tight-knit and very active open source community, participates in all sorts of social tech events around the city (including our Make Web Not War event earlier this year), but also has dabbled with Microsoft technologies. He has a blog, A la Base 2 (“In Base 2”), and its tagline is Parce que le monde n’est fait que de 0 et de 1 (“Because the world isn’t made of zeros and ones”). If you can read French – or perhaps put up with a little machine translation – you should check it out.

Fred announced his joining Microsoft on his blog, and below is my attempt at translating it into English. Please keep in mind that I am not a professional translator or even a student of the French language; I just like to party with mes amis and picked up a little French along the way.

Of the people in the Developer and Platform Evangelism group at Microsoft Canada, I think I’m especially looking forward to working with Fred. We have the same small-company, open source background, and more than a few people have described him as my Quebec counterpart. I’ve been feeling like Beavis without Butt-head (or is it the other way around?) since David Crow’s departure, and I’m looking forward to working with Fred!

And now, Fred’s blog entry:

The king is dead, long live the king

A little pretentious, you say? No – I’m not talking about me; I’m using an expression often used to refer to big changes. Believe me, I have a big change to announce!

Change

TechDays badge that reads "Frederic Harper / Microsoft"The more perceptive reader will have already figured it out after seeing the badge pictured here. Indeed, a change of course is happening in my professional life: I accepted a offer for job tailor-made for me, developer evangelist at Microsoft. This of course means that I’m closing my company,  will thus have understood that brings at the same time the closing of my company À la base 2, because with all the beautiful challenges that await me, I can’t take on any more work once fully ensconced in the company from Redmond (I’m not moving, I will remain in Montreal).

Putting aside these last few months of effort to start my company was not an easy thing to do, especially since things were going well, but this was a once in a lifetime chance! Still, I grew through this experiment and in spite of the fact that I won’t be offer my services, I’d be happy to introduce you to the good people in my network who can help you out.

From now until the end of December, I’ll finish what I’m currently working on and from January 3rd onward, I’ll hold this new position. I’d like to thank all the people who believed in and trusted me! The people who offered me work that I refused without hesitation will know that only an evangelism job could make me change my mind about my career path. I even talked about it in a blog post. about what I wanted to do in 2010

An evangelist? Will you preach the good news?

In some ways – not for some religion, but for Microsoft tools and technologies. I return to my old standby, which I never really left: web development – that’s going to be the area where I’ll specialize. Why did I say that this job was tailor-made for me?

  1. My social side = going to user groups, conferences, Microsoft events…
  2. My technical side = talking to other developers, building apps for examples/presentation…
  3. My gadget-loving side = to try out the company’s new gadgets, products and technologies…
  4. My extrovert side = public speaking and making presentations…
  5. The side of me which likes to learn = my first days will be to learn, at least the broad strokes, the panoply of products, services and technologies that this giant offers…
  6. My “big brother” side = to help developers grow their careers, to get their projects done, to help them with their technological choices…
  7. My “challenger” side = I met my team and some people from Microsoft and they’re easy to get along with, but also very smart. I look forward to the challenge, especially as the new guy on the team, and since I’m replacing Christian Beauclair who’s made quite a mark, and how in spite of my experiment, I still have a multitude of things to learn…

Simply put, this job fits me very well. I talked with a few people about the job while I was considering it, and whether they’d know me for a short of long time, before I even said it was a dream job, said that I was made for the role! Moreover, it’ll make me practice my English and give me the chance to travel across Canada. What more could I ask for? For me, it is really is a “dream job”…

Really? At Microsoft? You?

Seriously, yes! I’m not saying this for the money or to please anyone. Frankly speaking: had you offered my this job four years ago and I would have said, “No, never, not for the Evil Empire!”. It’s easy to poke fun at Microsoft when you’re not all that familiar with it. Four years ago, I didn’t play with any Microsoft tech other than Windows and Internet Explorer. Thanks to my stint at IBI Solutions Inc., I saw the good things about the company and their products. At Make Web Not War last year, I could see a sincere change of attitude and that the company listened. I want to belong to this change!

It’s just the beginning!

It is indeed only the beginning! The beginning of a new adventure for me. The beginning of several beautiful challenges that I will face. The beginning of my first job at a large company. And of course the return of this web site to a simple blog, as it was at the beginning.

From now until I start at Microsoft in 2011, I won’t be talking much about this, because my full attention will be devoted to my current project, but I’ll share my thoughts on this change in due time. And of course, you’ll hear me talking more often about Microsoft, but I’ll still be the same Fred you always knew…they hired me in spite of knowing all about me, the fools!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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