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silly walk

“And now for something completely different.”

As far as I can tell, most people think this site has been part of a new, concerted “Marketing 2.0” initiative by Microsoft.  I’ve been flattered by that impression, to be honest 🙂  But now the time has come to dispel the illusion.

I mean, clearly MS is beginning to recognize the value of social media.  There are indeed official Twitter and Facebook entities for PowerPivot, for instance.  And the fact that people like myself, Dave, and Denny have been allowed to do so much blogging reflects a new awareness.

Heck, I in particular have been allowed to spend the majority of my time each day on this site and other evangelism/education efforts, while being a member of the engineering team.  That truly is a departure from the norm.  But the motivations (and permissions) behind my situation are completely “non corporate” in origin.

The real origins

Some of you may recall that I moved from Redmond to Cleveland last summer for family reasons, after thirteen years of building software in Redmond.  My management team back in Redmond wasn’t sure what to do with me at that point, or what the timing would be, but it was mutually understood that I wouldn’t be able to keep my product team role forever.

Outside of Redmond, I basically knew…  no one.  So…  what better way to get to know people than to start a blog?

And PowerPivotPro.com was born.  I paid for everything myself – domain name, WordPress.com fees, even had a custom logo made.  My girlfriend helped me with the site theme.

Off I went.  And no one stopped me 🙂

Thank you, SQL BI Managers

They had every right to stop me, to make me do something else, but they didn’t.  And while I was never privy to the backroom discussions about my activities, I am positive that their reasons for letting me run with it were NOT rooted in a desire for PR.

Hard to believe perhaps, but knowing the people involved, it was simply a nice, merciful, and generous choice that they made.  Keep that in mind next time someone casts Microsoft as the Evil Empire.  I’ve met some amazing, uplifting human beings over the years.  And I was lucky to be reporting to some of them when the fit hit the shan.

“A funny thing happened on the way to the theater…”

Another cool thing happened next.  I discovered that I loved this community role.  Meeting people.  Helping people.  Educating people.  Brainstorming with intelligent and creative data people, from literally right down the street to places like Stockholm, Detroit, Brazil, the UK, and the Netherlands.  Oh, and drowning them in movie quotes 🙂

I’ve kinda found my calling, in a way.  I see myself doing things like this for a long time.

But now that the PowerPivot v1 release is in the home stretch, the product team is switching gears over to planning the next release.  That’s the phase when they need Program Managers (that’s me) the most, and I can’t do the necessary types of planning work from Cleveland.

So it’s time for me to give them their spot back, so that they can fill it with another PM and do an excellent job on the next release…  for all of us.  My last official day at MS is Tuesday.

So what next?  Three things.

1) Keep doing all of this 🙂Couldnt find three ended candle, give me a break ok

As I said above, this community interaction has charged my batteries in a big way.  So I’m going to keep at it 🙂  This blog, the FAQ, Twitter – I’m still going to be doing all of these things.

And as I’ve said before, BI is the place to be, especially in economic times like these.  I’m very much betting on the MS BI platform with all of my future efforts.

2) Training and Consulting

As a natural extension of my community efforts, I think it makes sense to make myself available as a trainer and consultant.  Not many people have the particular mix and depth of experience that I do, and based on my interactions with MS customers over the past couple of years, I think I have a lot to offer.

I am open to partnership opportunities in this space – I think it makes sense at times to work closely with SharePoint and Database pros.  Drop me a note if you are interested.  I’m still very early in this process, and have some time to figure it out.

3) Back to Inventing!

Other than my friends, the thing that I miss most about Redmond is the ability to create.  It’s an amazing feeling to start with a completely blank slate, just a spark of an idea, and two years later be looking at a product like PowerPivot.  I thrive on that, so I’m also looking at options where I can burn the candle at all three ends, and build new products and services.

Stay tuned as I figure that out 🙂

Thanks for reading this far

I struggle to control my long-winded nature, and have been doing ok at that lately, but when it comes to personal stuff I quickly revert to old habits.

Thanks everyone – for reading this post as well as tuning in over time.

Sister blog on 14 years at Microsoft?

I have a number of more personal observations and stories – many of which are about nearly 14 years spent at Microsoft – that I am often tempted to share.  I’ve seen and experienced things that I cannot imagine happen too many places.  I refrain from sharing though, mostly to keep the content here as on-topic as possible.

I’m debating publishing those elsewhere over time, on a sister blog.  If I did so, it would be primarily for me, like a diary or time capsule, but the flavor of it might change if others were interested.  Drop me a note or comment if so.

Rob Collie

One of the original engineering leaders behind Power BI and Power Pivot during his 14-year career at Microsoft, Rob Collie founded a consulting company in 2013 that is 100% devoted to “the new way forward” made possible by Power BI and its related technologies. Since 2013, PowerPivotPro has rapidly grown to become the leading firm in the industry, pioneering an agile, results-first methodology never before seen in the Business Intelligence space. A sought-after public speaker and author of the #1-selling Power BI book, Rob and his team would like to help you revolutionize your business and your career.

This Post Has 18 Comments
  1. Congrats, Rob! It’s tough to leave a job you love, but the future is bright and you’ll do great. Judging by your activity over the past few months, you’ve already got the hardest part of self-employment figured out.

  2. Good luck Rob, i think there are a lot of company’s who would like to gain the expertise you posses. So the work will come to you :).

    “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”
    2001: A Space Odyssey

  3. Rob you will be sorely missed by Microsoft. You clearly have a gift for utilizing social media to get the message about about one of our key strategic portions of the Office system stack and I really think that it is a shame that Microsoft could not place you in an evangelism role along these lines. Well Microsoft’s shortsightedness will be someone elses gain. Best of luck to you as you transition to a new career phase Rob. I am sure you will rock.

  4. Rob:

    Welcome home !! I’m sure it’s a bit scary leaving the “Mother Ship” but I’m sure you’ll find the water just fine out here in the big bad world 🙂 … Once we get this product up and working I think we’ll all be able to make some money helping people get the most value out of their data and their Excel models.

    Talk soon.
    Dick

  5. well your gf had chosen the right theme for you.We will be waiting for more of your good work.Thanks for posts on excellence in excel

  6. […] In Redmond i’ll be joining the SSAS team to work on the next versions of PowerPivot and SSAS. I really love the concept of Self service BI and of course PowerPivot, this will give me the opportunity to help shape the future of Self Service BI. The funny thing is that I actually will fill the job opening that was created by Rob leaving the SSAS team. […]

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