Why did you choose to study computer science?
Learning to develop software was by far the most compelling thing I had ever done in school. Something about computer science and the way my brain worked just clicked. It was like puzzle solving with an element of art. I was hooked after my first CS class.
What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining?
Starting at Microsoft in 1995 and working as a developer, technical lead, manager and executive on Windows Media, Xbox and IPTV. Being part of Microsoft in the “early days” was incredibly exciting and rewarding. I got to work with so many smart, passionate people on projects that really changed the way people used computers. I couldn’t believe they paid me to do this work.
What moments in your personal life have been most exciting or defining?
After spending five weeks climbing in the Himalayas, I got sick on our final summit push and ended up with a “mild case” of cerebral edema at 24,000 feet. That experience made me contemplate whether mountaineering was a great choice to feed my endurance sport addiction. So I took up triathlon and trained for many years (ultimately qualifying for and competing in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 2008 and 2011). Triathlon is a humbling sport that teaches you the value of hard work and commitment to a goal.
What is your biggest career or life lesson to date?
If you want to do something great, do the work and stick with it for the long term. Success doesn’t come quickly or easy. Find your passion, work your butt off and keep going.
What advice would you give to current/future computer science students?
Develop expertise with core data structures and algorithms. You will use that knowledge for your entire career.