Microsoft?s Grandmaster of Funk

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‘Softie in Question: Scott Dart

Job title: Senior Program Manager on the Windows Team.

What part of Windows are you working on?

I could tell you but I’d have to kill you.

Seriously?

Seriously.

So, you oversee this highly classified software program while also playing in a 10-piece funk band?

I play baritone sax for DoctorfunK. We’re a high-energy funk/soul/R&B band with five horns, a rhythm section, and vocals. Our second CD is about to come out and we even played at the Muckleshoot Casino on December 26th with the former lead vocalist of Oakland funk legends Tower of Power.

Sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate.

Fortunately, working as a Program Manager at Microsoft is smooth sailing compared to negotiating the rough waters of the music business and band politics.

How funky is Microsoft?

Microsoft has lots of soul insofar as the company has always allowed me to be myself and maintain my dual passions in music and technology.

I’ve never once had a problem because I needed to schedule a gig or band practice around work. Microsoft even flew me down to California to spend the day performing and filming with this crazy electro-rave band called Soul in the Machine for an internal company video.

Moreover, I’ve developed a lot of other creative skills and interests here – especially becoming an avid wildlife photographer since working on Windows Vista and Windows Live Photo Gallery.

And how did you start at Microsoft?

I got a BA in Jazz Studies in college and followed that with a BS in Computer Science. A few years later, I wrote some free music software and distributed it over the Internet. Electronic sax stuff. A guy in Bellevue got in touch with me because he was running into a bug with the software.

As I lived nearby, I went to his place to debug it and we became friends. Several months later, he introduced me to some of his co-workers at Microsoft who happened to need someone with my programming background. So, my buggy, but innovative music freeware opened the doors to the world’s best software company.

An interesting and unexpected path, no?

It’s not that uncommon of a story for Microsoft. I’ve met so many smart, creative, talented people here and it’s always interesting to learn their background and how they got here. Some of the most intelligent and successful people I’ve worked with have only a high school education. This place understands that the best talent isn’t always conventional and that passion and creativity go a long way.

Links:

Doctorfunk’s site: http://www.doctorfunk.com/

Doctorfunk on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/doctorfunkspace

Scott’s photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scott_dart/

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