We were recently introduced to Kory. Fascinated by his journey from Microsoft to startup, back to Microsoft – we asked him to share what he learned and why he came back. His answer: “I looked at opportunities at several companies around the area, and they all had something in common: None of them provided the impact and opportunity that Microsoft had to offer.”
Kory values work-life balance, and when he is not managing a team of 25 in his Building 28 office on main campus, he enjoys spending time with his family and staying active. “Washington offers an abundance of destinations and outdoor activities,” he says. “This is one of the reasons I was drawn to Seattle.”
A snapshot: “After learning to rock-climb at Marymoor Park just minutes from Microsoft, my son Jace and I climbed this peak, South Early Winters Spire, near Winthrop, WA.”
Today, Kory shares his Microsoft story, in his own words:
Working on the Windows operating system may not be for everyone. For me, there are many reasons why Windows is a great product and working on it is a great privilege. Windows is complex, and understanding the internals of Windows is something that takes time, requires technical depth, and a passion for digging into details.
My father was a mechanic. He taught me the value of understanding how things work, how to take things apart and put them back together again, and maintaining things to keep them running smoothly. And he taught me to be creative when things don’t go as planned. Just like working on a semi-truck, working on Windows has these same qualities.
I enjoy applying what I have learned to solve real problems. Windows is core to many technologies and products, and working on Windows requires extreme care to ensure the people who depend on it can go about their day and perhaps just take all our hard work for granted. Working in WinSE (Windows Sustained Engineering) provides an opportunity to learn the internals of Windows, to develop new code for Windows, respond to feedback from customers, and update Windows via updates, hot fixes, and service packs.
I started at Microsoft in October 1990, in product support for LAN Manager. Understanding customer pain got me interested in software quality, and I moved to the Windows 95 team testing networking. In 1999, I took a development job in WinSE and worked on many areas of Windows. For the next five years, I developed code for networking, active directory, security, user interface, kernel and driver code, user mode code for task scheduler, and developed patented technology for how to service software. In 2008, I was recruited to lead the team that ensured the Windows logo meant “devices just worked.
In 2008, I left Microsoft to start my own company. Over the next four years, I learned how startups worked, how to build a product from the ground up, and ultimately how hard it is to grow a customer base and revenues. It was a difficult decision to stop working on something I started, however I knew there was more I could do elsewhere.
What to do next? I looked back on my career and what I enjoyed most and one group came to mind: WinSE. After a few meetings and some challenging interviews, I accepted a Test Manager position in the WinSE User Experience (UEX) team. The UEX team is responsible for the user interface in Windows. Chances are if you can see it, swipe it, click it, type input into it, change settings to switch languages, or type on a soft keyboard…then the UEX team probably designed, developed, tested and maintains that code. This is not a small or trivial area.
Each day I come to work, I am excited about the opportunities in front of me. Working with a talented team of people makes each day at the office a place where innovation happens.
Do you share the same passion? Curiosity? Drive to challenge yourself while impacting the lives of millions of customers? If so, get in touch. We would enjoy learning more about you. You might be surprised how you too can apply your skills to deliver the best possible experience to Microsoft customers.
When he’s not at home in Woodinville, WA, or on campus, you can find Kory camping, hiking, riding motorcycles, mountain biking, or enjoying a great meal with family and friends.
Are you inspired by Kory’s story? Meet more employees working in NUI, Xbox and the Cloud who are also changing the world.
Here’s how to advance your career path.