Change with a capital C: Moving to Microsoft

Some of you may know me as a corporate researcher, doing research studies for private-sector clients. Others may know me as an academic researcher, doing studies to publish in academic journals. I am actually both kinds of researcher, and have had an extremely difficult time occupying both realms.

That is, until now.

I have found probably the only place on Earth where I can do rigorous, academically informed socio-cultural research into technology that will actually impact the design of that technology. That place is Microsoft. More specifically, it’s at Microsoft’s head office in Redmond, Washington.

This is where I have found myself since November 5. The day after, my friend Barack did me a solid by agreeing to continue as President for 4 more years (thanks also to the people of Washington State for voting for marriage equality and a little fun on the side).

I’m working in the Envisioning team at Microsoft Office, researching changes to the social world that involve how and in what ways we use technology. My research will lead to the future vision of Microsoft Office, a product that currently has over 500 million users worldwide. Yes, you read that right. It’s an amazing opportunity to take all my scholarly training and make a difference in the world. I’m under no illusion that working at Microsoft means that I can now fix everything that’s wrong with technology (far from it!) but I also know that I’ll have a hell of a lot more impact than I would working at a university. I’m also delighted to say that I plan to never attend a faculty meeting (suck it, haters).

Ryan and I have signed a lease on a house in the Queen Anne neighborhood, and when I say “Ryan and I,” I really mean just me. Ryan’s still home back in Toronto, closing down our life there. As I write, we have a conditional offer on house, which (fingers crossed) should close soon.Ryan and HollyCat will jump on a plane and join me here for Christmas.

My company Copernicus will continue to exist, at least on paper. It is a corporation, after all, and not a person. Or maybe I got that backwards.

The last 2 weeks have been a blur and the future has yet to become clear. But please wish us well in this adventure in the Wilds of Washington State.