I have been a Microsoft fan/enthusiast since I built my first IBM compatible PC back in 1994 which ran Windows 3.11 For Workgroups.

From that day forward, I was living in the Windows ecosystem with zero regrets.

My first website, built on GeoCities back before Yahoo! bought them, was in fact called Another Windows 95 Link and Resources Page and eventually led to my first domain – AnotherWin95.com. Over the years that site has morphed into WindowsObserver.com, my current home on the web where you are reading this post.

Since those days, I was blessed to continue learning about technology throughout my Navy career and as a personal passion. Then, when I retired from the Navy, I had the opportunity to work at Best Buy as a Microsoft Consultant basically doing computer sales and helping customers find what they needed in a computer. Following that, I also did a gig providing customer service and tech support at PC Matic for their software package.

Since 2014, I have worked for Penton and then Informa when they acquired the company. Thanks to an invitation from my friend Rod Trent, I started as a contributor for the SuperSite for Windows. After that, all of the tech sites merged into IT Pro Today and since then I have been writing about enterprise technology covering productivity and more recently collaboration.

I have worked with some great folks at SuperSite for Windows and IT Pro Today over the last seven years:

  • Rod Trent who brought me onboard at the beginning as I already mentioned.
  • Lisa Schmeiser, my editor, who taught me so much about being a journalist and writing solid copy. Her work always made mine so much better.
  • Sue Troy who came onboard to be our Editor in Chief to get us all aligned, organized and set our path forward. She is a great leader and manager.
  • Our Managing Editor Brian Holak who gets all our stories into the Content Management System plus makes great charts for our articles and takes care of all the other details related to publishing content.
  • My fellow on staff writer – Christine Hall – who recently retired from the business.

We were a small team at IT Pro Today, but we did quite well with a large field of coverage. Tackling news not to be first, but to really talk about how tech impacts organizations all over the world – that was our mission. I can’t thank everyone at IT Pro Today and Informa Tech enough for every opportunity I was provided there.

I will also miss hanging out in the press/media rooms with the other folks who cover Microsoft for a living at all the various events whenever I travelled to cover them for IT Pro Today. The folks at WE (formerly WagEd) who handle much of Microsoft’s press and media communications have been terrific partners as well.

Now a new phase begins in my tech career, one which I have dreamed about on multiple occasions when visiting the Microsoft Redmond campus during MVP Summits over my twelve years as a Microsoft MVP for Windows and Devices for IT (2010) and my six years as one of the inaugural Windows Insider MVP’s (2016).

I always wondered what it would be like to work for Microsoft inside of one of those buildings on campus. That opportunity has now arrived. Well, the team I am joining is actually fully remote – they have been since before COVID – so I will still be working from home but now as a Microsoft employee, but it is still the same vibe!

Yes, I am as shocked as some of you might be right now that this is all happening – it is surreal in many ways. However, believe me when I say I am also here for this and ready to get rolling with my new team. Less than two months ago this wasn’t even on my radar until my friend Harjit Dhaliwal, who joined Microsoft earlier this year, sent me a job description and encouraged me to apply.

The rest, as they say, is history!

I will be joining the Microsoft Q&A Team as the Community Manager later this month. I will be leading the public and internal efforts to support Microsoft’s global customers through the service to help empower everyone to do great things with Microsoft technologies. In addition, I will be working directly with the community members who are already so well engaged with Microsoft Q&A, many of which are MVPs themselves. This will include our existing community of contributors, moderators and others who make Microsoft Q&A what it is today.

Thanks to those of you from Microsoft, you know who you are, who were willing to vouch on my behalf when I applied for this position. The personal recommendations you all took the time to send had a HUGE impact!

I also want to add that being a member of the Microsoft MVP community over the last twelve years has been one of the best things ever. It is a great group of folks both amongst the awardees and the community leads who work so hard for the program and its members. I have made friendships through the MVP program that will last a lifetime and retiring from the MVP ranks is a sad part of this happy news.

Finally, if not for the love and support of my family – especially my wife Margo over the last thirty-seven plus years – opportunities like this are hard to come by without that unconditional love and support. I love you babe – I am blessed to have you in my corner!

Final Trivia Tidbit

I now will have something in common with Windows XP beyond just being a user of that terrific operating system twenty years ago.

Microsoft released that OS on October 25th, 2001 and I will be joining Microsoft on October 25th, 2021. This means I can look forward to celebrating many future Microsoft work anniversaries alongside of Windows XP!

I can’t wait!

For now, that is it, but I am sure there will be more to follow and keep an eye on as I share this adventure but without further delay – get the Microsoft Firehose ready because I am thirsty and ready to go!

Richard Hay in a Microsoft Logo Photo Booth
#BlessedBeyondMeasure #MicrosoftLife

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