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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

This time, I'm talking with Beth Massi of the Visual Basic Dev Center ( and ( at Microsoft.  You can also find Beth's blog at  In case you can't see it, the beer in her hand is a Victoria Bitter (get it?  VB!)


1. Where are you from?
I was born in San Pedro, CA (Southern California) but moved up to Northern California for college. I’ve been living primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area ever since.

2. Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to buy their product?
I’ve been working for Microsoft for a little over a year on Visual Studio. If I have to pitch VS to you then we’re in trouble ;-)

3. What brought you to your current employer?
Microsoft approached me to help revamp Visual Basic online content and community especially on our Developer Centers. Previously I was an Architect MVP working for an ISV in the HealthCare industry. I’ve been in and out of the consulting and HealthCare business for a long time and my favorite part of the job was always building app frameworks and mentoring people on programming best practices. I’ve always have had passion for the business application developer and this was a chance to really mentor people at a large scale. I couldn’t pass it up.

4. I've known you from your blogs for years, but that's just one side of you. What's something the world doesn't know about you?
I think most people know I have a FoxPro background but they may not know that I was a Program Manager on the VFP 8.0 product and designed two of the IDE features; the Toolbox and the Task Pane Manager, back in 2002. That was the first time I worked for Microsoft but I was a contractor back then. Another (less boring) thing about me is that I love sports, especially baseball. I have Oakland season tickets -- Go A’s!!

5. You went to TechEd2008 (Developers) this year. Was it your first time, and what did you think? Worth going back again?
It was my first time and I had a blast. Definitely worth going back again. I blogged about it here:

6. Lots of folks find equal or greater value in the networking, rather than the sessions. Would you agree?  Did you have a favorite session or event?
Working the booth was definitely my favorite. The most fun I always have is talking to people about what they work on, then trying to understand their business challenges and hearing what technology decisions they've made. But I also had a great time at the parties too ;-)

7. I followed a lot of folks on Twitter during TechEd, and it seems like the way to go when out of town. What's your take on Twitter?
I actually am on Facebook so I update status once in a while. I keep saying I should join Twitter but I don’t know if I have time to neglect another social app right now. ;-) I like Facebook because you can pick your “friends” (you define who they are) and you can use it as a very low maintenance way to keep in touch with friends/acquaintances. Twitter’s a much bigger pool and seems more of a way to keep tabs on what and who is going on in the industry.

8. Any non-technical hobbies? What are they and why?
Sports – okay more like watching Sports Center and going to baseball/football games in Oakland
Painting with acrylics – I needed some paintings in the house and thought “I can do that!”
Hiking / mountain biking – too many mountains around here, too little time
Racing /modifying cars – must get this one from my dad, last modification was bigger 300cc injectors and re-tune
Weight lifting – I’d like to be strong one day

9. Last of all, any tattoos?
Of course, I designed them myself. I leave it up to the imagination as to where they are. ;-)

Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 9:43 PM General Interest , NINE Questions | Back to top

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