I have decided to leave Business Integration Group (BIG).  I've been at BIG for a little over 5 years, and it's been a fantastic journey with them.  I'm very happy at BIG and it was very difficult to decide to leave them.  I've also thoroughly enjoyed the DASL project that I've been a part of for the majority of my tenure, and it will be difficult to walk away.

To say that I've been happy at BIG is an understatement.  It's a terrific place to work and the company is stacked full of some very smart people.  It has been an honor to work there and I do not hesitate to recommend BIG to folks that are looking for new opportunities.  I can't say enough good things about BIG and I will sincerely miss being there.  But as tough as it is to leave, April 17, 2008 will be my last day.

When you're happy with your job, it's very easy to neglect or completely forget about your long term goals and aspirations.  Last fall, I started thinking about mine again, wondering where I should be in 5 years, or even 10 years.  Even though DASL is huge and really has an affect on the entire state of Ohio, I found myself desiring something bigger, better, and farther-reaching.  I've long pondered how I'd top DASL, how I'd move on, and what I'd do next.  I'm not even 30 yet, and I've worried that creating DASL would be the highlight of my career and that it would all be minutia here on out.

For the last few years, I've confined my thoughts to how I'd grow at BIG.  What projects would I work on with BIG?  In what ways can I learn new things from BIG?  Because I have been so pleased there, I hadn't even considered leaving BIG for another company.  But after seeing Scott Hanselman, Phil Haack, and Rob Conery each join Microsoft, I was inspired.  I revere each of these gentlemen and to see them accept offers from Microsoft made me think about leaving BIG and opening myself up to a much bigger world.

Kelly asked me if I'd want to go work for Microsoft and I didn't know.  Honestly, I had never considered it before, so I was uncertain if I'd be interested.  As she and I talked, I thought again about Scott, Phil and Rob.  These guys are good, and these guys are smart.  They went to Microsoft.  Maybe that is where good, smart people go.  Maybe that's where I should go.  I wouldn't dare put myself on the same playing field as Scott, Phil and Rob though, so I knew that getting Microsoft interested in me would be no easy feat, if that was even something I wanted to happen.

Kelly and I resolved to being open to the idea of working for Microsoft.  We put it on the 5-year plan.  The plan was for me to work on developing myself and making myself visible to the community, vying for a Microsoft MVP award.  Then I'd need a big idea; something I could put out there and call my own; something that would get attention; my Subsonic if you will.  End game would be Microsoft calling me and asking me to come work with them.  Hey, I can always dream!  But regardless of the outcome, this plan focused on personal and professional development, which is never a bad thing.

I immediately began blogging more, and developing some of my ideas.  I actually even came up with a business idea that involved using technology to simplify people's lives, and I began working on prototypes for the application, using ASP.NET MVC.  I drummed up some support for the idea, and it was really looking like the business would start up and take off.  Within just a few months, I was already meeting some of the milestones on the plan and working toward accomplishing my goals.  It felt good.

But then Phil Haack threw me a curveball.  Well, he didn't throw me a curveball.  He doesn't even know who I am.  But he changed my life, directly and single-handedly.  Phil announced some job openings at Microsoft on his blog.  I almost dismissed the post without reading about the jobs; I marked the post as read and moved on.  But I decided a few minutes later to go read the job descriptions to see what they had going on.  The jobs sounded great; my interest was piqued.

Again, I consulted with Kelly.  I told her about the jobs and she was also intrigued.  These sounded like the jobs that I thought I'd want 5 years from now, but they were available immediately.  We decided that I should put together my resume and think about submitting it, but we didn't want to rush into it either.  In fact, I waited about 2 weeks, but during that time, I worked very hard on making my resume portray my accomplishments as best as possible.  I was extremely pleased with the result.  During those 2 weeks, Kelly and I talked a lot.  We knew that it would require relocation to Redmond; and she was unwavering in her support.  We decided to go for it.

On May 5, 2008, I will start my new job at Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington.  I will be working as part of a team whose goal it is to make building rich internet applications using the Silverlight runtime extremely easy and approachable for the developer community.  In other words, I get to help build out the Silverlight platform!  I'm pumped!

I'm sure you've noticed that my blogging has slowed to a crawl over the past month.  This is because things have been chaotic.  Since accepting the job offer, we've busted our butts to get ready to move.  We purged all of the superfluous stuff that we don't need, did some repairs and upgrades to the house, and got it on the market.  We got it under contract within 4 days of listing, passed home inspection, and now we're planning our relocation.  Everything has gone very quickly, and we haven't really sat back to breathe it all in yet.

Once settled in at Microsoft, I expect to be able to resume my blogging pace from December and January.  I like having a post every day or two.  My new boss (and his boss) have both said that I'll be encouraged to blog while at Microsoft.  You should expect to hear a lot from me about building applications with Silverlight.  But I'll probably still tinker with ASP.NET MVC and talk about it too.

I'd like to thank my wife, my friends, and my family.  Everyone has been very supportive and I am deeply indebted to all of you.