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Herding cats job at Microsoft

Dan Farber: Tim O’Brien must have one of the more difficult jobs at Microsoft. As senior director of Microsoft Platforms, he is tasked with getting different parts of Microsoft to dance to the same tune. “Part of my role in the company is to help groups understand what the paths are,” O’Brien said during an interview at Mix ’08 earlier this month. “If the groups are heading down random paths, at the risk of oversimplification, we try to get on a common trajectory.”

It sounds like a herding cats job. Microsoft has multiple platforms and agendas, and strong personalities. “The evangelism organization was conceived to get people to adopt technology when it doesn’t necessarily seem rational, when there are no tools or documentation. Evangelism can help envision the possibilities. My role is to look at up and coming technology in the product groups and piece together an end-to-end story for developers and create a call to action,” O’Brien explained.

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