Alex Barnett blog


Thank you Microsoft, Hello Bungee Labs

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain

Why am I quoting this? Well, my desire for new adventures has gotten the best of me once more…Friday March 30th will be my last day with Microsoft and I’m off to join Bungee Labs, a start-up based in Utah. A little more about that in a moment, but first I wanted to say a few things regarding Microsoft.

Old Microsoft, New Microsoft

I joined the 'dark side' 5 years ago (nearly) to grow, learn, do 'stuff that matters’ and have fun while doing it. Along the way, I've had the opportunity to work with truly amazing people on amazing things. During my time here I've seen the company begin its transformation from a company that was perceived to be highly mysterious and "evil" (among certain communities) to one that is arguably now perceived as less mysterious and not quite as "evil" as people thought (although some will probably argue with this last point, but I'm not here today argue...). From the business standpoint, Microsoft has been motoring- here's a tidbit for you: in the past five years, the number of employees since my joining has grown from 50,621 (2002) to over 75,000 today, and revenue growing from $28B in 2002 to $50B by 2007. I think that's amazing.

It's an interesting point in time to be leaving I think. Change has been and is still occurring at Microsoft, but for companies as large as Microsoft this change takes time. What has been unique in some respects, is how some of this change has been occurring right before our eyes via the web: dialogue through employee blogs; magic like Channel 9; Microsoft's Open Source Labs and Codeplex (these are more than just lip service), efforts by product units and individuals to engage with the web development standards community, little signs that Microsoft is 'getting' the web thing ;-P ; doing 'the right thing'; the articulation of the Windows Principles; the ability to not take oneself too seriously; revealing Softies really are made of flesh and blood; blogger dinners with execs; product teams meeting with skeptics; and that we Microsoft can work well with the competition. There's the kind of change that we won't hear about for a while and I'm looking forward to following the continued progress on a number of fronts.

At this point, it would be appropriate to call out some of the people I admire and have influenced me in positive ways and provided me with support and great advice while at Microsoft, but the list would be too long, and I'd risk missing people out. So, look, you know who you are - and I thank you :-)


So now on to Bungee Labs.

As I said, Bungee Labs is a start-up based in Utah and I'll be joining as VP of Community on Monday. That means I'll be leaving leafy Redmond and moving my family to the Salt Lake City are (or thereabouts) at the end of the summer.

A big move for me in every sense, but that said I've gone down the entrepreneurial before (for 7 years prior to Microsoft) and am dying to get back into that mode.

So what is Bungee Labs? Well, I need to respect the fact that I'm still working for Microsoft until Friday, so a detailed pitch for Bungee Labs just isn't appropriate. Bungee Labs is in private beta mode today, so there isn't anything for you to play with today. You can visit the site and there is some information there to give you a flavour of what it's all about and info on how you can learn more.

Once I've joined and I can tell you more (I promise ;-). But I can tell you this today - Bungee Labs is cool, the oh-my-that's-the-coolest-thing-I've-seen-and-I-want-to-be-a-part-of-it-kind-of-cool-thing that gets me very excited. Hey, it had to be to take me away from a job, the people, the company and a city I love!


Jeff Barr said:

Congratulations on the move! Bungee is doing some really good work and I'm sure with you on board things will get  even better. Say hello to the gang down in Provo for me.

# March 26, 2007 5:43 PM

alexbarnett said:

Jeff - thank you sir. I'll pass on the message :-)

# March 26, 2007 6:06 PM

paul said:

Utah is an amazing State, many years ago I hiked all around Arches National Park, it was like being on Mars.

Last year I spent three days at Zion National Park;

Too many people I know have left Microsoft in the past year...

Keep blogging your adventure, hope to catch-up with you sometime, somewhere....

Thanks for your contribution to the New Microsoft and good luck at Bungee Labs!

# March 26, 2007 7:04 PM

TrackBack said:

# March 26, 2007 8:23 PM

DeWitt Clinton said:

Congrats, Alex.  Bungee looks very promising with a bright future, and while Microsoft will clearly miss you, it sounds like a great opportunity.

# March 26, 2007 8:34 PM

Assaf said:

Congrats. I'm guessing from their Web site you'll be  Service Orientated Alex from now on?

# March 26, 2007 11:20 PM

orcmid said:

Oh, well, Provo.  Interesting.  Hmph.

This old place is beginning to not be the same any more.  I guess change is growth, huh?

Good luck, God speed, and teach those folk all about cricket, ok?

You'll be missed.

- Dennis

# March 27, 2007 1:24 AM

james governor said:

please get me on the private beta. i dont know what bungee is but it must be bloody good if it is cool enough to get you on board.

# March 27, 2007 3:48 AM

Stewart said:

All the best Alex!

# March 27, 2007 7:03 AM

JaAG said:

It's always goodness to have Microsofties at other companies. That's right good friends everywhere. Good luck to you Alex!

# March 27, 2007 9:24 AM

TrackBack said:

# March 27, 2007 10:43 AM

TrackBack said:

# March 27, 2007 10:43 AM

Jason Kolb said:

Good luck Alex!  Keep us posted on any cool stuff you're allowed to talk about ;)

# March 27, 2007 1:12 PM

Sam Sethi said:

Good luck mate and let us know on Vecosys about Bungee Labs and we'll spread the word over here ...

# March 27, 2007 1:55 PM

Kevin Briody said:

Good luck Alex, you'll be missed at the big Softie. I have to say I'm jealous of the job title "VP of Community". Got to find me a startup that puts that much emphasis on community. :)

# March 27, 2007 3:11 PM

TrackBack said:

# March 27, 2007 4:16 PM

Nathan Weinberg said:

Congrats, Alex!  I hope your new gig treats you like you deserve, and that you enjoy Salt Lake.  I recommend watching SLC Punk to prepare :-)

Microsoft is truly the worse not having you.

# March 27, 2007 4:28 PM

TrackBack said:

# March 27, 2007 7:51 PM

Justin Thorp said:

Alex, congratulations on the new job.  I'm sure you'll do great things at Bungee labs.

As VP of Community at Bungee, I assume you'll be blogging there too?

It has been a pleasure getting to know you through this blog and I look forward to hearing about your new adventures.

# March 27, 2007 9:46 PM

alexbarnett said:

Thanks to everyone for the very kind comments :-)

# March 28, 2007 12:16 AM

James Cherkoff said:

Best of luck Alex.  Look forward to hearing about it over a few beers.

# March 28, 2007 4:14 AM

Faiz Rehman said:

Hey Alex! All the best with the new venture. Sounds exciting!

# March 29, 2007 2:43 AM

harry fowler said:


Congratulations on the new role, another big chapter starts although outside the 7 year cycle I see.


I and all at MajorPlayers... wish you every success for the future.


# March 29, 2007 3:02 AM

Mark said:

Alex, Bungee are a lucky company to have you on board! Looking forward to see what they have hidden up their sleeves.

Say hi next time your cricket team tours sydney ;)

# March 29, 2007 3:21 AM

tabs farooq said:

Well done Bungi,

I am so happy for you buddy. We are all very excited about seeing you in a couple of weeks in WI for WC....even though my boys are out and have bumped off poor old bob!!

Once again mate, well done and Tor, Zak and I wish you and the family all the best!!



# March 29, 2007 3:27 AM

Steve Bowbrick said:

Congratulations and best of luck to you friend!

# March 29, 2007 4:44 AM

David Ing said:

Congrats with the move Alex.

Microsoft's loss I think.

Good luck to you - and welcome back to 'new venture' land - it's the place to be ;-)

# March 29, 2007 9:18 AM

Juliet Gillie said:

I only know you from the start up days and you were in your element then. Good luck.

# March 30, 2007 4:35 AM blog said:

Today's my last day at Microsoft , ending with an exit interview. That should be fun... Last night

# March 30, 2007 11:14 AM

Korby Parnell's Social Software Wunderkammer said:

With a farewell quote from the greatest American writer of all time, my friend, neighbor, and idea-mate,

# March 31, 2007 5:58 PM

Vittorio said:

hey man, you will be missed. In bocca al lupo!!! ;-)

# April 1, 2007 12:02 AM

Deirdre Molloy said:

Good luck with the new gig Alex. I'm sure you'll be up to all sorts of good in it! The Chinwag posse will be keeping an eye on Bungee Labs :-)

# April 1, 2007 5:30 PM

Sam Michel said:

Congratulations on the new gig Alex, from the little I've managed to pick up on the web about Bungee, it sounds like an amazing venture. Good luck on the rollercoaster ride of the startup!

# April 2, 2007 5:09 AM

Scott said:


re: Utah. Moab! Beautiful little town. Lots of great hiking and mountain biking. Not to mention you'll be close enough to NM and the Grand Canyon that you'll HAVE to go if you haven't been before.

# April 2, 2007 2:38 PM

brady forrest said:

Congrats! I knew it wouldn't be too long before a start-up lured you away.

# April 3, 2007 3:42 PM

Chris Heuer said:

It may be belated, but congratulations!  Was just closing tabs (I have 120+ open at any time) and saw this one.  By know you have started and I can read more about it, but I am very happy you have found a new home and something to be excited and passionate about...

# April 4, 2007 8:52 AM

Betsy Aoki said:

I didn't have the heart to go read this post for a while after the goodbye drinkfest. :(

Hope all went well in the move and of course, you'd better keep in touch, you loon. :)

My best to the missus!


# April 6, 2007 7:32 PM

O'Reilly XML Blog said:

So in preparation for this, which is also in preparation for the launch of something even bigger, I've been pretty much heads down in both code and some other things of which I can't really speak about at the moment,...

# April 9, 2007 8:37 PM

Alex Barnett blog said:

Well, the great Bungee Jump has come. Martin Plaehn, CEO of Bungee Labs has shared the news of the company

# August 27, 2008 6:36 PM