My name is Drew Robbins. I'm a Technical Evangelist for Microsoft in Japan focused on Cloud Technologies. My job is to get developers excited to build and deploy cloud applications on Microsoft Azure.
I've been exploring software development for much of my life. I started early, when my dad sat me in front of a TRS-80 Model III. I would use BASIC to write small programs. I quickly became addicted to the infinite number of ideas that could be realized with software.
I eventually taught myself Turbo Pascal and developed software to run my BBS on the family PC. I named the software Odyssey and even got two other BBS sysops in the Cleveland area to run it.
Through college and my early career, I spent time with C, C++, Perl, PHP, Cold Fusion and eventually landed on C# and ASP.NET as my primary tools and languages. I still love to learn new tools and languages and discover new ways to build cool and useful software.
There are three things that drove me to become a Technical Evangelist:
- Passion for technology.
- Driven to enable people.
- Desire to do something unique and impactful.
To give you an example, one of my proudest activities that included all three of these things was my involvement in the start of CodeMash, an annual developer conference in the central region of the US. The conference is all about developers who are passionate about technology and their craft for creating software.
From the beginning, my role was not creating the conference, but enabling the people in our developer community to accomplish something big. Today, the conference has grown into something more unique and impactful than anything we could have imagined. The credit goes to the great volunteer team of organizers - but I'm proud of the small part I played at the beginning to instigate and support it from my role at Microsoft.
If you know my family, the answer to you may be obvious. My wife is a native Japanese and I've been holding her captive for the past 12 years in the United States. But the reasons really go beyond that.
I've traveled to Japan every year for the past 12-13 years. I've had a chance to meet lots of Japanese developers and people in the local Microsoft office. I've always been impressed with the depth of technical knowledge, the connection with the developers around them, and the creativity in doing something big.
So when the opportunity was available to be a part of the great team of Technical Evangelists and the great community of developers in Japan, I went for it!
- Early career (1996 - 2005) - I started working in IT at a media and CD manufacturing company called Metatec in Dublin, Ohio. The company was started by Jeffrey Wilkins who also founded CompuServe. As I finished my schooling, I moved to a consulting firm and began doing more software development, leveraging my degree from The Ohio State University. I landed at a company called InDepth Technology, who's founder got me started down the path of evangelist.
- Microsoft US (2005 - 2008) - I joined Microsoft's Developer & Platform Evangelism team in April, 2005 as a Technical Evangelist focused on developers in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and (unfortunately) Michigan. At that time, the technical evangelists called on enterprise customers during the day and supported community and User Groups in the evenings.
- Microsoft Corp (2008 - 2014) - I moved to the corporate headquarters for Microsoft in Redmond, WA originally to be a global evangelist for the developer platform in Windows Server 2008 and IIS7. Soon after, I began managing teams of evangelists focused on Visual Studio, .NET Framework, Windows client and most recently Windows Azure.
- Microsoft Japan (2014 - present) - I am really excited about the next phase in my career. I am as excited about starting this role in Japan as I was excited to join Microsoft originally. I believe this is a chance to get back to some of my core passions as an evangelist and also do something big and impactful with the very talented evangelism team in Japan.
Outside of work, I've got lots of interests. Some of them:
- Snow Skiing - My whole family loves to Ski. Now that even my youngest is on Skis, we spend many weekends in the winter on the slopes.
- Cycling - This is a new one for me so I'm still learning and discovering. I've tried mountain biking and road biking. I'm leaning toward road biking to replace long distance running which is causing too many injuries.
- Travel - I love to experience new places. I do not like being a tourist so typically just dive in and try to find local experiences vs following a guide book.
- Food - Usually coupled with my travel is trying to find unique local foods. I have a mantra that I'll try anything once as long as somone in the world calls it food. And I will always enjoy the experience, if not the food.
- Beer - I like to try new beers, an interest that developed because of the many micro-brews available in the Seattle area.
- Cigars - I am not a heavy smoker, but I do like to smoke an occasianal cigar, enjoying the tastes of different hand-crafted cigars.
I'll be writing in this blog to cover the developer community and related events that are happening in Japan, to the rest of the world in English. I want you to know about the great people that I am meeting and the great successes we are having as a developer community in Japan. I'll also continue to write about the learnings I have as a software developer along the way.