All Good Things | John Papa

John Papa

Evangelist on the loose

All Good Things


Short version:

My family and I are moving back to Florida, I’m leaving Microsoft, heading to Disney World, and we’re doing it to be near family. I’ll still be VERY active in the community and hopefully with Microsoft SmileMickey_logo_32074709_500w

What’s up next?

I’ll be working for Disney, but also writing articles for Visual Studio Magazine, doing videos, hosting some shows (TBA), and speaking at events. Wanna stay in touch with me? Follow me on Twitter at @john_papa

Longer version … (with a bit of a rambling)

It’s only been 2 years for me at Microsoft, but man it’s been a great 2 years! The day I started in Developer Platform Evangelism (DPE) I was thrown into the fire and it’s been a whirlwind since … but that’s also why I love being an evangelist. Where else can you be involved in multi-billion dollar products used around the world, speak in keynotes, host channel 9 shows, and get to work with icons in our industry? And with Build behind us and the excitement around Windows 8 just beginning, it’s a difficult time for me to leave … but it’s what I feel is best for my family.

We’ve decided to make the move back east to Florida to be closer to our extended family and have our kids grow up surrounded by them, as my wife and I did. This was a difficult decision to leave Microsoft as I’ve truly enjoyed the past few years working at the “mother-ship”. My last day is Monday Sep 19th, my family packs up the same day, and we fly to Florida on Friday. We’ll be living near Orlando and I’ve accepted a position working for Disney World as a technical leader in their Center of Excellence team. Disney is allowing me to continue my community presence, which was absolutely essential for me. I’m just too social and bleeding edge not to stay connected Smile  I’ll still be out there as I was before, during, and now post Microsoft doing the consulting/speaking/writing circuit.  Evangelism is in my blood.

I worked with a great team of folks, but I’d be remiss if I did not single out my boss (and skip bosses) Tim Sneath, Neil Hutson and Neil Leslie. They gave me the opportunities to succeed and I owe a lot to them. Great folks indeed.

Whenever you change jobs its nice to reflect to see if what you did had an impact. I like to think I did … and I certainly am very thankful that I took the plunge of moving out west for the past 2 years. No regrets whatsoever.

The decision to move to Seattle to work for Microsoft was a difficult one that my family and I took. But we felt that the career opportunity was just so awesome … and I absolutely have fond memories of my short but jam packed 2 years in Redmond. I spoke at 2 MIX events, 2 PDC’s, Build, Tech Ed, and several other conferences. In fact, in my first week at Microsoft I was asked to prep a 60+ page whitepaper about Silverlight 4, prep 2 demos for the keynote, and prepare a 400 level presentation for PDC, which was in 3 weeks. It was tough, just moving to a new city, but man it was a blast! Thankfully I had some great team members like Adam Kinney (who also became a very dear friend) who were there to lend a hand while I got my feet wet.

I soon found that just a week after PDC 2009 that planning had begun for MIX 2010 (at least my involvement). I am sure the event team led by Jennifer Ritzinger and Mike Swanson had been working on it for months already. There always seems to be something new to focus on, something with large impact, something to really immerse yourself in. That’s why I enjoyed it so much … always something new and a feeling that what I did could potentially have a positive impact.

I was track chair for the MIX events, hosted pre conference sessions, helped organize influencer events such as the MIXers and the Open Source Fest, prepared keynote demos (ex: ebay), spoke in a few keynotes, hosted community and partner interactions, got to work with amazingly brilliant people, and made several lifelong friends. I also had the pleasure of spending 6 months of deep planning while spearheading the Silverlight Firestarter event which had tens of thousand of people viewing it live. (Tons of folks went into this great event too of course, led by John Allwright and Raman Kohli.)

I got to work closely with the engineering groups too, most notably the Silverlight team, the Phone team, the Windows 8 dev teams, and the RIA Services teams. Hundreds of brilliant folks who were fantastic to work with. As a community leader, I was honored to be able to work very closely with and manage some groups such as the Silverlight insiders, RDs, and various MVP groups. Our community is a strength and is a tremendous asset to helping provide feedback to the product teams on the products created at Microsoft. I hope to go back to being one of those external influencers, myself.

The highlight of working at Microsoft was getting to know all the great people including Scott Guthrie. I had a chance to prepare and speak with Scott in a few keynotes. He’s an amazingly brilliant man who manages to juggle a lot of tasks. But the thing that impresses me most of all is that when Scott talks with people, he always concentrates his full attention on them. You know he has a ton going on, but he somehow shuts it out and gives people his focus … and I’ve seen him do it with customers and co workers, regardless of stature.

I also recall a little idea that my colleague Yochay Kiriaty (thanks man!) and I chatted about when I first got to Microsoft about a weekly Silverlight and Phone based video series that turned into 83 episodes and over 4 million views of Silverlight TV. And for most of this year I was immersed in Windows 8 XAML and HTML/Javascript … which has been thrilling. I was glad I was able to present a topic at Build, especially since this was my last week. I plan on doing much much more with Windows 8 in the near future … it really is an exciting time to be in our industry. I’ll leave more about Windows 8 for some future posts as I have a lot planned. You should be hearing more about Windows 8 from me at the upcoming events I’ll be speaking at, some videos I’ll be producing, and my new magazine columns (yes, there will be another one I should be able to announce soon too). I’m also working on some other exciting ways to share and interact with the community (hush for now).

But it is all about family … and my family is ultimately first on my list of priorities. We’ve felt detached from our extended family these past few years. I have 4 sisters, 15 nieces/nephews, am the youngest of 40+ grandchildren (I lose count), and have more family members than I can recall. All The vast majority of them live in NY and Florida. By moving back east we can see them more often and have our kids grow up living the family values that my wife and I both grew up with. My father, who is my best friend, lives in in Florida (as do my in laws, some uncles/aunts, cousins, etc) too. We lost my mother a few years ago to cancer and this year we lost several family members to time. No more regrets … the time is now … we’re heading back so we can enjoy the time we are blessed with.

Why Disney? Well, anyone who knows me well knows that my family and I are just crazy about Disney. We love spending time there, love the customer service, and I already was familiar with the team I will be working with since I consulted with them a few years back. In fact, my new manager is a former Microsoft employee too. I’m looking forward to jumping in, and who knows, maybe I’ll cross train with  Goofy … though the idea of hanging with Captain Jack Sparrow makes me light up Smile. As part of their Center of Excellence (COE) team I’ll be able to stay with leading technology and influence the next wave of technology at Disney. There is a lot going on at Disney and I am very excited to have an opportunity to contribute and have a positive influence there.

If you are ever in the Disney World neighborhood, look me up.

tags: disney family florida microsoft silerlight tv Silverlight windows 8 xaml
  • Amazedsaint

    All the best John!! We enjoyed all the great things you’ve done, and hope that’ll continue. God bless your family.

  • joe healy

    sad to lose you from msft.
    happy to have you coming to florida…

  • Domagoj Pavlešić

    Sorry to hear this, but you’re right, family is the most important. Good luck and thanks for everything!

  • Shawn Wildermuth

    You’ll be sorely missed, but at least this means we can see you at local code camps and you can get us free tickets to the parks. Right?

  • Rachel Hawley

    Very best of luck to you John. It was great to see you make such an impact in the seemingly short years you were with MS. I wish you and your family all the best with your move back home. I hope we get to see you at some more community events soon.

  • Todor Mihailov

    Great work at Microsoft! Thank you for all your episodes on Channel 9 and Silverlight presentations. Good luck!

  • Behnam

    wishes the best for you, I’ll miss your Channel 9 shows 😉

  • Michael Washington

    I look forward to continue working with you as we tackle these new technologies. I am honored to have met you in person several times and you are an honest person with integrity who always did everything in your power to assist us.

  • Rob Eisenberg

    Best wishes to you John! and Welcome back!

  • Ryan D.

    Congrats John – sounds like a great move! Will be seeing you around the FL tech community!

  • Vic Klien

    For those of us in the field trying to decide how committed to stay to MS, it is troubling to see people leave.
    You’ve covered the positives of working at MS with the SL/Win8 products. I’d love to hear the rest of the story, but I realize that’s unlikely :).
    The workload at MS does sound like a challenge.
    Thanks for your contribution to the community!

  • Laurent Duveau

    Good Luck.. you did an amazing job for the Silverlight community. Family comes first, so that should have been a tough but good decision.

  • Todd Anglin

    Good to see you and spend some time at BUILD before the big move.
    Again, best of luck with your transition to Disney. Always fun to meet another Disney fan. I’ll look for your XAML touch in the parks this Christmas. :)

  • John Osborn

    Good luck John. You’re one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met, and a joy as an author. Congrats on putting family first. You’ll do well wherever you are.

  • Ward Bell

    All the best, John. Your friendship, enthusiasm, wit, and intelligence are a pirate’s treasure. MS will miss you.
    Fortunately, you will remain among us. But please … take off those ridiculous ears.

  • Esteban Garcia

    Sounds like a good decision for the right reasons. Best of luck with everything! Really glad to have you here in Orlando!

  • Tad Anderson

    Good For You!!!! That sounds like an awesome gig!!!

  • Michael Sync

    All the best John!!
    You did great job for our community..

  • Jeremy Likness

    John, congratulations and best of success. It’s always a blessing to hear of someone making changes in their life by putting family first, that’s never a decision that can go wrong.

  • Dave Campbell

    Awesome, John!!
    Congratulations, and best of luck in the new job.
    I’ll see you around the web-o-sphere :)

  • Paul Congdon

    John, wonderful job with Microsoft; you will be sorely missed in the community — whatever the SL community will morph into — Shawn pegged it by saying: “and you can get us free tickets to the parks. Right?” Lol.

  • Wade Wegner

    Best of luck, John! We’ll miss you in building 24!

  • Justin Angel

    Congratulations John! Best of luck in Disney and moving back to Florida.

  • Kunal Chowdhury

    It’s a big shocking news for us. All the best John. Thanks for everything that you gave us.

  • Vikram Pendse

    You are the best ! Thanks for all contribution of yours towards community and I am sure will continue in coming future. Wish you all the best !! and best wishes for your family !!!

  • Jay Kimble

    I already DM’d you.. but wow! Glad to have you local again, but like others have said I will miss you on the big stage..
    So you wanna speak at my Silverlight Group? (just kidding)

  • Arthur Dumas

    I have enjoyed your Silverlight TV videos. Of course all Silverlight devs are a little anxious right now and it didn’t help when I saw that you didn’t have a new video in over 3 weeks, but I’m sure Build had something to do with that. :-) Welcome back to Florida (I’m in Sarasota where I think you originally moved from).

  • John Garland

    Congratulations John – both on the job at MSFT and at having the commitment to your family to do what you felt was right by them. Can’t wait to see my daughter playing with the Silverlight version of

  • Galen Murdock

    Congrats on a family-focused move, John. Disney’s lucky to have you on their team. Thanks for all the XAML goodness, and here’s hoping the MIXer tradition continues!

  • Colin Melia

    I can’t think of a better reason to move than family. All the best to you and your family, John. Hope to see you at an MVP summit or Disney World! :)

  • Oscar Agreda

    John , is very sad to see you leave, we all grew up in Silverlight 4 with you always on the screen.. All I can say is thank you. You did a great job, many of us will have better Silverlight jobs because of you.
    best of success!!

  • Debug_Mode

    Thanks John ,
    You have been a great influencer and I wish very best of luck to you and you family for future…
    I request you to be active in community.
    Thanks alot for all your blogs , books, talk and show

  • Mick Norman

    Thanks for all your great work John and all the best in Florida, Disney.

  • Basarat

    Move to Disney world …. never a bad decision :) All the best!

  • Braulio

    All the best !!
    If you move to florida, Ms should think about opening a branch there ;-).

  • Oscar N.

    All best wishes. Thank you for great job in the Silverlight community.

  • Peter Kuhn (@Mister_Goodcat)

    Just a quick thank you from Germany for all you’ve done for the community in the last two years. All the best!

  • Gill Cleeren

    John, I wish you all the best in whatever you start!

  • Tonci Jukic

    It was great following your great community work and you’ve been of much help to us who work within MSFT ecosystem. – Of course, the most valuable thing of all has priority.
    Good luck at Disney!

  • Jeff L.

    Congratulations! :)

  • brady gaster

    Congratulations, John! I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well and keeping moving on!

  • Joseph Guadagno

    Best of luck returning home.

  • Ed Sieja

    Good luck in the new job…sounds like fun. It has been great getting to know you over the last few years. The family option has always been first with me as well and you can never go wrong making that decision.

  • Dave Bost

    Congratulations, John! You made the right choice! A job is a job. Family is Family!
    I’m not going to lie. I’m a little jealous. Microsoft and Disney are two companies I’ve always wanted to work for. Your new job sounds like a ton of fun and excitement. Congrats!!!
    ps. Does this mean I can bug you for discounted park tickets??? :)

  • Raj

    John – all the best to you and your family. It was a pleasure working with you when you were here on the east coast. When you went to MS I thought it was for the long haul but, yes, family comes first. Will miss you on Silverlight TV. Thanks for all the great info.
    Good luck,

  • Scott Barnes

    You did a great job whilst at Microsoft. You’re what I call “good microsoft” (ie kinda like “Good-police” via the TV Series The Wire).
    Thanks for keeping the Silverlight masses informed and holding the brand up nice and high for all to interact with! :)
    Disney?….way coooool….

  • Dusan Musak

    All the best John! You did a great job.

  • Ali Daneshmandi

    Wow. Disney! So cool. Congratulation John.
    Wish you a great success in Disney. And Thanks for your great impact on the Silverlight community.
    Good luck man!

  • Allen Conway

    Welcome back here to Central Florida John! Disney World sounds like an exciting adventure. Hopefully you can participate yearly now in the Orlando Code Camp too. Good Luck and see you around!

  • Allen

    Good luck to you and thank you for all the community support around Silverlight. It’s been fun to use this technology and to be part of the community as an “in the trenches” developer. Honestly, sometimes challenging too. For the most part there was/is a great network of resources to go to for direction and enlightenment and you were a big part of that network. All the best to you.

  • Denny

    Wow when you move you don’t mess around! 3K miles at a hop!

  • Bayer White

    Welcome back John! See you at the codecamps.

  • Veera C

    If this means I can see your name on my favorite Pixar movies, I will be absolutely thrilled. Good luck :)

  • with

    John your hard work @ MS definitely did not go unnoticed by the dev community. You da man!

  • Jim Wooley

    Congrats on the new opportunity and challenges it will bring. Sorry I couldn’t have congratulated you in person last week.

  • Christian Nagel

    John, it’s always great seeing your presentations. I’m sure that’s an interesting opportunity with Disney, and the weather is better. I wish you all the best in your new role.

  • Sara Summers

    You will be missed John! Seeing you as Capt Jack is more than enough to make the visit to Florida : DD

  • john

    Thanks y’all .I’m honored every time y’all read/watch anything I do.

  • Adam Kinney

    That was fun to read through your reflection, what a fun-busy time.
    Congratulations again, we’re all happy for you. Except for the dog. She still bought that sunlamp, thinking it would help…

  • Prabhu Vellingiri

    All the best John Papa!!! You really did a great job…

  • John Allwright

    John – working with you on the Silverlight Firestarter is the highlight of my Microsoft Career to date – so many memories and superhuman efforts to pull it off so spectacularly. Stay in touch and hope to visit y’all when we’re you’re way some point in the future.

  • Layla

    It was great working with you! Sounds like an amazing gig — best wishes!

  • Mike Huguet

    Awesome. Good luck! I’m the opposite of you. I’m starting my adventure with Microsoft as a .NET PFE in October. We love Disney and will definitely be continuing our annual trips during Mardi Gras. We stay in our pop-up camper in Fort Wilderness. With four kids it makes for an interesting adventure. I’d love to periodically see a blog from you on your experiences working for Disney IT. I tend to research open positions every year after we get back from our trip :) I’ll look you up, if I get on an engagement at Disney Orlando.
    @Todd Anglin – didn’t know you were a Disney fan…

  • Omid

    We have to follow our MS Bruce Willis hereafter at Desney :-) Love u man, I’ve learned a lot from you on Silverlight. Wish u my best 😡

  • Sreeni

    Great Job on SL TV…

  • mtiede

    Really, REALLY sorry to see you go. Thanks SO MUCH for you evangelism of Silverlight and things Microsoft. You were a great help.

  • James Manning

    Thanks for such awesome work, John! (and sorry it’s taking me so long to comment :)
    In particular, I think you’ll have (or at least, I desperately HOPE you have) a lasting impression on Microsoft and the entire ecosystem in terms of how to make development tools/stacks so much more approachable. IMHO there’s too much content at the top and bottom ends of the complexity spectrum, and SLTV in particular was a great example of getting into technologies deeper than ‘Hello, World’ without having people’s eyes glaze over. It’s a rare ability to take something so abstract and be able to really relate it to a broad audience of developers the way you’ve done.
    It’s quite a ‘circle of life’ moment for Disney, as obviously it’s a huge win for them to have you, but they’ve also recently lost their largest shareholder and board member. I’m sure you’ll be doing great things there, and make sure to let all of your readers know of any other blogs/feeds we should be watching in the future to keep seeing all your great work!
    Good luck, John!!

  • Pat

    Hi John,
    Guess you and I will cross paths soon! :) Glad to have ya here.

  • diing

    Thanks so much for your great job on SL tv. it’s a great help. sl tv seem stop release, any idea for the next espisode?


    Many thanks for all you’ve done to the community members. I’m just deep in Silverlight whithout knowing anything in WPF and because of your evangelism shows I’ll never leave it.

  • Jalpesh vadgama

    Good luck John… I have always read every writing of yours. Best of luck for your new position and Hope fully we will hear more from you.

  • cam

    Your time at Microsoft corresponds almost exactly with my learning and use of Silverlight/WPF. I always thought of you as my conduit into the inner workings of the technology. Thanks for all youve done for the community. I admire all the effort it must have taken but I admire your dedication to family even more. I’m sad that you’re moving on from MS but I’m really glad that you are willing to sacrifice for your family’s values (and that you’re a fellow Disney fan). Best of luck!

  • Greg Gum

    Oddly, I myself am in the process of moving to Florida. I like to think of it as an early retirement!
    In any case, thanks for all you did for SL while you were there.

  • Rod Falanga

    I only learned this week that you left Microsoft. What I shock! I’ve followed Silverlight TV with great interest, in order to help me in learning and using Silverlight. However, it sounds to me as though you’ve made the right choice for your family, in moving to Florida. Good move, man! I wish you all the best.

%d bloggers like this: