Microsoft veteran Jeff Alexander 20th anniversary


After devoting 20 years of his life to the evil empire, Microsoft Australia employee number 27, Jeff Alexander, is still fascinated by the occasional Microsoft freebie.

Today the 26th of August 2007 marks Jeff’s 20th anniversary at Microsoft where he will become the 2nd oldest serving employee in Microsoft Australia. In comparison, notable ex-Windows-executive Jim Allchin had only spent 16 years at Microsoft.

As we were chatting at TechEd Australia, it had struck him that he started working at Microsoft before I was even alive. Spooky! Jeff kindly provided this synopsis of his life at Microsoft including his fair share of job changes and challenges.

  • 1987 – Started at Microsoft at the age of 22 on August 26th. My first role was Accounts Payable clerk which involved all things accounts payable. In those days we used to pay employees in cash. My how times have changed.
  • 1990 – Moved into a Customer Service Role which was a pre-sales technical support role. I did a lot of upgrades over the phone and took the call for the first person to upgrade to Windows 3.0. This was because of the timezone we are in and NZ did not have an upgrade team in place. I spent 2 and half years in this role and averaged around 100 calls per day.
  • 1993 – Moved into Product Support to work as a technician delivering telephone support on desktop applications such as Word for DOS, Word for Windows, Word for Mac and Excel for Windows and Macintosh. At this time we also had to do a stint in MS-DOS 5.0 support for 3 months so we could understand the underlying operating system because in those days everything ran on top of MS-DOS.
  • 1995 – Windows 95 is released as you know to huge fanfare. By this time I was in our Internal IT department as a helpdesk technician and was charged at this time of deploying the M8 build of Windows 95 internally before it was released. It was a pretty interesting project given how new it was so we were blazing new ground at this time. The M8 was what we call a Beta or CTP today and was the most stable build we had to deploy internally.
  • 1998 – Moved into the NSW Sales team as a Systems Engineer responsible for talking to customers about Windows NT, SMS and eventually Windows 2000 and Active Directory. In 1999 we deployed Windows 2000 internally which was monumental because it was the first large scale deployment of AD in the world at the time. A lot of work went into this project. During this year Bill Gates came to Australia and I was his technical support person during his visit. Very nerve racking but fun all the same.
  • 2000 – As a company we were as worried about Y2K as everyone else and hired generators as a business continuance measure and had the PSS folks working when the clocks ticked over. Of course nothing happened but we were ready all the same.
  • 2001 – Took a role back in our internal IT department as DataCentre Manager for Australia & New Zealand and spent 3 years in this role mainly working on projects to provided value back to the business. The biggest one was our consolidation project of many of our servers to Singapore. During my time we went from about 85 servers down to 30 or so.
  • 2004 – because I consolidated so much of the internal infrastructure there was not much left for me to do in my IT role which is how I ended up in the IT Pro Evangelist role I’m in now. This is a great job because it allows me to talk to customers on technology I have passion for. It’s a great role and I see myself doing for some time to come.
  • 2007 – August 26th 1987 is my 20 year anniversary at Microsoft in Australia. I’ve seen a lot in that time and seen technology change a great deal. And the best thing I’ve been on the edge of it the whole way which has been really cool. Here’s to another 20!

Apart from everything, I only hope those Microsoft stock options are serving him well. 🙂

9 insightful thoughts

  1. Do attendees get a backpack like this ?
    I am attending the HongKong Tech-ed and it saids a Tech·Ed 2007 backpack is included as giveaways !

  2. Aah! Loyalty! It is refreshing to see an employee of 20 years excited about a freebie. Refreshing and sad at the same time. I hope this is not the most valuable reward he has got here 🙂 Just kidding. Congrats to Jeff

  3. I like how you captured my expression in the background. I think I saw someone being sucked into the wormhole as they mentioned something they shouldnt have…

  4. @James: Attendees do get backpacks, but this was a speaker’s backpack. The attendee ones are a little less ‘cool’.

  5. I didn’t see such an loyalty employee and an employer for a long time. I can say only that Microsoft are serving him well for such devotion

  6. Just with Jeff write now in Canberr at an Azure IT Camp.
    If Jeff is not president of Microsoft one day he will surely be proclaiming Microsoft and all its coolness somewhere instead.

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