Careers: Interviews
Barnaby Jeans, Leading International Technology Authority and Leader; Developer Audience Marketing Manager

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Barnaby Jeans.

Barnaby JeansBarnaby Jeans joined the Microsoft Canada team in November 2004. In his previous roles he has helped identify and grow the IT Manager audience as well as established the Tech Enthusiast activities within the Evangelism team. He is currently the Developer Audience Marketing Manager and is responsible for supporting the Canadian Developer Community through events, the MSDN Canada website, the community connection blogs, and the work of the entire community team. He was a key team member for the 2005 SQL/VS/BizTalk launch and the Vista and Office launch, and most recently led the Visual Studio 2008 launch across Canada.

Before joining Microsoft, Barnaby most recently worked as a Sales Engineer for Red Hat and helped to establish their Canadian sales force. Prior to that, he worked as a technical Sales Consultant at Oracle focusing on enterprise architecture. He brings over 10 years experience in dealing with customers of all sizes and on all platforms.

Barnaby is also a past member of the CIPS National Board representing the CIPS sections in Southwestern Ontario.

In his free time, Barnaby enjoys digital photography and has a young son that keeps him busy.

Barnaby graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Science and currently lives in Cambridge, Ontario.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:33: What triggered your initial interest in technology?
"....The interest and appeal was being able to create something myself and having the ability to go out and build something new. Not be constrained by what somebody else had already done or what was already available, but to try out new ways of doing things and to create something that I had envisioned and wanted to be able to accomplish...."

:01:40: Before your time at Microsoft, can you profile your key prior roles and valuable lessons from each role?
"....I started out building computers and learning from the ground up on the hardware side of things. I got into a few small companies doing some entry level network administration, server installs, hardware repairs, networking - so I got a great background, even before graduating, on how things work in the real world.....After university I came into a couple of interesting roles at Oracle.....The benefits there were really looking at understanding customers and their pains and their needs as they are using the software....I then made a switch to a software company on the open source side of things and helped establish their sales office....I spent a short time there before ending up at Microsoft...."

:04:47: How did you get to your current position at Microsoft and please share your key career and technology tips from this journey?
"....I was looking at something that would allow me some room to grow and exposure to different opportunities. Microsoft was a natural fit both in terms of the background I had as well as the opportunities for different areas...."

:05:49: You have been successful in setting up the IT Managers and the Tech Enthusiasts area and have been one of the key principals involved in some of the launches that have occurred including one of the first Energize IT conferences. Can you profile that in more detail?
"....I think the one thing that is common across all those events whether its a launch, setting up the IT Managers Blog or some of the tours we did talking to IT managers, is how do you bring back, in a way that makes sense to the audience, the message that you have around technology?....How do we bring that breadth of technology to the audience in a format that they are able to consume?...."

:07:15: What do you hope to accomplish in your current role as an audience marketing manager and can you overview your key initiatives? Why should the audience pay attention?
"....When I think about the audience that I serve (which is the developer audience), developers have a unique ability....They are taking, in some cases, a concept or an idea and bringing that to fruition by creating something that comes back to solving that business need. When I think about that from an audience marketing perspective my role really is to say to the developers, "You have a vision in your head that you are trying to build - I want to make that process as easy as possible for you"....To that end we are putting together a series of events....Tech Days, which is a Microsoft series which we will be launching later this year which is all about providing technical skills and making sure that developers and IT professionals know best how to use our products and technology...."

:09:12:  You also have ownership of the MSDN Awards. Can you profile what to expect in that event?
"....The real intent around the awards program is to recognize and showcase the great work that people are doing on our platform....This gives people the opportunity to share their creative work or to share their business solutions....."

:10:16: Please share your picks for the top trends in IT?
"....The two positive ones are around software plus services......The one that concerns me a little bit and crosses over from an IT side to a business side as around social media...."

:14:27: What you do see as the top trends in Business?
"....The one trend from a business perspective and this does tie back to IT....businesses either recognizing or failing to recognize the relevance or value of IT...."

:16:11: What do you see as the top trends in education?
"....I think by the time people get into high school and into university they've already made their career choices. I think as an industry what we need to be looking at is how do we get students at a very young age thinking about a career in some sort of technology field.....As we look to IT being more and more strategic, making sure that we have enough people entering the industry to help fill out those roles and perhaps even creating new roles...."

:17:60: What are your top recommended resources and why?
"....The one overwhelming theme is that it's online. That's where I'm getting the majority of my information and definitely where I'm going to point people towards....What I try to look at is what are the areas I'm interested in.....then I start to look at things like Twitter, things like Facebook, things like the different alert services, and putting in some of those keywords on sites like Technorati to see what sort of responses are coming up. The reason behind that is that it gives you a lot better flavour of the breadth that people are talking about, what the issues are, as opposed to picking one site and getting one thing...."

:20:16: Can you share stories centered around one or more of these themes: Amusing, Surprising, Inspirational, Disruptive, Historical?
"....I have been talking to customers for many years. The one thing which surprises me is really how small the world is....especially how small the IT ecosystem is in Canada and around the world...."

:22:29: The UN-founded International Federation for Information Processing or IFIP has their Professional Practice Partnership Program which received full ratification at the world general assembly in August 2007 with their first implementation meeting in Montreal hosted by CIPS in October. This marks an historical inflection point and speaks to IT as a recognized profession with global standards, profession-based code of ethics, and widely adopted professional certification-all happening in 2009. Can you comment on the benefits of this global initiative?
"....I think what this particular program does from a global perspective is to really take it to another level which says that the people certified under this program have a level of proficiency around the technologies from a broad basis. But it goes further, it talks about things like the code of ethics and I think that becomes really key, especially when you look to businesses that are doing more online, that are using technology...."

:25:18:  If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and what would be your answers?
"....We've talked about the business side of things and the work side of things. I would like to hear a little about what people do as their stress relief or their free time or their personal side of things...."


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