Today we took a rather deep decision. In order to enable some awesome new stuff that I cannot possibly talk about, we needed to turn off support for original Xbox consoles and titles on Xbox LIVE. It wasn’t easy, and was taken with the utmost consideration for our customers to enable new functionality. But this post isn’t really about that specific point. I didn’t think this post would be hard to write but… Instead, wait…look over your shoulder! WORMHOLE!
November 15th, 2002. Rochelle and I arrived belatedly in Seattle. I’d been officially hired by the Microsoft Security Response Center. We drove from Dallas to Seattle at my insistence. There are a lot of reasons for that but the primary one was that I loved so much making that drive. You crossed the plains of Kansas then through Colorado and the Rockies across the continental divide and then into the severely underrated Utah and Idaho lands.
But in this case I was tense. I’d already been hired by the MSRC and my start date was November 22, but Rochelle and I had to get up to Seattle in order to start the process of relocating along with all the work that comes with moving from one Microsoft Realm to the other.
Let me try to explain that. When you move from one Microsoft business unit to another, you might need to move network information or other attributes. This required a whole bunch of “e-paperwork” and other stuff while you tried to figure out the real life stuff. In a really funny example of that the person who set up my Seattle account info set me up as “Stepto Toulouse” that’s how well he knew me, or what I was called.
I remember the moment Rochelle and I arrived in Seattle very well. Cresting the Cascades in my Jeep Wrangler after a treacherous drive through Snoqualmie pass, we entered the foothills east of Issaquah. While driving, the mist of the November snow storms wisped over the low hills in a spectacular show of pacific northwest beauty.
“See?” I said to Rochelle, “Seattle is saying hi!”
It’s really hard to describe the beauty of that type of moment. But at the same time I was nervous as we were about to check into Microsoft Corporate Housing and my Xbox was in the back of the jeep. Two moments were about to be defined as one.
It wasn’t hard to get situated. My start date meant I would ramp up super fast. All the while, Rochelle would have to look for a house.
See I had my Xbox with me, and the temp housing in the apartment complex they put us in had broadband.
Observant gamers will notice that every October, my Xbox LIVE tenure triggers before everyone else. My friend e is the very first gamertag and his tenure triggers in late August, so he’s one step above me.
But Xbox Gold customers from our launch, trigger in November. I was lucky enough to be one of the first MS employees to be part of the pre-release version of Xbox LIVE. The sole reason I had brought my Xbox console to Seattle during that most crucial of life changeovers was to make sure that no matter what, I could log into Xbox LIVE the actual day it moved from Beta to actual launch.
And so it was that on one simple day in the midst of an incredible life change while trying to sell a house, buy a house, and fundamentally alter the very nature of the work I had done at that point for Microsoft…We got back from house hunting. I hugged Rochelle and poured a drink. I took the time to stop, sign in, and make sure that the very day we launched Xbox LIVE I was there, and played some Crimson Skies.
Collapse the wormhole.
April 15th, 2010*.
Rochelle is asleep upstairs. I spent most of today putting Xbox 1 LIVE support to bed with amazing people who love what they do. We toasted that bootstrap of success for what we are today and tonight all of us are reflecting on what’s next.
* THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT