The day I fell in love with software was exciting and connected me to a vision of the future that I have held deeply since. It was nearly the end of the 6th grade for me, four Commodore Pet personal computers were installed into a room that was previously a closet at my school, Friends Select in Philadelphia. Within 15 minutes of reading the owner’s manual, I had a for loop running that made asterisks fly across the screen. My first game was in the making..
Flash foward to May 1990, Bellevue Washing, Ridgewood Business Complex.
Dave: What is significant about the lparam in the wm_menuselect message?
Cyra: <pause> I don’t know – are you asking what you use the lparam for?
Cyra: I have no clue. I have not used owner draw menus. And I have been using Glockenspiel C++ precompiler for much of my work lately.
<several more of question and answer patterns just like this one>
Dave: <yelling> You don’t know Windows! You’re not a windows developer
That was the auspicious beginning of my career at Microsoft. During this interview, I began to believe that Microsoft was going to ask for their money back for my airfare. I was terribly frightened. Dave’s neighbors in the cube village screamed at him – “Don’t be an asshole during interviews”. That is when I knew that I had to work here. At the time the company was a small upstart going against corporate behemoths like IBM.
20 years later, I’m sitting in building 5, light streaming into my corner office with the same exuberance coursing through my veins. The industry has changed, Microsoft has changed, I have changed… but I still passionately love tech. Even though Microsoft and I have fought, broken up and gotten back together, we know each other’s flaws, each other’s abilities and have found some ways to work together. There are phases in my career where I hate Microsoft for not doing the right thing for industry and other times where I love it for giving me opportunities to do things that I would not otherwise have.
Since the 6th grade, I have the same hope for software, technology and their respective industries – to help humanity to realize its potential. For each of us to maximize each of our respective abilities to help each other and to discover all that we can be and do. Though few people would characterize me as an optimist for the world or humanity, I find myself still a prisoner of hope.