I was just talking to a friend at Microsoft about what we used to work on (Outlook). It’s weird, I had trouble even remembering what it was that I did, but I remember thinking it was so critically relevant to the world at the time. And looking back, I feel like anything I did was wasted effort. For example, if you’re an Outlook user, do you know or even care that it repairs itself if a DLL gets deleted accidentally (aka, “DLL Hell”)? Nope. Without that feature, you’d just reinstall the app like everyone always did. But I spent at least 18 months working on that feature alone and a good couple dozen people across Office worked on it too. I estimate Microsoft spent at least $3 million (20 people, average $100k/yr for 1.5 years) developing that feature. And for what? Our time would have been better spent solving “DLL Hell”, which Microsoft is still trying to do, and/or making installations simpler.

I also worked on Netmeeting integration with Outlook, so you could schedule online meetings. But oh boy, back then Netmeeting was going to end business travel forever. I even have a patent on file for that! Does anyone use it? Nope. In fact, Netmeeting hasn’t been updated by Microsoft since last century. If I mentioned the other work I did, you’d be even less impressed.

Fast forward to today… I’m pretty lucky to have made the jump and started Recipezaar. The personal satisfaction of doing something you love for people who actually use it on a daily basis because they want to use it is what life is all about, for me anyway. My salary isn’t what it was back at Microsoft, but you know, I never much cared about my salary back then anyway. And I don’t dread Mondays anymore, in fact, I often work all weekend. And I enjoy it.

or maybe I just need more coffee.