Geek Profiles – Scott Guthrie

Part of what Tim and I do is to provide meaningful connections between the dev team and the community. Today I’m happy to launch a new series of Geek Profiles, highlighting many of the folks who design and implement Silverlight.  These are not intended to be “People Magazine” puff pieces, nor are they  intended to be probing journalistic inquiries into their work; rather a small attempt to bring forward some of the amazing people who work on this project in their own words.

There couldn’t be a better person to begin with than Scott Guthrie.   Scott is Corporate Vice President .NET400px-MIX_Keynote-Scott_Guthrie_09_MS_05_2007 Developer Platform and is responsible for the development of Silverlight, the CLR, ASP.NET, WPF, IIS, and Visual Studio (among others). Not bad for a guy who was born three years after I graduated high school (!)

 He describes himself in a single sentence, “I live in Seattle and develop a few software products for Microsoft.”


He has, in fact, become something of an icon among .NET developers, and I’ve commented before that he is the first manager I’ve ever seen at a presentation get a standing ovation before saying a word.

On a personal note, I met Scott twice. The first time was in the very early 1990s at an author’s dinner, where he impressed as a very bright, interested guy, and I remember my editor and I saying “someone to get to know.”  It took about 15 years, until I met him again as part of my interview process at Microsoft (after seeing him give a sea-change presentation on Silverlight, but that is another story).

During the time I was in his organization, I had the opportunity to talk with Scott quite a bit, and he has a unique ability to convince you that there is nothing he’d rather do than spend that 5, 15 or 30 minutes talking to you – everyone feels it.  He is passionate about his work, and about quality and I honestly think he is a bit nonplussed by becoming a geek celebrity.

Here is the brief interview I had with him a couple weeks before PDC:

Q: What are you most enthusiastic about in Silverlight 4?

Scott: I like the power that is now available to out of browser SL applications.  This really opens up a ton of possibilities for developers.

Q:  Do you have any words of advice for Silverlight programmers?

Scott: Use the power of SL for good and not evil :-)  There is a lot of power there and you can do a lot of things – but always make sure that what you do enhances the user experience of your solution as opposed to being purely gratuitous eye-candy. 

Q: Can you tell us something (or some incident) that folks probably don’t know about you?

Scott: I’ve been fortunate to have been at the beginning of several projects – including .NET, ASP.NET SGBobbleHeadand Silverlight.  It has been a fun ride.

Q: You are the only techie I’ve ever seen get a standing ovation before his presentation. What do you think has most contributed to the “Gu” phenomenon?

Scott: It is an odd thing and I’m not really sure what to think about it.  I’m flattered (and kind of embarrassed) by it all. Ultimately it is really the technology people are excited about.  Many, many people enabled the technology – my role in the grand scheme of things is relatively small.  

Scott’s quote on receiving the bobble-head: “Weird. Very weird.”



Scott’s Blog


Editor’s note: yes, this was quick and light, and the future profiles will, I hope, have a bit more depth, but the goal is not to create a full profile but rather to introduce some folks on the team you may not know.  I’ll try to include the super-stars like Scott, and Mike Harsh, Karen Corby and Brad Abrams, but also some of the developers who do not present and who you may not yet know.

In any case, I’ll follow up with Scott now that Silverlight 4 is released and try to get a bit more of a look into how he came to do what he does.


[Coming up next week: serious mini-tutorials, both on Silverlight From Scratch and on the HyperVideo project, MEF, and much more]

About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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