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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

I've known Jason pretty much since I moved up to Minneapolis, although I had heard of him long before that via his books and the Magenic tech lists. In addition to being a total languages geek, Jason's a pretty interesting guy with an eclectic background and a broad set of interests... it's probably why we get along so well. He's also a busy community guy, so I'm glad he was able to spare a few minutes to knock out this interview. So here it is, NINE Questions with Jason Bock:

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1. Where are you from (if it's different than where you are now, mention that too)
I grew up in Oostburg, Wisconsin, a small town about 1 hour north of Milwaukee. I currently live in Shakopee, Minnesota.

2. Who do you work for / What do you do / What is your product?  Give me the 10 second pitch
I work for Magenic - a software development consulting firm that’s Microsoft gold-certified – as a Principal Consultant. I’ve been there for almost 8 years and there’s no end in sight.

3. How did you end up doing what you do now?
I wrote my first program when I was 12 on an Apple II-e, and I liked working with computers, but I really didn’t get into software development until I was in graduate school at Marquette University. That’s when I got hooked. I joined Magenic because I saw a post from Jeff Ferguson in a .NET mailing list and I thought, “hmmm…he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about”, so I looked at his e-mail address, went to Magenic.com, and the rest is history.

4. ok, so I know you're a C# MVP but you're also a hardcore languages geek. What's that all about?
To make a long story short, I learned right away that I wouldn’t be programming in one language for the rest of my life. So I decided to read and learn about different languages and how they were designed, how compilers worked, etc. I think it’s paid off because I’ve been able to use that knowledge and apply it in different areas. This interest in languages also spawned a site that I run called .NET Languages (http://www.dotnetlanguages.net).

I’ve started up a languages user group in the Twin Cities (http://www.twincitieslanguagesusergroup.com) in an effort to bring people together who have an interest in programming languages. I’ve also attended the two Lang.NET Symposiums (http://langnetsymposium.com) at Microsoft. They’ve been incredibly educational and I hope they keep running them in the future – if I can swing it, I’ll be at the next one.

5. As a consultant, you've had your share of good and bad projects, what's the most interesting (project/environment/client/whatever) you've run into so far?
The most interesting was probably my first consulting gig back in 1997. In terms of “learning on the job”, this project covered it all: lots of new technology to digest, the business analyst was running at breakneck speed (i.e. nailing down business rules was really hard), dealing with developers who talked a big talk but wrote abysmal code, learning how to relate to different individuals within a large organization, and so on. In retrospect it was a great first project to be on, because I learned early on that being a consultant is not just about being able to develop software.

6. So what are some of your non-technical interests?
Being with my family is high on the list. I love to golf, although I haven’t played as much since I had my two boys, Hayden (3 1/2) and Ryan (1 1/2). Bicycling is also an enjoyable endeavor. I try to read as much as I can – I have WAY too many books that I haven’t read yet. Music has also been a big part of my life – I play guitar, bass guitar, drums and keyboards.

7. Any thoughts on Twitter? Facebook? Social Networks in general?
I like them, although I feel weird getting follow or friend requests from people I really don’t know. Creating relationships has changed significantly from when I grew up in school. The best social network I was ever involved in was XBox Live – specifically, Project Gotham Racing 2. I met a lot of fun people in online games – I ended up with a core group of guys that would race for hours on end, and I really enjoyed that. I use Facebook more as a way to get in touch with people I haven’t seen in a while, and Twitter to do “spur-of-the-moment” blogging.

8. You're a fairly public guy...but what's something most people don't know about Jason Bock?
When I was younger (somewhere around 11 or 12 years old) my parents got me a go-kart. They had 5 acres of land and I spent hours in the summer driving around the yard. I loved it.

9. Any tattoos?
No. I’m not against them, I just haven’t thought of a design that would have a lot of meaning for me. I wear 4 rings, each of which has a story behind them, and if I’d get a tattoo I’d want it to have that same effect.

Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 10:21 AM General Interest , NINE Questions | Back to top


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