How does one become a Microsoft analyst?

Last night, a follower on Twitter asked me the following:

[blackbirdpie url="!/robertmclaws/status/154446168846368768"]

For those who don’t know, my day job is as a research analyst at Directions on Microsoft (DoM). Unlike most analysis firms that focus horizontally across various vendors in various markets, we focus exclusively on Microsoft (which DoM has done for 20 years this year). This single vendor approach has enabled us to dive deep and lets us answer questions about Microsoft’s software, services, hardware, and even complex licensing agreements at a level few other organizations can (sometimes even including Microsoft itself).

Like so many things, there isn’t really a “formula” to how I, or any of my analyst peers, arrived here. While almost all of us are EXMSFT, all of us have significant experience in some combination of the following:

  • working at Microsoft itself
  • writing about Microsoft
  • advising, managing, or deploying Microsoft software in the enterprise

For me, I’ve had a series of fortunate events that have led to a career path that has been quite a fun ride. I’ve worked with Windows for 20 years this year as well, and worked on Windows itself (primarily XP and early on during Longhorn) for almost 5 years.

As I mentioned, there is no magic formula.  The most important parts are  an interest in Microsoft and general curiosity in the  enterprise (and increasingly, consumer) software  technology spaces, and a desire to help customers/readers understand it.