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Mohsen Agsen: Bridging the Gap between PC and Enterprise, Developer and Designer

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A rolling stone gathers no moss. What it does gather, however, is a great deal of experience. During his long career at Microsoft, Mohsen Agsen has been actively avoiding gathering moss. LAN Manager, MCS, bCentral, Exchange, Visual Studio and … oh yes … games too. These are just a few of the products and technologies that Mohsen has been involved in.  At each step along the way, he's built and maintained a reputation for being a strategic thinker and technical leader.
During this episode, we discuss with Mohsen some of the challenges that Microsoft has faced in the past, and learn how not just Microsoft, but the industry in general can deal with the challenges of today.

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  • User Interface is everything. Three cheers.

    Designers involved in the user experience of the application--all the time.  Amen.

    What teams are actually practicing this at Microsoft?

    I bet there are very few.

    The applications should be several orders of magnitude better if you practice what you are preaching.

    What is the soul of your application?

    Sounds like a religious question or thread--lock it Charles.  Wink

    He is definitely on to something about decentralization away from the Redmond command and control center. Let a hundred hubs bloom.

    Right on target about software and film making.

    Are you (Moshen) by chance involved with the Expression Blend/Visual Studio user interface experience?

    If you are, when will Expression Studio have an NLE application for video?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-linear_editing_system

    Very interesting conversation.

    Thanks for sharing the video on Channel 9.

    Cool
  • MinhMinh WOOH!  WOOH!
    No download link?
  • Watched for about 10 min. Such a long living passion for the technology and games is very attractive.

    Then needed to take a break for 1h, and paused Silverlight playback. Come back and... there is an error message box stating unable to download some content. 

    It would be nice to have a little bit more resilience in handling resume and temporary disconections.
  • Jeff Sandquistjeffsand Inch by Inch
    Minh wrote:
    No download link?


    I added it, but it is not showing up.  While we try and get that fixed, you can download it here.

    Postscript: Now fixed.  Guess it was a caching issue.
  • PerfectPhasePerfectPhase "This is not war, this is pest control!" - Dalek to Cyberman
    raymond wrote:

    If you are, when will Expression Studio have an NLE application for video?


    Is it really nessacary for ES to have this functionality when you already have the likes of Premier etc out there.  I would have throught that the workflow would be edit video in external app and then import into Expression to be encoded? 

    I can see why there are the current applications in the suite, they target media directly related to native editing of MS formats, but I don't see video editing fitting into this.  It would be nice to have that functionality in ES for doing simple edits but anything more strikes me as a waste of resources better spent else? 
  • PerfectPhase wrote:
    Is it really necessary for ES to have this functionality when you already have the likes of Premier etc out there?  I would have thought that the workflow would be to edit video in an external application and then import into Expression to be encoded?

    Yes, it makes sense if Microsoft wants to compete with Adobe.  Microsoft should add a non-linear video editing application to the Expression Studio suite and integrate it with the rest of the applications in the product.

    As things currently are, Microsoft has a long way to go to catch up with Adobe, and there isn't a compelling enough story for designers to pick up Expression Studio.  Adobe is the incumbent.  Microsoft is just getting started.
  • JChung2006 wrote:
    
    PerfectPhase wrote:
    Is it really necessary for ES to have this functionality when you already have the likes of Premier etc out there?  I would have thought that the workflow would be to edit video in an external application and then import into Expression to be encoded?

    Yes, it makes sense if Microsoft wants to compete with Adobe.  Microsoft should add a non-linear video editing application to the Expression Studio suite and integrate it with the rest of the applications in the product.

    As things currently are, Microsoft has a long way to go to catch up with Adobe, and there isn't a compelling enough story for designers to pick up Expression Studio.  Adobe is the incumbent.  Microsoft is just getting started.


    I currently use both Adobe Premiere Pro CS 3 and periodically Adobe After Effects.

    Most people buy suites or studios of software not individual applications.

    The web is more and more about video including Channel 9 and Youtube.

    If Microsoft wants to capture the creative professional market, it has no choice but to have both a NLE and motion graphics applicatons as part of the Expression Studio.

    This is a very glaring hole in Expression Studio that I am assuming the Expression team is working on.  My guess is you may see it in version 2.0, but more likely 3.0.  If they are not, forget the creative professional market.

    Currently Adobe owns the creative professional market:

    Photoshop
    Illustrator
    Flash
    Dreamweaver
    Fireworks
    Premiere Pro
    After Effects

    and several more but why rub it in.

    Need I say more.

    Microsoft has its work cut out for them.

    Their key advantage is the .Net Framework, Visual Studio and SQL Server that they must leverage with the Expression Studio as the tool set for creative professionals and the developers that work with them.

    Good luck, they will need it. Wink

    Cool
  • Robert HessRobert Hess Changing the world, one cocktail at a time.
    Should have jumped in here when the show came out last week, but I've been busy on a project here at work and haven't had a time to come over and check the episode out until now.

    I hope you've enjoyed this interview with Mohsen, he's a great guy and extremely personable, as I hope came out in this video. He's held a broad number of jobs here at Microsoft, and so has had a great opportunity to see a variety of aspects of how a company like Microsoft works and evolves.

    It was a bit of a strange coincidence that I am now the host of "Behind The Code". I'd been doing "The .NET Show" for over seven years now, and just recently decided it was time to bring that series to a close. With such great content here on Channel 9, it really wasn't such a hard decision to make. I had another "show" in mind to develop here for C9 (and it is still in the works), but then the BTC folks said their previous host had moved on and they needed somebody else. Seemed like a no-brainer to take this on since the format was already so similar to what I had been doing on "The .NET Show" (although no more Erica [C]).

    The hard part about this particular episode, is that it required me to fly out to Hawai'i to meet with Mohsen and his team. I tried to get out of it, but couldn't. The things I have to do some times.

    We will be filming the next episode in December, and my guest will be Patrick Dussud (bioC9 Interview, blog). We'll most likely be focusing mostly on the importance of Architectural design, and topics related to that, but I'd also like to hear from the rest of you as to what you'd like to hear about from Patrick.

    -Robert Hess
  • Robert HessRobert Hess Changing the world, one cocktail at a time.
    You are right, we do have our work cut out for us in order to try to provide world-class tools for the designer. But I think that it is important. And I don't say that from the standpoint of a "Microsoft Employee" who is simply wanting the company to increase its product portfolio.

    As I discussed with Mohsen in this episode, the value of intelligent, appropriate, and compelling user experience design cannot be overstated. And yet it is far too often overlooked. We do a LOT of development here at Microsoft as you might expect. And while we also have a lot of designers, it has only been recently that they have been able to really come into their own. Myself, I saw this most with the development cycle of Windows Vista, and how much time and energy was put into the visual design and cohesive user expience fundamentals.

    But to truely incorporate these designs often still comes down to the designer handing the developer a bitmap, and the developer using whatever tools he might have to slice and dice this to pieces, or simply "attempt" to visually render the design concepts using normal form controls and window constructs.

    For truely great applications, it is critical that designer/developer collaboration is a first-class citizen in the application life-cycle. If we start with the assumption that "developers" are going to be using Visual Studio for their development environment, then we (Microsoft) need to really grok the issues and requirements of tying this together with the designer tools. As great (and pervasive) as the third party tools are, we can't simply leave it up to them. This is problem we need to own, if even just internally. Ideally, we'll be able to illustrate the value of a combined development environment to such a level that many of these third-party designer tools will discover ways that they can seamlessly integrate themselves into this methodology. But to address this fully, this means that it is important that Microsoft produces world-class designer tools which are first-class citizens in application development environment.

    -Robert Hess
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    It's great to have you hosting BTC, Robert. Can't wait to see the next installment.
    C

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