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Peter Spiro: The power of having fun, building great databases, and leadership

58 minutes, 38 seconds


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Don't get a real job until you're 30. This is Technical Fellow Peter Spiro's advice, and something he fell just short of doing. Discover how this forestry student got a job at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and then came to Microsoft to help build the team that drove SQL Server to the huge success it is today.

How do you learn the necessary skills for leading huge projects?

Try restaurant work or being in the Peace Corps. Also, never underestimate the power of knowing how to live it up. In this episode, learn how Peter uses his passion and energy to influence technology across Microsoft while empowering talent and growing teams to produce first-rate software.


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  • Is that a real beard?

  •  why won't you compress the videos ?

    this is an hour video and it's a gig!
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    Ray6 wrote:
    Is that a real beard?

    Image the years it took him to grow that one. I'm so sure this one is real.
  • I was lucky enough to lurk at the back of the room many years ago at Redmond during a Longhorn Technical Design Review. WinFS was still on the table then and Peter was there talking about schemas for various entities like contacts (you know: people, numbers, addresses etc). He struck me then as a serious brain and also deeply enthused by his work. Can't help but envy his team Smiley
  • samdruksamdruk samdruk
    Yes, it's real. He shaved it once about 15 years ago, or so I've heard.
  • Thanks for this video! He 's a really outstanding person with an interesting background. Throughout this interview i thought that there are parallels in his way of thinking to the way Bill Hill thinks about the interaction of software and humans. So I was pleasantly surprised that Bill Hill asked the last question in this interview.

    Somehow I really enjoy listening to people with so different backgrounds. I think it's because this is so rare in the more traditional companies where you need a specific degree for a specific job.

    This immediately reminded me that we do need another Bill Hill interview. The hike around the campus is still my favourite video on channel 9.

  • Really enjoyed this video.

  • Nice interview. Unfortunately a lot of the WinFS stuff seems to have been edited out at about 42m45s into the video. There is a sudden jump to Peter's vacation plans.
  • Xaero_VincentXaero_​Vincent Sexy me
    Is this guy related to Richard Stallman in anyway? :O

    Good video nevertheless.
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    AWESOME video. wow! It gave me very much. Great, great guy! I hope we can get more of Peter here on Channel 9... don't know if Charles can get him for an interview.
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    I'll try, littleguru. I'd like to dig more into where WinFS is (that is, what's become of its constituent innovations, of which there are many) and what makes SQL great, technically.


  • My manager actually dressed like him for work everyday in office!

    Back to the topic, very good interview; one of the few videos that I actually sat through for an hour listening. He sure is one guy with a good work-life balance ratio Tongue Out

  • Fun and creativity! Sounds like a whole program! He definitely has
    an interesting approach to management. Actually, more generally,
    MS has a unique approach about creativity for software developers.
  • ChadkChadk excuse me - do you has a flavor?
    This is one of the Behind the code episodes i liked. The flow in this was really good.

    Very interesting person! Would love to see him on C9.
  • Damn, if Peter worked on record versioning/snapshot isolation in RDB at DEC, why SQL Server got this feature only in 2005 release?

    I guess it would explain why WinFS failed. Even in the planned 2008 release SQL Server still lacks a bunch of key features that are absolutely required for WinFS to function.

    Well, may be in the next 10 years or so, it would get there.

    Otherwise very interesting to watch.
  • Maxim SerenkoBeetlejuice www.​life2log.com
    He is monstar, i like him. I want work with him.
  • FlatlinerFlatliner With our thoughts we make the world.
    Charles wrote:

    I'll try, littleguru. I'd like to dig more into where WinFS is (that is, what's become of its constituent innovations, of which there are many) and what makes SQL great, technically.


    I'd be really interested to hear exactly what was so impossible about it? Does anyone know of the real reason it was canned? Was it a technical challeng, perhaps to do with performance and resources, or was it more market positioning? (i.e. if you shipped WinFS inside the OS, does that cut into SQL Server's market share?).
  • wow! something could grow in that beard.
  • ql, looking for a sequel Smiley

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