Microsoft Developer VP's Departure: The End of a Legend
However, Soma is more than a technologist; he's an exceptional human being. Before we got into the meat of our meeting at Build this year, Soma took a moment to simply ask how I was doing. He asked this because he knew I am from Baltimore and rioting associated with the death of a young black man in police custody had overnight torn portions of the city apart. Tech could wait. He was genuine. He was empathetic. And he recognized the dilemma I faced as I was on the opposite side of the country while my hometown was in flames and I explained that parts of my family live just a few miles from key areas of the unrest. I was honest and told him I was concerned about my parents who still live in the house I grew up in in the northwest quadrant of the city. I also was worried for other relatives in law enforcement as well as those few on the other side more likely to be in the mix. I recognized many of the streets where bricks were being thrown and fires lit. It wracked me. Though I was in San Francisco, one of the most vibrant cities in America, when I was not at the conference, I was in my hotel room working and watching CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, among others. But Soma reached out, showed true concern and offered words of encouragement. Ironically, at the end of that meeting, I joked with Soma about how much longer he would be sticking around to see additional Microsoft transformations—as the journey's been long for us both. He laughed his hearty laugh and said he'd stick around for as long as he was still having fun and helping Microsoft to be all things to all developers.He called Soma "a legend, a role model and one of the absolute best people you will ever meet!" Prashant is right there. Soma truly is unique, particularly in the industry. He represents the very best of us. And he will be missed.
When the news of Soma's departure broke, one of the first to comment was my buddy and former member of Soma's team, Prashant Sridharan. Now at Twitter, Prashant has done developer marketing at Sun, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook (and I may have missed a couple of companies).