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Home  > Insider profile
Ellie
Program Manager, Hotmail

"I'm excited to be changing the experience that 200 million people have when they check their email on the web."

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

My greatest opportunity was learning how to work on a large, complex project that interacts with many other complex systems. There is a huge difference between building a computer program that does one task well on one computer, and building a software application or service that works well on millions of computers and integrates with existing software to solve real peoples' problems.

How did you get your big breaks?

Internship at Microsoft: When I found the job description for Microsoft program manager interns, it sounded like a perfect way to combine my love of technology with my desire to make a positive impact on peoples' lives. And there were some things I just had to fix about my Hotmail account.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Motto: It's impossible to predict the real world, so stay flexible. You can spend all day thinking about a problem, but only time and real users can tell you if you made the right decision.

What have you learned from your experience?

Working at Hotmail was a lesson in how many different people it takes to put a web page on a person's computer screen. Even after working at a few smaller companies, I had no idea how many different types of work were required.

What most excites you about your job right now?

My biggest challenge was working on a project with teams in three different geographic locations. I learned how to communicate about a complex project across long distances and time differences, and it was exciting to work with teams outside of the U.S. I had to be very conscientious about returning communications on time and making sure that the goals of the project were well understood. I'm now working on the Hotmail user interface, and I'm excited to be changing the experience that 200 million people have when they check their email on the web. Email's role in people's lives has changed a lot since Hotmail was developed, and our technology is evolving so that Hotmail can continue to help people communicate more effectively.

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