Community Interview: Steve Hegenderfer

Photo of Steve Hegenderfer1) Who are you? Where are you located?

My name is Steve Hegenderfer. I am a Technical Evangelist, Group Manager for Solutions Delivery within Windows Mobile, all around great guy…located out of the Mothership, in Redmond WA.

2) What does the Solutions Delivery group within the Windows Mobile unit do?

My new role is running what we are calling Solutions Delivery within Windows Mobile. I focus on the enterprise and business side of things. Think of it like this; we have a lot of things we want to build as MS, but we can’t (nor do we want to) build all of them. My group’s job is to go out, find 3rd party solutions to fill those needs, and take them to market with us.

3) What does this job involve?

Wow…what does the job NOT involve :)

I’m still active with the blogs (my partner in crime is Reed Robison); but, that’s more something I really like to do to send out some info and thoughts. My team is actually pretty cool. You can think of it as a microcosm of the larger MS. We have folks on my team that look at the market and the needs, and go out and find partners to fill those needs. We have folks on my team that work out the business plans (who gets paid what and when and how we split the pie). We also have some people who work on the go to market materials and the integration with our field and the mobile operators’ sales force. So, we have the full gamut.

And, I’m hiring :)

4) What did you do before working for Microsoft with Windows Mobile?

Wow, what DIDN’T I do :) Funny, I spent about 10 years going from start-up to start-up, mostly in the San Jose, CA. area. I would just keep going from job to job, doing things that really interested me. That’s one of the reasons I ended up here at MS; and I have no plans on leaving THIS group any time soon…too much cool stuff going on :)

5) So how did mobile devices catch your eye and keep your attention?

Kinda funny…I used to develop old WAP apps on the first few wireless Palms that came out. But it really started when I read an article about how Reebok was using embedded systems in some of their shoes. I thought, “Man, that is some seriously cool stuff…think of the possibilities!”

One thing led to another, and here I am.

6) It’s been announced that MEDC2007 was the last Mobile and Embedded Developers Conference (MEDC) event, and that from 2008 onwards MEDC content will be rolled into two streams of the Tech·Ed conference. Is this a sign that mobile device development is becoming more mainstream, or is it more the case of there not being enough support for a standalone event?

This is a good thing. It means that mobility is going main-stream. I talk to HUGE enterprise customers all the time, and by a long shot they are ALL asking how they start doing this stuff; how can they extend their existing assets and infrastructure into the mobile world.

MEDC was more like preaching to the converted; don’t get me wrong, we still need to, and will be. But we need to take the message broader to more folks who are interested in this, who wouldn’t necessarily go to MEDC, but do go to Tech·Ed et al.

So, in the end, while I WILL miss MEDC, this is a good thing.

7) How can small Windows Mobile ISVs best engage with Microsoft?

First of all, look at joining the Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP) at the certified or gold level. And take a look at the ISV competency within it; there is a mobility skew to it if you don’t think that the Windows Mobile specific Mobility Solutions competency is the right one for you. So, step one, get in there.

8) You seem to be excited about the possibilities the new System Center Mobile Device Manager (SCMDM) application offers enterprises deploying mobile devices. What is this product and how does it help enterprises deploying or developing Windows Mobile based solutions?

MDM is actually VERY cool. It provides security to the device (device-side encryption as well as SD card encryption/white and black listing, etc,), the ability to manage the device (think asset/inventory/policy/etc). But one of the coolest features for the business developer is an always-on mobile VPN that makes accessing all of your company’s assets securely for your apps a cake walk.

9) SCMDM is arguably a business oriented feature, and enterprise mobility has always been a main stay of the Windows Mobile platform. Do you think with the announcement of devices such as the Sony Ericsson Experia X1 that Windows Mobile is also starting to make inroads into the consumer market?

That is a loaded question :) I think the X1 is more of a business device (even though it’s sexy as all get out). But, we ARE focusing on the consumer and the experience that those individuals have. Expect more devices like the X1 and more experiences like that in the future.

10) Do you carry a Windows Mobile powered device with you? If so what feature couldn’t you live without, and if you had to pick one feature it had missing (or was less than ideal) what would it be?

I do, in fact! I carry it with me everywhere. There are a few things that I love, but access to push email via Exchange is one of the tops; now that we’re dog-fooding MDM, access to some of the apps we are rolling out internally is very cool.

One missing feature…hmmm…I think it might be something more compelling in the interface. Having said that, the horizon is near for some of those features as well :)

11) If you had one thing to say to potential developers of Windows Mobile applications what would it be?

Just start doing it. If you know VB, C#, or C++, and are familiar with Visual Studio, you already know the essentials of developing for Windows Mobile. Sure, the memory and form-factor constraints are there, but you will get a feel for those over time. The emulators are decent, and the SDK is good, so you should just hop in with ‘Hello World’ and then go from there…if I can develop for the platform, ANYONE can :)

Some folks say it’s too difficult to develop for Windows Mobile…I say rubbish, you just have to watch yourself and make sure you are doing the right things.

12) Any predications for 2008?

Being an insider, I’m not sure I can make any predictions for 2008 :)

I will say that this space is REALLY heating up; more players, cooler devices, better HW in general…and MS will be right there in the thick of it. Personally, I am VERY excited for WM in 2008 and 2009…you should all be prepared for some nice innovation in both the business world and the consumer world!

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