Celebrating 5 years at Microsoft

Today marks my 5th year at Microsoft.

Here are some memories/highlights/milestones:

5 years ago – I got up early  – 4am – dragged myself to Waterloo, and caught the train with the fabulous, and now newly married, Nitin Hegde, to Paris where I witnessed the first ever ad go live from adCenter on MSN.fr. I then spent the next 2 days working with my colleague Clea Blockey, to upload Expedia’s French PPC campaign, ad group by ad group, as we didn’t have a bulk upload tool back then. 😉

After 7…………..yes 7 interviews, I had joined Microsoft from 24/7 Real Media as the 1st account manager for adCenter based in London. For the next 9 months I’d work with my boss – Julie Warburton – on hiring and training the acclaimed customer service team we have today.

Very proud of Mark Richardson, Chris Wallington, Ravleen Beeston, Colm Bracken and Lee Blyth for the work they’ve done over the years with that crackpot team.

Dixon JonesDixon Jones – Not in Vegas For a Change

4 years ago – I’d just got the community manager role for adCenter in EMEA. Essentially, I was going to work with my fabulous Redmond-based social media partner – Carolyn Miller – writing PPC blog posts and managing the adCenter forum.

One of the requirements was to seek out authorities in the industry and try and help them understand our business a bit better, figure out where the pain-points were, and feedback any insight to our product teams so they use it to make our products and services better.

I remember calling up Andy Atkins-Kruger and telling him about the new job and he said, “Oh well you much come to Iceland!”


Getting Serious with Viking Kristjan

Now, I knew Iceland was not a top priority for adCenter at the time and there was no way way I’d get permission to go, but Andy said some chap called Kristjan would pay for my trip if I promised to do a cracking presentation. The rest, as far as I’m concerned, goes down as a little bit of career history.

Spending time with Dixon Jones, Anne Kennedy, Shari Thurow, Chris Sherman, Andy, Brian Clifton, Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Sara Andersson and, of course, Kristjan, showed me just how amazing the search industry was, how smart everyone on was in it, and just how much work I had to do!


Dave Naylor – Drinking Chianti in San Jose

3 years ago – I was asked by Media Week to start writing a digital blog for them. I’d also started blogging from events and doing a lot of travel, talking about adCenter and search at conferences here and in the US. It was that year I got my British Airways Gold Card because I was piling on the points with trips to San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Toronto and Las Vegas.

Just loved Brett Tabke’s post on conference speaking tips. It inspired me to write one of my own.

DSC_0181 Rand Fishkin and Dog about 100 ft from that Volcano!

2 years ago – I set up a Twitter account and Facebook page for me, adCenter and Microsoft Advertising. I had a built a case for us going “off piste” and using 3rd parties – which were sometimes competitor tools – in order to spread our news and insight a bit further.

Thankfully my boss – Jenny Leahy – was opened minded and now we have nearly 20K fans and followers across those accounts that “listen-in” anytime we have something to say.

Interesting to look back on what I said about my 3rd year working on adCenter too.

Stephen Fry

Can’t Think Who he Means!

1 year ago – I’d just got back from Cannes where we’d taken a full film crew to cover the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Jenny and I just picked up the microphone and went for it, interviewing folks in the street, Microsoft execs and agency folk about the event and blogging about their responses.

It was last year that I ran into a couple of my top 5 career highlights – interviewing Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and of course Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer.

Can’t show you the last one, but it was showed internally and he didn’t disappoint!

Biz Stone

Biz Stone in Cannes

In 5 years I’ve seen us go from MSN Search, to Windows Live Search, to Live Search and now to Bing – much better brand don’t you think?!

The part of the business I work for has gone from MSN to Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions to Microsoft Advertising.

Windows 7 was launched, Windows Phone 7 is just around the corner and Kinect for Xbox 360 means people like me with no thumb dexterity can now compete in the living room. I spent 2 hours with Blaise, the man behind Deep Zoom and Photosynth and worked with the TED guys on TED@Cannes getting exclusive back stage access to the speakers.

Thinking about it, I reckon I’ve been responsible for well over 1000 blog posts across various sites.

But, most importantly………………….. I got married to the wonderful Ashley!!

I’m immensely proud of my time here as Microsoft. I think the 2 minute wrap up video from this year’s Cannes Lions says it all about how well we are positioned in digital advertising, and long may it continue.

When people ask what I do for Microsoft, I tend to say that I do a lot of talking, either online or in person.

I couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to do my job with out the hundreds of people that have sat and listened to what I’ve had to say.

There are swathes of people who have turned up at conferences I’ve organised, been interviewed by me or contributed guest blog posts, that have retweeted our stuff or helped promote what Microsoft Advertising is about and how we can help marketers reach huge audiences and get a great ROI.

To all those folks…………a huge thank you for helping me do my job!

I’ve singled out a few people below – I may have missed a few though as, Oil of Olay aside, I am getting old!

Dixon Jones, Dave Naylor, Rich Sutcliffe, Gordon MacMillan, Rand Fishkin and Geraldine Everywhereist, Danny Sullivan, Brett Tabke, Ciaran Norris, Will Critchlow, Steve Barrett, Tamar Weinberg, Lee Odden, Jane Copland, Will Cooper, Kieron Matthews, Jack Wallington, Emma App-Thomas, Rishi Lakhani, Richard Gregory, Shari Thurow, Anne Kennedy, Kristjan Mar Hauksson, Andy Atkins-Kruger, Andrew Goodman, Andrew Girdwood, Matt McGowan, Kevin Ryan, Chris Winfield, Dave Snyder, Greg Boser, Jon Myers, Lisa Myers, Bas Van Den Beld, Mike Grehan, Chris Sherman, Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Brian Clifton, Sara Andersson, Eloi Cassali, Peter Young, Bill Hunt, Jim Sterne, Motoko Hunt, Ian Thomas, Joost de ValkJoanna Lord and Kate Morris plus loads and loads of others!!!

Thanks again and here’s to the next 5 years!!


  • Rishi Lakhani

    Awesome! Congrats – (and thanks for the call out!!)

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Eduard Blacquière

    Congrats, Mel! Respect for what you've accomplished in these years, especially reaching out to the search community. Keep up the good work.

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Ciaran

    Seriously touched that you put my name in amongst such rarefied company. Congrats and here's to the next 5 years.

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Jon Myers

    Congrats mate, can remember Day 1 and it has been a good 5 years!

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Richard Gregory


    My favourite memory is actually of your first Microsoft Presentation at SMX London, where you kick-started your presentation by standing up and quoting Dixon himself:

    “Microsoft. Sexy!”, you shouted.

    One of the best starts to a presentation, that I've ever seen.

    Here's to the next 5 years.


    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Tamar Weinberg

    Congrats Mel! Here's to another 5 more 🙂

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Patricia

    Well done Mel and hope your next 5 years will be just as interesting and successfull.
    Love Patricia x

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Jenny Leahy

    Mel – Congrats on 5 great years at MSFT – can't wait to see what you do in the next 10! Cheers!

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • steve clayton

    congrats Mel and here's to another 5+++ great years! thanks for helping with one of my highlights over the last few years…a very fun hour or so with Stephen Fry!

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Kristjan Mar

    You don't look a day older than 2 🙂 Great times

    Reply Posted 14 years ago
  • Chriswallington

    Mentioned in Mels' blog… i must be fmaous.

    cheers mel.

    Reply Posted 14 years ago

Write a Comment



Let's Talk

If this site has piqued your interest in hiring Mel, either as a speaker for your event or as a consultant for your business, contact him now to start a conversation about how he can help...

Get in touch with Mel