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Heard on .NET Rocks!: Talking .NET with Tim Huckaby

Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell interview Tim Huckaby about .NET's origins, Vista's ship-date slipping, and an interesting .NET visualization application.

am the host of ".NET Rocks!", an Internet audio talk show for .NET developers online at www.dotnetrocks.com and msdn.microsoft.com/dotnetrocks. My co-host Richard Campbell and I interview the movers and shakers in the .NET community. We now have over 170 shows archived online, and we publish a new show every Monday morning. For more history of the show check out the May/June 2004 issue of CoDe Magazine, in which the first column appeared.

In show #170, Richard and I talked with Tim Huckaby, Chief Executive Officer of InterKnowlogy—a software, infrastructure and network engineering firm dedicated to consulting, application software design, and network engineering. As Lead Technical Architect, Software Development Lead, Microsoft Regional Director, and Microsoft Partner Advisory Council member, and International .NET Association "Rock-Star" speaker. We spoke about .NET adoption, and an interesting project his company is working on to help find the cure for cancer.

Carl Franklin: So we were talking about adoption of .NET among other things and this is an area that you know lot about.

Tim Huckaby: I am fascinated by it because like you guys when [heard about] .NET—when we first were briefed by Microsoft—what the hell did they call it? The Window's global naming…?

Carl Franklin: Next Generation Windows Services.

Tim Huckaby: Yeah, doesn't that seem like an eternity ago? When Microsoft—that was what, 2000?

Carl Franklin: Yeah.

Tim Huckaby: And here we are, 5-6 years later—could we have predicted that .NET would have taken off as much as it has? And I don't mean to speculate, IDC—which if you want to go check them out, I think they are [at] idcresearch.com, and they are one of those independent firms that does all these huge studies. Their recent numbers on .NET adoption versus J2 were shocking. And I wish I could show you the numbers in Excel but in small companies, .NET is 50% larger versus J2, which is at about at a 29% adoption rate. Where J2 really owns the world, and always has, and frankly will for a long time because of 10- and 20-year capital investments, amortization in hardware, and such, you can't expect J2 to be ripped up quickly—and that's in the very large orgs. And .NET's adoption is at 41% in the largest organizations in the world.

Carl Franklin: Wow! That's great.

Tim Huckaby: It's unbelievable.

Richard Campbell: In 6 years flat.

Tim Huckaby: So then I am lucky that Microsoft sends me all over the world and I get to speak to these developer audiences that just dig .NET so much. I got to tell you, recently in my world travels, I have never seen so much .NET adoption in these companies.

Carl Franklin: That's great. Well for instance, where have you been lately?

Tim Huckaby: Well I did this—I got to tell you—I did one of the most fun trips, business trips, I have ever done. People raised a few eyebrows about it when I told them this. I went to the Middle East, just recently about three weeks ago in fact. I went to Dubai which is kind of a famous city in the United Arab Emirates, especially now because of that port debacle. I guess we are not supposed to talk politics on this show, so I'll just (laughter)—but nonetheless… We have some opportunities over there to build some software. You really have to know your geography, as a typical American even I had to stare at the map to figure out where I was going. But I went to Oman, a town called Muscat, Oman, which is their capital. Although they control the entrance to the Persian Gulf, they are on the Arabian Sea side. So, dramatically different in terms of the ecosystem and nature and such, Oman also has, just out of curiosity, the longest relationship with the United States of any Middle East country.

Carl Franklin: Wow!

Tim Huckaby: So suffice it to say that it is a very friendly type place. What I was shocked at is how beautiful it is, I mean tropical and lush. I wish I could send you the pictures. Now, they have a summer that is almost unlivable but nonetheless it's a beautiful place. So we have an opportunity with a local partner there in Microsoft to [do] (without breaking NDA, it's a government project public portal type thing) a large project. This RFP was written—I mean, you can tell those of us who have been in the business, have been responding to government RFPs for a while, you know exactly that IBM handheld them through this RFP.

Carl Franklin: Request For Proposal, right?

Tim Huckaby: Yeah, sorry. This request for proposal, this document we're supposed to respond to—and IBM has written this for Web Sphere to win it. You can just tell and those of—there [are] people in the audience who are shaking their heads saying, "I know exactly what Tim is talking about." So nonetheless I think we are going to steal this one.

Richard Campbell: Wow!

Carl Franklin: Congrats man.

Tim Huckaby: Yeah because we could do it for half the cost. .NET is so much of a production.

Richard Campbell: And that's really the reason that .NET adoption has gone so well; it builds software fast.

Tim Huckaby: Exactly and that means it's more inexpensive and [the] world isn't driven totally by technologies—it's driven by budgets and money and stuff like that as we all you know. So, yeah I am very encouraged about this opportunity. But, one of the more amusing meetings I had was from the big chief himself—the Prime Minister of the Sultan—the guy who owns the finance, the Minister of the Economy.

Carl Franklin: Wow! The Alan Greenspan of Oman.

Tim Huckaby: Yeah. And some other people in our government or in the United State's government that is. Yeah so I had to address him as Your Excellency…

Carl Franklin: Excellent.

Tim Huckaby: (Laughter) No, I had to wear a suit. God, I don't wear suits except at weddings and funerals these days. And, you know, I am trying to portray—this meeting started out very stuffy, very formal and we had to wait until he picked up his cup of tea before we could [talk]. Clearly I got briefed culturally.

Richard Campbell: It sounds more like sitting with royalty than with government.

Tim Huckaby: Right, right but as we got going in this two-hour meeting, this hour meeting that was supposed to be two hours, its me, Rodney Guzman from InterKnowlogy and then a couple of our InterKnowlogy guys over there, Hafid Al Walvi (ph) and Fadi Al Rufbi (ph) and that's it and the prime minister guy. As this meeting got going we started talking about technology and .NET adoption and then he started lecturing us on how much he likes .NET, how much he likes how Microsoft has changed over the years, how excited he was about the opportunities, and I was sitting there just blown away shocked thinking like, "Oh! My God how lucky am I to be sitting here," on the other side of the world listening to this guy who controls seemingly a $40 trillion budget talk to me about .NET.

Carl Franklin: That's amazing.

Tim Huckaby: Isn't that cool?

Carl Franklin: That's great man. Good story.

Richard Campbell: Nice place to be.

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