Mystic Microsoft: A Journey of Transformation in the Halls of High Technology


 

About the Author

Kraig Brockschmidt was born and raised in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Washington. In 1979, when he was 11 years old, his father, an electrical engineer at Boeing, bought him his first computer: a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer. At the same time, his father refused to buy any software. "That," he said, "you will have to write yourself."

Kraig did just that, taking to computer programming with the same passion that his older brother took to art. By 1984, during his sophomore year in high school, Kraig was writing his own software and selling it through various Color Computer magazines. He also published several articles in those same journals, eventually having a regular column in one of them. In this he found that he loved sharing ideas about computer programming as much as the programming itself.

Kraig entered the University of Washington in 1986 to pursue a degree in Computer Engineering. He spent some of his free time volunteering for the Microcomputer Support Lab on campus where he got his first exposure both to IBM-style PCs and to the work of customer support. It was based on this experience that he was offered his first real job: an internship in Microsoft's Developer Support department. (His only other employment was two months for a temp agency through which he did damage returns for United Parcel Service.)

During his time in Product Support, Kraig wrote the Calculator program for Windows that is still shipped with the operating system to this day. Following that success, he was hired to work on some of the other Accessory programs of Windows version 3.0. The following summer he was offered a full-time software development internship in which he continued to work part-time up to his graduation in 1990.

Kraig then returned to Developer Support where he honed his skills in both understanding the intricacies of technology and communicating that understanding to others. In less than a year he became one of the most productive engineers in all of Microsoft's Product Support Division.

After only fourteen months with that group, his unique combination of talents brought him into a much broader role. In late 1991 he took a position in Microsoft's technical evangelism group, Developer Relations, where he remained for the bulk of his career.

In Developer Relations, Kraig used his skills to speed the adoption of Microsoft's newest technologies by other software companies. He offered papers and sample programs that demonstrated exactly how to incorporate those technologies into a wide variety of applications and regularly spoke at industry conferences. In addition, he continued to publish articles in magazines such as Microsoft Systems Journal and Windows Programming Journal.

In 1993 Kraig took his work to another level with the publication of Inside OLE 2 (Microsoft Press). This book became extremely popular and catapulted him to the status of an industry expert. Being in great demand as a lecturer, he traveled far and wide for several years to help people understand Microsoft's key technologies. He was also in great demand within Microsoft as other development teams regularly approached him for help with their designs. Thus he made important contributions to many of Microsoft's flagship products including Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer.

Late in his career his life began to take a spiritual turn. While Kraig had been raised a Missouri Synod Lutheran, he had set religion aside shortly after joining Microsoft. Through the ensuing years spirituality was little more than an intellectual curiosity; at different times he didn't think about religion at all while at other times he loathed it. Then in 1995 a deep yearning to know truth began to reorient his priorities; by the end of 1996 his life looked completely different. Kraig had retired from Microsoft (with enough assets from stock options to provide a small but adequate income). He and his wife Kristi (who holds a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering) had moved from their large, almost brand-new suburban home to a humble apartment in an intentional spiritual community in Lynnwood, Washington. More recently they have moved to a similar community in Portland, Oregon, to undertake a new phase of their spiritual lives that includes starting a family (their first child, Liam Edward Brockschmidt, was born October 7th, 2006.)

Since that shift in 1996, they have both been dedicated to seeking God rather than worldly success, and to the ideals of non-attachment, service to others, devotion, simplicity, and self-control, specifically as expressed through the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi. For Kraig, this dedication has expressed itself in a wide range of diverse activities—all part, he says "of an expanding self-identity that is reaching out—literally, it seems—to embrace Infinity." When asked now what he does with his time, he simply answers, "Whatever God puts in front of me." If he's responding to a less spiritually-oriented person he'll simply say, "I'm Self-employed." (That's Self, of course, with a capital S!)

These activities have included everything from construction (including wiring, plumbing, and welding), writing, music (various instruments), conducting, singing (both solo and choral in a number of domestic and international concerts), and real-estate to importing, photography, forest management, office management, volunteering, cooking, graphic design, web-mastering, consulting (technical and legal), mechanics, retail sales, ministry, and childhood education. In this latter role he even appeared in a program on National Public Radio. Kraig is also a nationally certified Yoga and meditation instructor and has taught a variety of classes and seminars.

In addition to the technical books he authored at Microsoft, he has more recently published The Harmonium Handbook (in both the United States and India) and is working on several additional titles such as Finding Focus.

Information on these works and other projects is available on his website, www.kraigbrockschmidt.com.

 

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Author's Website: www.kraigbrockschmidt.com | blog: www.kraigbrockschmidt.com/blog

Interviews: Pathways (radio) | Present! (TV)


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Comments and inquires (including agents and publishers) are welcome. Send email to kraig@mysticmicrosoft.com
 or write to Kraig Brockschmidt, 14618 Tyler Foote Road #115, Nevada City, CA 95959

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