The Server and Cloud Community Lead Blog

A place to share my thoughts on community and what I am doing inside of Microsoft to drive robust conversations between our Product Development Teams and our customers.


All right, I'll blog. :)

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Welcome to my first official Microsoft Blog. Actually, it's my first blog.

So after running the The SBS Community Survey and being the Community Lead for the SBS team since October of last year, I decided to introduce myself. Previously, I was the Community Lead for the MOM team for over 2 years.

My name is Kevin Beares and I have been with Microsoft for 5 years. I started in the software industry back in 1991 at a small SQL Database company in Maryland and have never looked back. I have been involved with supporting IT and development products from the very beginning and have always been passionate about IT technologies. I also am very passionate about customer service and doing whatever I can to help customers. So, here I am working on the team that drives one of the best IT Products out there. I have already had the awesome opportunity to meet, speak, and work with a majority of the SBS MVPs and I am also helping run the SBS 2003 R2 beta along with a few other projects in the SBS parent group, Windows Server Solutions Group (WSSG). You may have heard or seen an announcement or two about the Mid Market Server. What a great life!

I hope everyone who reads this takes the few minutes that are required to fill out the The SBS Community Survey. The information that I have gotten from the 300 or so responses I have read through so far has been awesome! I want everyone to know that the intent of the survey is and always has been simple. I want to gather feedback from the SBS Community so that I can help the SBS Product team focus their efforts in the community. There are no other motives. We don't want to take over the community. There is no way I would presume to know everything about community, and I don't think I ever will. The concept of community means many different things to different people.  What is amazing is that in some cases like SBS, it just evolves into something so big that it is hard to explain or understand. 

The question I had from the very beginning was what should we be focusing on in the SBS Community. Where can we get the biggest bang for our buck with our efforts? Does it make sense for us to focus our efforts in the old tried and true areas or does it make sense to take a step out of the box and try new things? Our Developers, Testers and PM's are in a constant struggle to meet their deadlines and have to balance their limited amount of time with spending time in the community and reaching out and staying in touch with the customers who are driving the requirements for our future releases. You can never lose touch with your customers or you end up working on the wrong stuff.

I will post more on what my plans are as a Community Lead at Microsoft and for the SBS team.  There is a lot I would like to share about this unique role. Only at Microsoft or some other very large company can you do this kind of interesting work. I talk to so many people on a daily basis and hear so many ideas. It is so important to take it all in, think about it for a while and then take action. The knee jerk thing is something best to be avoided. Heck, it took me over 4 months to get the The SBS Community Survey pulled together. I got a lot of input from a lot of people and I still caught some grief about it. I know that I cannot please everyone. I guess these are the lumps you have to take when you go out on your own and do something that really hasn't been done at this level at Microsoft. Typically the surveys are done at a much higher level in the organization and really do not drill down to a product level. I want to be able to give my manager, Gary Schroeder, and the SBS Product Unit Manager, Kevin Kean, and our General Manager, Chris Phillips visibility to our community and the community health. You can't measure health by the activities you are paricipating on like webcasts, newsgroups, user group meetings, conference calls, etc... You have to go out and ask the community to tell you what they think. Thus, the The SBS Community Survey. Plan on seeing one of these about every 6 months. I plan to blog about what I find out from the The SBS Community Survey here and also out on The Official SBS Blog in the next month or so. The data so far is very enlightening, but I don't want to make any conclusions yet. I need more data.

Please feel free to tell me what you think. I am sure you will. ;)

Thanks a lot,



  • You blog therefore you are.  Welcome young padwan.  

  • Welcome to the world of blogging Kevin

  • Welcome to the blogging world, Kevin.  It should be a fun trip!

  • I always admire when the folks at MS step up to ask for feedback without first limiting the audience to a small room full of people. :)

    I hope many folks out there will oblige Kevin with the survey details he's trying to obtain. MS doesn't get general sample information often enough without going to a marketing company that wrenches down the questions too much.

    Now, this blog idea....I'm not sure this is going to catch on. Seems like a fad to me.  8-)

    - Jeff

  • Welcome aboard. I look forward to reading your posts.

  • Kevin..

    Blog post = short, sweet, digestible.

    Long articles are for newsletters.

    Why do we like to read blogs? because we can do a quick absorb.. why do we hate eNewsletters? because they are really, really long.

    Welcome to blogging and the world of transparency!

    Anne Stanton
    President - The Norwich Group

  • Hi Kevin,

    Some don't mind longer blog posts, so blog as long as you'd like :-)

    Anne, I still love you!


    P.S. You've linked to my FORMER SBS blog on your list of blogs. the proper blog link is

  • Already filled in the survey. Welcome to the addictive world of blogging - looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

  • Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement.

    Thanks Gavin for updating me with the proper link to your blog. I made the change.


  • Hey, Kevin!  I knew you had moved on, but didn't realize it was to the SBS group.  Congrats!

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