Dona Sarkar

Software Engineer, Windows Insider Program (or Tweeter-in-Chief/Lord Commander/etc depending on who you ask)

What is the one word that describes how you work?

<3 (I don't do anything that I don't love)

How many years at Microsoft:

11 years this month!

Where did you grow up?

Detroit, Michigan and I went to college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. #GoBlue!

Describe your role with Microsoft and the Windows Insider Program:

I'm the lead of the Windows Insiders Program, which means it's my job to hustle the Windows Flight team to push the right Windows preview builds to my passionate Windows Insiders crew, to understand the top issues they hit and work with the Windows product team members to get these fixed before we release the build to the public. Basically it means to be the authentic voice of our customers when product decisions are being made.

What technologies do you work on?

All of them! At any moment I need to be able to find the right person in Windows to debug issues in the product so that our previous builds are as useful as possible. Sometimes that's the amazing WIP Engineering team (TJ, Brandon, Jason, Aman, Anthony, Marissa), sometimes the Community Champs across Windows and sometimes the engineers who are writing code for the feature.

I pretty much live in Feedback Hub and bug databases (for research), OneNote (for keeping track of bugs I need to check on), Outlook (for the communicating), my feet (for the hustling), and of course Twitter!

What’s your favorite feature on Windows 10?

Practically speaking it's Backup/Restore (and NOT just because it was my feature!). I install so many builds so often that it's the only way to quickly get up and running and validating.

Aesthetically speaking, it's transparent tiles on Windows Phone. The Insiders crew showed me just how creative they can be with layouts and now I'm incredibly inspired. I really enjoyed this past weekend's "show off your home screen" Tweetstorm!

What’s your favorite app? Twitter! Being able to connect with so many people in the Windows Insiders crew all over the world and at any time has been magical.

Describe one of your favorite experiences with the Insider community:

June 1, 2016 when Gabe handed me the big red button. The outpouring of support and welcome was otherworldly and really fueled me to do everything in my power to provide great experiences to my passionate Windows Insider peeps so that we can build the best Windows *ever* together.

Without your phone or computer, what gadgets can't you live without and why?

Toss up between my Kindle and my sewing machine. I'm a voracious reader and am always reading 3 different things at once. I also like to upload my writing works-in-progress to Kindle and have it read aloud to me via text-to-speech to see if it "sounds" right. My sewing machine opened up a whole new world of creativity for me a few years ago and it's empowering for me to be able to make whatever I dream up in the fashion world.

What is your current work setup?

Highly mobile. I need the energy of other people around me to get anything done. Being locked in an office by myself has never worked for me so I tend to seek out open spaces like lobbies, lounges, kitchens, cafeterias, etc to loiter in to get it done.

Since I work with so many different teams, I'm on the move all day. All I need is an outlet and a chair. Once I get my Surfacebook, my Asus Zenbook and my phone setup, I'm in work mode.

How do you start your day?

I'm a pretty early riser. Sometime between 4 and 5 am, I'm up. My very demanding cat Ash is on my lap, Americano in my hand, my passion project of the day is in progress. I'll definitely get completely wrapped up in my work and thankfully my husband will make me breakfast at some point :)

What do you like about life on campus?

How much stuff there is going on every day to support our diversity of interests and passions. For example, my husband is a professional chef AND a software engineering manager. My reports have been musicians, teachers, film-makers, graphic designers...on top of being software engineers. This has manifested itself in how the company takes care of us as holistic beings.

In the past 2 months, I have attended a cooking class, several musical performance, an art show, a farmer's market, a lecture by a NASA astronaut, a wearables workshop...all within 10 feet of where I was working that day on campus.

What do you do outside of work?

I write books (both fiction and non), design fashion and have co-founded Fibonacci Sequins, a style blog to celebrate STEM. I also travel the world speaking and engaging with people on their career and business goals.

What is your most memorable moment at Microsoft?

I would say the handover of the Big Red Button was pretty momentous, generally my job changes don't end up in the news. Other than that, I would say #HoloHacks, the first community organized HoloLens hackathon which was a few weeks ago. I poured my soul into that project and was so happy to see it received well.

To give you even more insight into Windows 10 we have been publishing Windows 10 Team Profile announcements so that you can meet some of the people on our team and see how they support the platform – and Windows Insiders like you. If you have feedback on this type of content or other aspects of the Windows Insider Program, please let us know via the Feedback App.