Amanda Langowski started as the Windows Insider team lead exactly 20 weeks ago, on March 23. At that point, the Insider team had been without a lead almost half a year after decision makers in Redmond had, instead of firing her, moved Dona Sarkar abruptly to a new position within the organization. Coincidentally, only a few weeks before Amanda started, I had written about how Microsoft had not yet found a successor for Dona: Insider team still without leader.
I am happy to say that it looks as if Amanda’s first 20 weeks have brought some positive changes and clarity in how the Insider team works and communicates with us Insiders. Of course, some of these changes occurred even before she started. One notable earlier change was that those ridiculous ninja cat and taco hat jokes stopped overnight following the infamous version 1809 catastrophe. Not only did the jokes stop, but they were also cleaned out from the Insider team’s social media accounts, as well as from individual team member accounts.
Dona Sarkar’s downhill slide started from that strange decision to release version 1809 in early October 2018 at a live Microsoft event, skipping the Release Preview phase. This let a serious bug avoid detection; ultimately, 1809 was pulled back.
OK, back to Amanda. One thing I find very positive is that she does not make much noise about herself. She seems to concentrate on work more than her personal social media presence and fame (or infamy). The contrast to her predecessor couldn’t be any clearer. It is also she (presumably) who restructured the upgrade Insider build flighting schedule. For instance, new Insider builds for the Dev Channel, previously known as the fast ring, have been released for a few months now once a week at the same time, on Wednesdays at 10 AM US Pacific time. When they decided not to release a build on Wednesday, July 8, because of a last-minute bug, instead of hastily fixing that bug and releasing it later that week, we Insiders had to wait until the following Wednesday for the next release.
Again, this is something I like very much. Only time will tell if the schedule will continue on like this. Hopefully it will. Plus, it is good to know, that A) there will be a maximum of one build a week, and B) the next one comes on next Wednesday (or Wednesday after that). In addition, as a European, I like the time; 10 AM Pacific is 19:00 (7 PM) Central European time. I’m always online at that time 😉
Another plus: The Insider Team websites and blogs are nowadays kept up to date, with information about released Insider builds easily available .
It looks as if the Insider program under Amanda’s lead is returning to its origins. Terry Myerson, then Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, when explaining about the new Windows Insider Program on September 30, 2014 in first ever post on the Windows Insider Blog said:
Tomorrow, we are excited to announce the Windows Insider Program, where PC experts and IT Pros can get access to a technical preview of Windows 10 for desktops and laptops. Soon after, we’ll also be releasing technical previews of Windows Server and our management tools.
With the Insider program, we’re inviting our most enthusiastic Windows customers to shape Windows 10 with us. We know they’re a vocal bunch – and we’re looking forward to hearing from them.
The Windows Insider Program is intended for PC experts and IT pros who are comfortable using pre-release software with variable quality. Insiders will receive a steady stream of early builds from us with the latest features we’re experimenting with.
All these changes give me bittersweet satisfaction. I lost my Windows Insider MVP status because of four tweets in August, 2017. In those tweets, I criticized three things: ninja cat and taco hat jokes instead of proper communication with us Insiders, Insider web pages being out of date, and Dona Sarkar calling herself and her team “hustlers”. That lead to Dona blocking me on social media, individual team members muting me, and my WIMVP not being renewed. Now, three years later, all those three things I criticized are gone.
Subjective, personal opinion: I really think, that Amanda Langowski as Insider team lead is good news to all us keen Insiders. I am satisfied to see and understand that the Insider Program is slowly but surely moving back to what Terry Myerson and Gabe Aul, its first team lead, outlined when that program started.
Thank you, Amanda. I hope you will not block me on social media 🙂
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.