Dona Sarkar, the former Windows Insider team lead moved to a new position five months ago. Here’s some commentary from Eran Megiddo, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Education, on the Insider blog (October 7, 2019) about this personnel change:
Currently, we are conducting a search for a new leader of the Windows Insider Program. In the meantime, I and the Insider crew (including Brandon, Jennifer, Blair, Jason, Vivek, Eddie) look forward to continuing to engage with you each week as we ship new builds. And as we’ve done since the beginning of our program, we’ll continue to evolve to best meet the needs of this fantastic community.
Since then, there has been no further news, no more information about a new team leader. For Dona Sarkar leaving the team was quite clearly a big surprise for herself, too. Within a global gigantic corporation like Microsoft, face saving maneuvers like a lateral transfer into a position created just for her are possible, In my opinion, that’s why she was not sacked per se. Who knows what might have happened in a smaller, leaner organization? And today, it looks that Brandon LeBlanc has become the de facto acting team lead, while we awaiting the results of the ongoing hunt for a new team lead. If all goes as it should, this will end with a new lead being announced.
The downhill run of Dona Sarkar — and to some extent that of the whole Windows Insider team — started soon after the infamous version 1809 scandal. Too eager to release 1809 at a public Microsoft event, the Insider team decided to skip its final test phase: the Release Preview ring. This led to users worldwide losing their personal documents and data. It was a huge and nasty mess, and required lots of additional work (and plenty of spin) to clean up and move past.
Overnight, all the ninja cat and taco hat jokes ended, and both the Insider team’s and its key members’ social media accounts were cleansed.
For me personally, all of this leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth. On July 1st, 2018, I lost my Windows Insider MVP because I had criticized some things in about half a dozen tweets during the past months. These tweets included responses to Dona labelling herself and the team as hustlers, the team not updating information on a specific website, continuous ninja cat and taco hat jokes, and the Insider program having forgotten its original purpose and changing to a playground for teenagers. If you like, you can read that whole story here: How I lost my Windows Insider MVP Award
At present, Dona is gone, “hustling” is out of the Insider Team’s lexicon, ninja cat jokes are nowhere to seen, and the website gets updated like clockwork. Were the program to steer itself back to its origins — soliciting and listening to feedback from Insiders (and especially Insider MVPs) — I would be a happy man.
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.