Soma Somasegar plans to advise companies Madrona Venture Group has invested in and identify some new ones.
On Friday, S. “Soma” Somasegar, the executive in charge of Microsoft’s developer software unit, left the company he had been with for 27 years.
His break lasted the weekend.
Somasegar started work Monday as a venture partner at Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, which invests in young technology startups.
It’s common for executives departing Microsoft to take time off, travel or, even at Somasegar’s relatively young 49 years of age, enter quasi-retirement. Not for Somasegar.
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“If you want to do something and do it well, do it right away as opposed to tomorrow,” he said. He plans to advise companies Madrona has already invested in, and potentially identify some new ones.
Somasegar said his roots in Seattle, and the growth in the area’s technology sector, made staying here an easy choice.
“Pretty much any technology company that you care about in today’s world has got an operation either up and running in Seattle, (or) in the process of setting up,” Somasegar said. “There’s an opportunity. In the last 15 years, so much has happened. In my mind, we’ve barely scratched the surface.”
The Seattle area has no shortage of software developers and other engineering talent drawn by the likes of Microsoft and Amazon.com, he said. But finding skilled hands in other roles, like management, sales and marketing, can be tougher, Somasegar said. It’s a challenge he’s looking forward to addressing.
Somasegar dabbled in personal investing in startups during his time at Microsoft, including an investment in Buuteeq, a hotel-marketing software startup co-founded by Forest Key, a former Microsoft colleague.
The startup, which also counted Madrona among its investors, was scooped up by Priceline last year.
Somasegar, who was born in India, received a master’s degree in computer engineering from Louisiana State University.
He joined Microsoft in 1989, and ultimately contributed to eight versions of the company’s Windows operating system before shifting to a developer-focused role.
He championed Microsoft’s move to establish software-development centers in India, China and Israel.
Somasegar was also an advocate for developing software under an open-source model that allowed for input from outside developers and contrasted with Microsoft’s traditional proprietary, closed approach.
“We’ve made enough strides to focus on not just one technology, but being open to a variety of technologies and a variety of platforms,” Somasegar said.
Microsoft has made progress toward courting more mobile and Web developers, he said.
Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella, a fellow Indian immigrant and well-respected software engineer, was among the attendees at a gathering on Microsoft’s Redmond campus Friday to mark Somasegar’s departure.
“It was my second home in some sense for all these years,” Somasegar said. Now, “I’m sort of cheering from the sideline.”
— Matt Day
Microsoft worker switches to rival
Bob Stutz, the executive in charge of the Microsoft unit that builds software for sales workers, has moved to Salesforce.com, a rival and partner.
Stutz’s departure from Microsoft was announced Monday. On his Twitter page, he said he was looking forward to a long overdue break and some travel. “I will be back,” he said.
Back means a job with San Francisco-based Salesforce, a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.
Stutz will join the company as chief analytics officer, reporting to Alex Dayon, president of the company’s products group. Salesforce declined to disclose his start date.
Salesforce is the leader in the business of selling customer-relationship management software, which is designed to help companies track and manage things like sales opportunities and marketing campaigns.
At Microsoft, Stutz had been a corporate vice president overseeing the development of Microsoft’s own customer-relationship management software, the Dynamics CRM line.
Before joining Microsoft in 2012, he worked at Hewlett-Packard and German business software giant SAP.
He’ll be replaced at Microsoft by Jujhar Singh, formerly a general manager with the CRM group.
Stutz’s move to Salesforce was reported earlier by Re/code.
Matt Day: 206-464-2420 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On twitter: @mattmday
Information in this article, originally published Nov. 17, 2015, was corrected Nov. 18, 2015. A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Salesforce executive Alex Dayon.