Hello, I'm Rob Conery
I help self-taught programmers like me overcome doubt and build their career. I work at Microsoft as a Developer Advocate and I am fortunate to get invited to speak at global conferences from time to time.
I have been working in the technology field full time since 1998 as a DBA and then a web developer. I co-founded a company with my friend, Dave Nielsen, and we went on to build a consulting company that did some pretty innovating stuff, for the time. I built one of the very first ecommerce applications - selling laser discs for Pioneer electronics. I also helped create one of the very first intranet portals at a telecom giant in a project worth well over $1M.
Our office was the entire 3rd floor of a building on the corner of 2nd and Brannan, in San Francisco, in what would become the heart of the San Francisco tech scene.
After that experience I moved on to take over the CTO role at a healthcare startup and then, after 3 years of that and the birth of my first child, I decided to go back to coding and doing contract work on my own time. I was able to build a pretty good client list, including Visa/Authorize.NET, building their .NET SDK for them. I also contracted to PayPal, becoming their first "Star Developer" for creating the ASP.NET 2.0 ECommerce Starter Kit, which was demoed onstage by Steve Ballmer and Brian Goldfarb.
That experience led to a call from Scott Guthrie, who recruited me to work for his ASP.NET team. They were creating a new framework called ASP.NET MVC, and thought I might be able to contribute a few things for the community.
So, in 2006 I joined as a contractor and soon after, a full-time blue badge. I had a lot of fun in this position and got to work with world-class people whom I still think of as friends today.
The Startup Bug Bites Again
In the fall of 2009 it was time to part ways with the ASP.NET team and Microsoft. I decided to see if I could make a living doing videos, following in the footsteps of Geoffrey Grosenbach (Peepcode) and Ryan Bates (Railscasts). I called my friend James Avery and together we founded Tekpub.com.
It was an instant success. We started out with a Git production and for the next five years produced a new video every month or so. I brought in authors from every part of the industry, and produced videos ranging from iPhone development to database administration.
It was a massive success, and in 2015 we were acquired by Pluralsight, where I joined as a freelance author.
Writing Another Book
In 2014 I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing again. I liked the experience of creating the Wrox book, and I enjoy the craft of writing altogether. The only thing stopping me, however, was that I never felt I knew enough about any technical subject to write a book on my own.
I feel like an Imposter, constantly
That's what I said to my friend, Scott Hanselman, and he said "well, you could write about that you know."
So I did. I didn't have a CS degree so I figured it write about my journey learning all the things that CS people learn about when they get their degree. I was rigorous about this - I didn't want to be accused of "skimming" or taking shortcuts.
Turns out that Stanford and MIT publish their curriculum - so I dove in. The result was ... unbelivably successful:
I'll never forget the day I showed Scott what I created based on his quip. He was effusive, to say the least, and while we were on our call I could hear him typing...
I had just finished the sales page and all of the mechanical bits... and within 10 seconds I got the first notice of a sale. And then another. And then 5 more... and then 28 sales at once...
I sold 3824 copies of the book in the first 24 hours, which amounted to a 6-figure book launch, which is the stuff of dreams. That was back in 2017, and fast-forward to 2023 I've sold just about 30,000 copies - almost reaching $1M in total sales.
That experience was incredible.
Back to Microsoft
I enjoy building companies, writing books and making videos, but I also enjoy working with others on a team, building a product and reaching out to developers. Helping is something I love to do! It's kind of why I wrote the book.
So, in 2018, I decided to join Microsoft once more in their Cloud Developer Advocate team. I hadn't worked with Microsoft technology in many years, but that didn't matter at all as my focus would be Azure and helping all developers work with it.
That's where I am now, helping where I can, giving talks, creating tutorials, and helping with internal projects like LearnTV.