Mohamed Mansour is a hacker and open source developer from Ontario, Canada. He is also coming up on his one-year anniversary as a developer on the Bing Social team at Microsoft Silicon Valley.
One might assume that Microsoft isn’t a natural fit for a hacker or open source developer, but Mohamed begs to differ. Not only did he choose Microsoft Silicon Valley over competing offers from many of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies, but Mohamed has recently taken to Quora as an impromptu (and vigorous) MSV advocate.
Mohamed says that as a student in Canada, “I was first into gaming and then became a hacker. I got into some trouble and I learned my lesson but I came away from it all with a great belief in open source.”
After graduating from the University of Ottawa, Mohamed worked at RIM, but in his free time he was doing a lot of open source work in Google Chrome. “They gave me committer access to the source code base. I worked on the spellchecker, Windows and Linux UI, printing, and accessibility,” he recounts. “I created dozens of controversial browser extensions, which had a total of 3 million downloads, but it was also frustrating because they kept shutting me down.”
Soon Mohamed decided that he wanted to work in Silicon Valley and be at the center of the tech industry. He received offers from many of the biggest players in the Valley.
“Microsoft really impressed me with its Bing Social hacks. They gave me the chance to do what I love and to do it legitimately without fear of getting shut down,” he explains. "I get to build and deliver incredible features to our customers with data from Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Foursquare, Klout, and Google+, which is great!"
He also likes that the work culture is fast and flexible. “At Bing, we ship every single day. We flight experiments to millions of users with a single click of a button. I see our culture as a fast-paced hack culture.”
Mohamed also says, “Microsoft Silicon Valley is awesome because of the diversity of teams we have here that work on really fascinating projects. We are not satellite offices. We are small teams but at Bing Social we own everything we do.”
Last but not least, Mohamed loves the culture. “We also have a lot of freedom and fun events like Hackathons.” He laughs. “We get to be really innovative and a little crazy. The community is really vibrant here.”
Want to learn more directly from Mohamed? Visit him on Twitter @mohamedmansour.