Get To Know Our Team
Program Manager (OS Flighting)
Hi, everyone! Wynn here. Today is the first in a series of quick dives into the people behind the Xbox Insider Team. We’re here with Joshua—a Program Manager and familiar face around the Wire—to chat more about the man behind the burger.
Let’s give it up for the Release Notes Virtuoso himself. Joshua, how’s it going man?
Haha. Going well. So, we’re sticking with that virtuoso stuff?
Just trying to give everyone’s positions a little more flair. “Program Manager” is so boring and corporate, you know?
That’s fair, that’s fair.
So yeah man, welcome to our inaugural “Get To Know Our Team” interview. How are you feeling about being the guinea pig for this first one? Excited?
Excited is a word. Nervous? Hah. Just happy to be here.
Well, as Philly D likes to say, let’s just jump into it. Tell the Community a little about yourself.
Lemme try to think of a good answer here. I don’t wanna just be like, “I’m Joshua, I’ve lived all over the West Coast. I have a dog.”
You’re 6’3” and totally shredded. Yeah, we get it.
Yeah, exactly. But I guess a few things about me would be that I’m really into media consumption, like movies, shows, music, anything you can be entertained by, I’m there; in particular, I love movies. I’m also pretty much non-existent on social media.
I’m sorry. I didn’t catch that last bit over the sound of 15 apps sending me a notification on my phone.
I just don’t really care about them. I have some accounts to lurk occasionally, but I’m not active or posting anywhere. I’m generally a pretty private person. It’s also how I have so much time to watch all these movies.
I’ll probably just put that Anthony Mackie, “He’s outta line, but he’s right,” gif as a response to that. But since movies are your favorite, do you have the AMC Stubs Pass or whatever?
Oh yeah. BIG, Stubs A-List user. I go to the movie theater all the time. Even before A-List, I had MoviePass, and before that I was just spending way more money. I watch pretty much anything from your F-Tier slop to summer blockbusters.
Hahaha. I will be inconsolable when they finally get rid of $5 ticket Tuesdays. So, what was your favorite movie going experience in 2023 then?
Another tough one. Let me go look back through my app. *finger scrolling noises*
Okay, there were a lot of good movies this year. *finger scrolling intensifies*
Obviously, stuff like Oppenheimer, Spider-Man, John Wick, Guardians of the Galaxy, are all at the top of my list. But I think that Sisu is going to be my pick just because it really surprised me with how good it was.
That was John Wick type dude vs. thieves, right?
Yeah, basically. He’s a miner and they steal his stuff. It’s pretty cool because the main character only says like 5 words right at the end of the movie. Lots of interesting shots and camerawork.
That’s dope. I like it when movies/shows stick to a certain unique premise like that. I think my favorite from 2023 was easily Dungeons & Dragons. I know that’s the nerdiest answer ever, but as a hardcore Realms enjoyer it was just a great, fun time.
But let’s talk more XIP stuff. Take us through your Microsoft journey. How did you end up on this team?
You know, it’s kinda interesting. I’ve basically worked my entire adult life with Xbox, except for a few brief places early on (classics like delivering pizza). I was hired as T1 Support in July 2011 out of an old call center in Beaverton, Oregon. I spent around five years in the support channels moving my way up the ranks.
I started like anyone else at a new job, but I was pretty good at it and had some experience with Networking, so that’s where they put me. From there I was one of the original Xbox Rangers, and I’ve been a member of Tier 3 tech support, a Case Manager, and a Mentor Lead. Oh, I also moved to Washington during this time!
Then, in 2016, Jon [Note For Readers: Jon is also on the Xbox Insider Team.] pings me and says he’s leaving the Rangers to come to XIP. He wanted to see if I was interested in being interviewed to be his replacement to join the Rangers again. I got that gig and worked for the Rangers for another five or so years before Jon tells me about an opening on this team. So, I started here in 2022 and have been working on OS Flighting ever since.
I’m sensing a pattern here.
Haha. Yeah, if Jon moves to another team, I’ve got a 2-year countdown that automatically sits above my head like a boss-timer.
Amazing. I’ll make sure we don’t party wipe. But that’s interesting, I didn’t realize you were the newest on the team besides me. I assumed everyone had been here since the dawn of time.
It’s really cool how easily everyone slots into their niche. We’re really a well-oiled machine. I took over OS Flighting from Jon and he became Team Lead, and I was really able to hit the ground running.
Speaking of, with our big 10th Anniversary coming up, is there anything you can share with the Community about what you’re working on?
Absolutely. I think you may have touched on this in the last Community Update, but my current project is giving the release notes some TLC. Updating sections, making sure we’re giving as much info as possible, lots of little things to make sure the experience is best it can be. That plus the daily feedback triage stuff is what I’m focusing on right now.
I’m super stoked about everything we’ve got going on with Release Notes right now. I think this is going live before the [Big Change In Feb Community Update], but if I had a camera I would turn to it and say, “It’s almost like we planned this.”
Yeah, I think it’s a great change.
In a similar line of questioning, do you have a particular favorite moment or favorite thing you’ve worked on since you started?
Hmm. Let me think. I don’t think there’s a like particular, big, huge moment. But last year we did this project around mapping keyboard keys to controller buttons, and I got to work really closely with that team on the articles and rollout. It was just a really fun experience and anytime we get to expand our accessibility efforts is always great.
Dude, that’s awesome. We love to see it.
Okay, let’s switch gears a little bit. Some rapid fire questions.
I’m ready. Let’s go.
What’s the game that has impacted your life the most?
That’s your rapid fire?
Haha, point taken. I like this one more than “favorite” game.
Well, luckily, I have an immediate answer. Secret of Mana for the SNES. It was one of the first games that I played through with my dad, and I have just amazing memories I’ll never forget from that experience.
That’s so awesome dude. I played a ton of SNES games with my parents as well. I still remember when I accidentally erased my mom’s Super Mario World save file and spent a fair amount of my formative years getting her back to 96 stars.
Wow, that’s tough love.
Definitely, but I was dumb kid, and this probably ended up making me better at platformers in the long run.
Okay, maybe this one will be quicker. Favorite album you’ve been jamming recently?
Oliver Tree’s entire discography. Just every song is a banger and I love watching his music videos too. They all have this “low budget” feel while still looking amazing and having great direction. That said, my music is pretty often ‘just hit shuffle’ and I’m into it. Anything from Taylor Swift to Heilung, Tommy Cash to Johnny Cash, and everything in between. Of course, I still sometimes end up listening to the same songs for six months until I never want to hear them again. You know, like a normal human.
Do you have a show that you keep on repeat for those six months as well, or something you always go back to?
Aqua Teen [Hunger Force]. Easily seen every episode of that show dozens, if not a hundred plus times.
Excellent choice. An absolute classic. That opening song is legendary.
Okay, let’s move out of tech/gaming/multimedia. Do you have any hobbies that don’t involve electricity?
I love to cook, but I don’t have a gas-range, does that count? I also read a lot. I recently went through all the Drizzt books from R.A Salvatore, and I’m two books deep into the original Dune trilogy.
If this wasn’t already so long, I would fanboy with you about Forgotten Realms for another 15 minutes. I adore that setting and the Drizzt books rule. “Come gather ‘round ye hardy men of the steppes. Of heroes bold and friendships fast and the Tyrant of Icewind Dale.” Still gives me chills.
Yeah, there’s so many of them now, but they were all very solid.
Okay, let’s wrap this up. Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the Community?
I think it’s safe to say we’re all fans of gaming, just like most of you are. I’ve been playing games forever, and I still remember getting my original Xbox console / playing Halo for the first time. If I were not working here, that wouldn’t change. I would still stay up way too late playing my favorite games and watching for all the latest games and tech coming out. Being here just means I can channel that passion a bit. With my work on the release notes, I may not be able to provide everything you want, but I’ll always do my best to give you what you need.
Wonderfully said, man. Thanks so much Joshua for taking the time chat with us today, and for being our first interviewee!
Xbox Insiders, be sure to be on the lookout for more content all throughout February including more interviews from the team, a beefy Community Update, a trip down memory lane, and so much more. All of our 10th Anniversary content can be found on our Hub Page.
Until next time! Wy\nn/