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Jim Bennett
Jim Bennett

Posted on • Originally published at on

New year - new me!

New year - new me!

🧀 Ah yes, a post title that's cheesier than the best Parisian Fromageries.

Actually it's not a new me, I'm still the same old me, but I have changed jobs! I've just started as a Regional Cloud Advocate working for the Microsoft Reactor team, based in Redmond, WA, USA.

New year - new me!
A red neon sign saying Reactor Fun Zone

What is a 'Microsoft Reactor'?

The Microsoft Reactors are our community spaces. We have 12 Reactors around the world, and we use these spaces to run events and bring communities together. We see these as spaces to learn and grow, to build your networks and build your skills.

The video below was filmed at the launch party for the Reactor London. The most important line in that video comes from Jeff Sandquist, the head of Developer Relations at Microsoft who says "I really hope that you don't look at this space as a Microsoft facility, that you actually look at it as yours".

But there's no masks in that video?

Don't worry, we're all safe. That video was recorded pre-COVID, and to ensure the safety of our communities our Reactor spaces have pivoted to on-line. You may have watched some of our events already streamed on our YouTube or Twitch channels, or on LearnTV. Currently our locations are closed, but we are very much on-line, streaming a huge range of content from both Microsoft folks and community members.

New year - new me!
Reactor landing page for a live streamed Global AI bootcamp in Toronto

So what's the new job about?

My new job is to support communities, both on-line and in the local area. Redmond in Washington State, USA is the home of Microsoft, but in the surrounding Seattle area and beyond there are a huge array of tech communities thanks to the draw of tech companies both large and small, from Amazon to Zulily.

New year - new me!
Cartoon racoons holding a laptop saying Community

I'll be doing this in a number of ways. I'll be running on-line streams to grow our Reactor meetup channel, with me learning or building with various technologies, I'll be hosting community members and supporting their events, and I'll be helping to grow out our Reactor as a space for communities to come together. I believe the the move from in-person to virtual, and the current thoughts on hybrid has given us the perfect opportunity to reset the traditional Meetup model, and build truly inclusive experiences for everyone - not just those who can make it to a venue at 6pm to drink beer, eat pizza and talk tech. I've had thoughts on this in the past, but really feel now we can all build more inclusive communities.

Reactor Redmond

New year - new me!
The Reactor logo on the door of the Reactor in Redmond

The Reactor in Redmond, in Building 20 on the Microsoft campus is my home base. It's a great space for events both small and medium sized, with a range of options for space to use. As we get more of a plan on re-opening I'll post more with details on how you can sign up to use the space.

How can I use the Reactors?

Right now the Reactors are closed for events, but what we can offer is world class streaming facilities! We've been building out our AV (audio visual) tech to support streaming, so although we can't bring your communities into our space, we can broadcast you from there to your communties. Get in touch if you live near a Reactor and want to discuss how we can support your streaming.

New year - new me!
A panoramic view of the Reactor showing desks and Surface Hubs

We'd also love to host you on one of our streams. If you want to stream through the Reactor meetup group, again get in touch and we'll get you schedued. We have Reactors around the world, so we can fit into your time zone.

What about IoT?

Don't worry, I still love IoT and I'll be streaming a load of IoT content. This new role won't change my technical focus, it just means I can work with a wider audience.

Join us!

Come join our meetup group - you can sign up on

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