Eric Legault has spent most of the past 18 years working independently and with various Microsoft Certified Partners and ISVs building solutions based on Microsoft’s Messaging & Collaboration platform. He has been an Outlook Developer MVP since 2003, and has achieved certifications as an MCDBA and MCTS (SharePoint). Currently, Eric is a Product Manager for Outlook Appins (http://www.outlookappins.com).
Eric, please tell us a little of your background: where you live, employment, training, your first PC, etc.
I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I’ve been self-employed and running Eric Legault Consulting Inc. for about eight years. I’ve been focused on building Outlook add-ins and solutions for much of that time, but still do work with SharePoint (I started my consulting career with SharePoint 2001). I started out as an MCSD in 1997 and have been certified as an MCDBA and MCTS (SharePoint). My first PC was a 486 clone in 1992, but my first computer was a VIC-20 in 1982 – which I learned how to program BASIC with.
Eric, you have been awarded as an MVP for 12 years running now. To what do you attribute your longevity in the program, and what advice might you give to a new or novice MVP?
I’ve kept busy earning my keep as an MVP by answering questions about Outlook development in forums on MSDN and Stack Overflow. I also speak on Outlook, Office or SharePoint at a conference somewhere in the world every year or so, and wrote the Outlook chapters for Microsoft Office Professional 2013 Step By Step for Microsoft Press. If you’re new to the MVP program, all I can suggest is to always be consistent in sharing your knowledge and to do so as regularly as you can in whatever mediums you are comfortable with (forums, conferences, books, articles, blogs, etc.).
Tell us how the technology you work with/develop benefits the end user/enterprise?
With my focus on building innovative Outlook solutions, I’m always trying to find ways to help people manage and triage their email, appointments, contacts and tasks. Much of this data is critical to people in their day-to-day roles and it’s essential that repetitive processes around this information be automated, streamlined and made as simple as possible so people can do their jobs effectively. Outlook is the “secondary OS” for a lot of people who have it open and in their face for much of their working day, so it is important to build them unique and creative solutions that also tie in LOB systems and supporting data to help improve their experiences.
Tell us about the company you work for and your role there:
Since I’m independent, it really depends on the month or year as to what I’m currently doing LOL! I have customers all over the world and am always involved in different projects with different companies. One of my ongoing main roles is as the Product Manager for OutlookAppins.com, which is an Ecommerce store that sells a range of unique and handy Outlook add-ins (including my famous “Touch for Outlook”). I’m currently looking for investors to help bring this product line to the next level – I have some unreleased solutions that need funding and resources to ramp up my time to market. If you’re an investor – let’s talk! I’m very passionate about bringing solutions to market and creating innovative products and know where to fill the holes in the Microsoft stack based on my experiences “dogfooding” the software and understanding what users really need and not necessarily what Microsoft thinks they need.
Downtime: what activities do you like to do away from technology?
I play lead guitars and the part of “Dave Murray” in Maiden Manitoba, an Iron Maiden tribute band. We’ve been touring regularly in Winnipeg and around the province over the last year and I’m having an absolute blast living my dream as a “rock star”! I’m also a huge Winnipeg Jets fan and watch and go to as many games as I can. Otherwise I’m always working or going to the gym, but I know when to relax with my wife and kids and enjoy a fine Scotch or Guinness now and then.
Escaping Earth orbit and being a full-time musician. So going on a galactic tour would be pretty bitchin’ LOL