This week in Redmond, my team hosted a summit of approximately 50 tech buffs who don't normally use Microsoft technologies. It was an attempt to brainwa-- to give them a chance to learn more about what Microsoft is up to these days. The hope was that after we placed the chips in their heads, that we'd have full control over what these influential people would say about us. It was an ingenious plan! <evil laughter>mu-hah-hah-hah! <evil laughter/>
Okay... okay... it wasn't as nefarious as you might think. But with all the news going on regarding transparency at Microsoft, I thought it would be a good idea to let you know what I've been doing the past three days out in Redmond.
Each year, the Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) team at Microsoft hosts this event. It's a great way for us to build relationships with folks who may not normally be fans of the company. Microsoft offers to cover the full three day trip out to the Seattle area for all of the attendees.
There were no NDA's signed.
No chips implanted.
All of the attendees were told that they'd be able to say whatever they wanted about the trip... or nothing at all if that's what they wanted to.
The attendees did not keep their thoughts to themselves. They really let it rip against some of our top engineers as well as Sanjay Parthasarathy, the VP of DPE. One thing I love about this company is it's willingness to open itself up for such a beatin-- feedback. And do it in front of a video camera too! (video links coming soon!)
The schedule was a full one. You can see it here. I won't give you a full re-cap of all of the sessions. Many of the attendees have done that already on their blogs. You can see the list of them here. Yakov Fain, who runs the local Princeton Area Java user group where I spoke in December, posted his summary on his blog.
While the summit was a great chance for the attendees to provide feedback to the product teams, it was also an opportunity for our team. I'd like to thank all of those who attended for giving all of us a chance to get meet you! I truly enjoyed spending the past couple of days getting to know some of the smartest people in our industry. Like any tech conference, some of the best discussions were the ones in the halls and the ancillary events. Some of the attendees' feedback was that we modify the format to allow for more of those types of discussions. I second that notion!
My favorite feedback to hear from the attendees was all of the negative stuff. That feedback helps Microsoft improve as a company and leads it to making its customers happier. In closing, I'm proud to be part of the team at Microsoft that has helped facilitate that loop.