How do you catch people’s attention?

This is the last week of a Microsoft internal awareness 64-bit campaign. Evangelism is not only about external awareness and excitement; you also have an internal audience. Many of us are working on both ends, internal and external evangelism. And some if not all of the external facing efforts have an internal effect as well; more than you might think.

As Microsoft has become a huge company, internal evangelism became more and more important. Sometimes it is almost scary to see what even colleagues in your vicinity don’t know about the subject you evangelize. (Indicator for at least 2 things: You’ve done a bad job and you don’t know what YOU don’t know about the area they evangelize …)


Well, last week’s Monday I started a 64-bit sweepstake. Microsoft employees have the chance to win 2 Acer Ferrari laptops with Windows XP Professional x64 Edition installed. For 2 weeks, each day there’s a new question available. Via an Intranet SharePoint survey people can answer a new question every day and learn about 64-bit Windows and 64-bit in general. To keep things simple, it is a multiple choice question; one question, 3 possible answers with only one correct choice. To help participants with the answer, there is also a picture with hyperlink available leading to the correct answer.(If you are Microsoft and haven't heard about the sweepstake, go to http://64-bit/quiz [Microsoft Intranet only] and sign up. You can still win.)

Of course, this idea of a sweepstake is not new and has certainly not been invented by me.


Nothing unusual so far, why am I talking about it?

You won’t believe how effective this sweepstake is. I knew I had a pretty loyal audience for my Intranet website http://64-bit. The issue was how to expand the audience? How to get in touch with people and inform (evangelize) an audience that certainly will be affected by 64-bit Windows very, very soon? I found this quiz/raffle idea extremely helpful. About 2/3 of the participants do not belong to the usual suspects of evangelists, subject matter experts etc. They are software tester, product support people, lawyer, ops manager, network engineers, secretaries, account manager, sales planner and and and.


Over the last week I have traded email about 64-bit Windows with participants from all over the world. People who didn’t know anything about 64-bit and Windows now know about it and know that we ship the product soon and which platforms we support and since when SQL Server supports Itanium and that we have Windows on 64-bit for quite some time already and that x64 stands for … (oops, this is today’s question).


“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold." --- Luke 8:4


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