Delta Force Rangers – Just like in combat, this is an elite group in the software industry when it comes to the Microsoft technology stack. It is the group of some of MSFT’s closest & best partner companies, believed to be the most influential in advising/delivering on MSFT technologies to our customers. Sogeti USA is a part of that elite group and we were invited to a Delta Force Rangers special event on Windows 8 @ the MSFT Redmond campus. And I was fortunate to be able to attend! Here’s the little story of four days of awesomeness ..
- Got no qualms in accepting that this was the first time I got invited to Seattle/MSFT campus purely for work. So, I was really looking forward to soaking it all up, and it turned out to be an enlightening experience. Best part was catching up with folks that I talk to often, but have not met in person. The Hyatt House, MSFT campus & specially the cafeterias did not disappoint. Hopefully, more folks from our Mobility practice get to attend these Ranger events in future.
- Day 1 & Day 2 were all sessions on Windows 8. It was great to hear from candid experts on a variety of development areas, hardware & what Windows 8 meant for enterprises/mobility. A lot of the sessions were under strict NDA for obvious reasons .. so my lips are sealed . All I can say is you may want to really watch for news around Oct 26 – the Windows 8 GA date!
- An evening reception on second night may have seemed bland compared to the Seattle Mariner’s game on first night. But boy, we were in for a little surprise after dinner – yep, Samsung Series 7 slates for all !! Complete with dock & bluetooth keyboard/mouse.
- To sweeten the deal, our Global MSFT Business Development Lead, Darren Baker, personally dropped off a kickstand case for my slate .. how cool is that. Using the slate as a daily device now for Windows 8 development & showing the UX to clients.
- Now, surely there would something wanted in return, right? Yes, MSFT wanted us Rangers to code a little, all in the fun to gain some experience. So, we were paired up based on our skills – 10 teams of 4 members each. And one day to dream & code up a working Windows 8 application, complete with all sorts of OS integrations & leveraging Cloud services. Go!
- Guess I lucked out to be in an awesome team – Scott Newsome [Planet Tech], Hardeep Meen [CDW] & the awesome developer in Adam Grocholski [RBA]. We set our sights on a FDA product recall app, complete with Live Connect personalization, social integration & Azure services feeding Push Notifications. Between Thursday 8AM and the Friday 8AM deadline, our team slept for 1 hour only !! Hardcore effort to prove ourselves ..
- Now, in all fairness, there was a little incentive for us as well. So, Friday had all the teams show off their Windows 8 apps. And while others were impressive, our team won .. woot! What’s the prize – the MSFT Surface tablets gets shipped to all members of the winning team the day it is publicly available. Heck yeah!
- Oh, and not to be forgotten, we all got our customized traditional Delta Ranger Tilley hats – arguably the best hats in the world. And no Redmond trip is complete without a visit to the MSFT Company Store, where money simply knows to walk out of a geek’s wallet.
In all, a truly wonderful week of learning, networking & coding with peers. Windows 8 is going to big – the whole PC landscape is changing. Let’s gear up!