Microsoft Incubation Week Review

As I mentioned, I was really busy last week with the Windows Azure Incubation week held at Microsoft in Alpharetta.  The event was a week long event from Monday until Friday.

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The first major surprise that we learned was that the Microsoft people wanted us to use ASP.net coding and not use the offshore development team (Thank You Dmytro@  Soft Serve) for primary development.

The project that I worked on was Chris Stuckey\’s FandomU, a social networking site focusing on conventions, fans, and vendors to extend the connections you make at the actual event.  Hopefully FandomU will be able to launch with the MomoCon Japanese Anime convention in March 2009.

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The week was quite the experience. Microsoft brought in a handful of advisors and consultants to teach us about the Azure platform and (particularly for us) to use Asp.net technologies.  Jeremy Likness from Wintellect taught me the basic asp.net connections between the ASP and C#.

Here is the front page of our part of our prototype site, in the 4 days that we had to develop, we developed a few key features, registration, the beginnings to shopping, and the introduction to an idea of things like sharing images and videos on the cloud.

In addition to knowledge, Microsoft provided a great overall experience. We had nice co-working space with brand new \”beta\” style windows 7 computers at the MTC.  We had 3 meals provided 5 days of the week, and not just fast food pizza, but some pretty classy changes including Indian and Thai food.

Thursday, Microsoft spokesman Larry Gregory came and introduced us to all of the great features that Microsoft offers to entrepreneurs and startups. They have a lot of features that I\’m sure will be great. We also did an interview regarding our progress that will be posted on Channel 9 – spoiler: I somewhat

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embarrassingly spit Microsoft Marketing for the PHP community.

Speakers came in throughout the week, and on Friday, these speakers, and other startup voices in Atlanta sat as a judging panel for all of the startups. This was really valuable, as we all got a chance to practice our pitching abilities.

Because we sucked up more than a little to Larry Gregory by mentioning that we could expand from a conference like Momo Con to others like Dragon Con, or his interests like Farscape and Motorcyles, he presented us with our \”incubation\” week diploma.

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My group thought that the week would be more about coaching and less about technology, along with better planning for working with the offshore team as opposed  to us needing to be incredibly familiar with Microsoft products. It was slightly awkward to find that only 3 of 7 companies there had only just reached an idea and planning it out.

I\’ll post later about some of the teams that I met.