Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, comes to town

“When you change the way you see the world; you change the world you see.” Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, speaking at the Microsoft Developer Day in Auckland.

If ever there was a time to be a developer, it is now. The tools, technologies and platforms available to developers is growing exponentially by the day and like a kid in a candy store the options are breath-taking, boundless and bright.

The importance of the developer in Microsoft’s eyes was highlighted as Satya Nadella gave his first audience appearance in NZ, as Microsoft CEO, during Developer Day to (you guessed it) a predominantly developer audience, with messages such as “creating tools for developers is at the heart of who we are as a company” resounding throughout the 700-capacity theatre.

The tone of the event was set early as it opened to a live demo of ‘Killer Instinct’, a graffiti artist on stage, adrenaline pumping music and a humorous MC that drew a number of audible laughs from the audience. Not an easy job from an eclectic mix of people made up of 30% developers, 30% student developers, 30% ‘special invites’ (mainly C level clients) and 10% Microsoft people.

There was a good mix of technical sessions and business focused sessions. Needless to say the two highlights for me were undoubtedly Intergen’s Executive General Manager, Emma Barrett (all bias aside) and secondly, similar to most, being present for Satya Nadella’s inaugural address in NZ as CEO Microsoft.

Emma Barrett speaking at Microsoft DevDay Auckland 2016

Emma touched on the possibilities of leveraging Azure to create a better, connected world and detailed one of our customers who is integrating IoT, big data and engineering to create a better experience for users of wheelchairs, a solution which would not have been financially viable before Azure. Emma finished off by tying the customer story back to the core of Intergen’s vision (giving the theatre a warm yellow glow in the process) with Intergen’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) projected on the big screen – Everyone, every day is touched positively by the things we do.

At the core of Microsoft’s vision is a similar messaging – Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more – a mission statement which was revealed by Satya in 2015, reinforcing his vision for the organisation. Satya, one of Fortune’s business people of the year and described as the man who is transforming Microsoft , is truly an inspirational speaker. As I touched on there is little doubt of the importance of the developer in Microsoft’s vision and Satya reiterated this during the day - “Creating tools for developers is at the heart of our company,” and “It’s not about our technology, it’s what others can do with our technology”.

Satya detailed Microsoft’s ‘Mobile first, cloud first’ approach and spoke to three key focus areas: Create more person computing, Reinvent productivity and business processes and Build the intelligent cloud platform.

Satya Nadella talks myRyman, developed by Intergen for Ryman Healthcare

Machine learning, Intelligent bots and mixed reality are also key focus areas and tie into one of Microsoft’s more popular taglines: “When you change the way you see the world; you change the world you see.” Hopefully this is the first trip of others to come for Satya to New Zealand. 

On a final note a ‘shout out’ has to go to the three groups of students that presented their proposed tech solutions to everyday challenges, competing for the audience vote. Great to see the talent that will be driving the next wave of technology advancements and creativity.

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