Architecture + Strategy

Musings from David Chou - Architect, Microsoft

  • Architecture + Strategy

    Engaging the Local Tech Community at Twiistup 3

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    I had the opportunity to participate in Twiistup 3, a local event that connects people from technology, media, and entertainment. Held at a nightclub, it is also a venue where local tech startups can come and show off their work, to potential investors, customers, partners, etc. There were 9 show-offs: Askmenow, Docstoc, MegentoCommerce, OfficeZilla, PeopleJam, RubiconProject, SpeedDate, ThemBid and Yellowbot

    We managed to get a show-off space so I went and ran demos and discussed Silverlight with anyone interested, from 7pm until midnight.

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    During the evening, I also had the privilege of being graced with the presence of Shira Lazar, who presided over the event and interviewed all of the show-offs.

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    Shira is one of those very few on earth who looks good in just about any picture (and she's smart too!); while I never look good in any picture (pictures courtesy of Mike Macadaan, founder of Twiistup). I'm just glad I can designate myself a geek and call it a day.

    Anyway, the evening was a quite party. It was an amazing experience meeting and connecting with so many people working on the Web. It was also a testament to how seemingly simple it has become, to build interactive websites using the various building blocks. People innovating on the Web are now empowered to focus on what to do, as opposed to the how.

  • Architecture + Strategy

    Talking about Software Plus Services

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    I had the privilege of speaking at the southern California IASA (International Association of Software Architects) meeting, and connect with the great group of people there.

    I talked about "Software Plus Services" (S+S). In essence it is a vision of the future. Microsoft came up with this "S+S" moniker, but it is just intending to describe a future where all kinds of software working together to provide consistent, seamless, yet targeted experiences for the users.

    Granted, S+S can be interpreted as Microsoft's attempt at holding onto the client software market, which also seems a rather lone voice these days in the sea of Web 2.0, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. But a real relevant question is, what does the future look like beyond Web 2.0 and SaaS? Many Web visionaries have suggested a future where everything is in the cloud (or Web) and provisioned (delivered) via browsers to the end users. And that's still a highly probable future, as browsers will improve in sophistication, and more computing devices will support browsers.

    While browser-based applications provide the simplicity in deployment and immediate universal reach, they also represent a one-size-fits-all approach to meet customer needs. For example, most perpetually-beta websites have just one version for all users. The commonly described elegant simplicity in user experience in the primary website is probably good enough for most visitors. However, many organizations are also realizing that they need to deliver different kinds of experiences for different user communities (such as "power users" often higher in value), in order to maintain their relationships and differentiate from competitors.

    Thus the question is then, do we build multiple versions of a website for different groups of users, or do we deliver different kinds of software that can provide a higher level of service? Basically, no right generic answer for that question, as both are valid options for different scenarios. But the point here is, it should not seem so far-fetched to evaluate options beyond browser applications at this point.

    In fact, many organizations have taken this route to deliver value to their users. For example, eBay has delivered a desktop application for their power users, while an ecosystem of third-party developers also exist that provide different kinds of software applications that plug into the Web services API's eBay offers. There are also recent news of TV manufacturers offering support for direct viewing of content from Youtube (or AppleTV which already has a built-in menu for Youtube). The point is, specialized software implemented to operate beyond the browser platform is showing up in many, many different places. Their goals are simple - to provide a more intuitive user experience for people, by creating targeted and differentiated experiences that link to their core services.

    So I think a higher probability exists that the future will not be just "everything run inside the browsers". It will still be the primary means of access for most consumers, but it doesn't have the be the only means of delivery of value to customers.

    And this is one of the fundamental aspects of S+S; the power of choice. Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach to address all problems, we as architects should be in a position where we can map multiple options to a specific issue, then choose the right combination of options depending on the trade-off evaluations. A spectrum of choices can be viewed as:

    • Choice in design/implementation - client, server, mobile devices, composite apps, embedded apps, etc.
    • Choice in delivery - on-premise, third-party hosted, vendor hosted, etc.
    • Choice in monetization - traditional licensing, subscription, services/support, advertising, etc.

    And the S+S future vision points out a bigger picture view of things where options that span this entire software spectrum, can be utilized in different combinations to deliver value to end-users.

    If you're interested to chat more about this, please feel free to reach out. The slide deck I presented can be downloaded as PPT from the Slideshare.net link above (~20MB), or the PPTX is available on Winodws Live Skydrive (~10MB).

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  • Architecture + Strategy

    2008 Microsoft Worldwide Launch Event: February 27 2008

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    You are one of the unsung heroes of technology. The work you do every day helps your company to be more competitive, and now Microsoft launches three powerful new products to make it even easier for you to be a hero every day.

    Three ways to be a hero.
    One event to launch them.

    See the applications in action. Attend break-out sessions and meet with product experts. Have Q&A sessions with development teams. And leave with a promotional kit that includes versions of the Windows Server® 2008 operating system, Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008, and Microsoft Visual Studio® 2008.

    Register for your launch event today.clip_image014

    Attend the launch event.
    Learn about the products.
    Take them home.

    Worldwide Launch Event Location and Date:

    Wednesday, February 27, 9:00am to 5:00pm

    Registration begins at 7:00 AM in front of the Nokia Theatre  

    Location and Directions:

    Nokia Theater

    777 Chick Hearn Ct.

    Los Angeles, CA 90015

    Los Angeles Convention Center

    1201 South Figueroa Street
    Los Angeles, California 90015

  • Architecture + Strategy

    MIX08: March 5-7 2008 at Las Vegas

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    March 5 - 7, 2008
    The Venetian
    Resort Hotel Casino
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Now in its third year, MIX is an intimate opportunity for cutting-edge technical, creative and business strategists to engage Microsoft in a conversation about the future of the web. Come explore the latest wave of opportunities and help redefine the boundaries between: content and commerce, PC and TV, Windows and the Web.

    Keynote presentations from Steve Ballmer, Scott Guthrie, Guy Kawasaki and other distinguished speakers unveiling the latest web-oriented products and technologies.

    • A comprehensive program of sessions for designers, developers and business strategists led by industry experts.
    • Hands-on labs and workshops for developers and designers.
    • A chance to connect with experts on a wide range of topics for one-on-one guidance and inspiration.
    • An opportunity to network with executives from Microsoft and some of the world’s largest web sites and interactive agencies. 

    DISCOUNTED ADMISSION $1095 USD
    Register before January 15, 2008 for a $200 discount
    (After 01/15/2008) Full Conference Registration - $1295 USD

    To register: http://register.visitmix.com/

  • Architecture + Strategy

    The Microsoft Certified Architect Program

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    My colleague Joe Shirey just put together a series of eight posts that cover the process of the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) program and “what would I tell someone interested in the program”.

    Joe is one of the board members of the MCA program that has helped to shape it since its inception. He offers many insights to people who may be interested in pursuing certification in this prestigious program.

    Check out his blog posts:

    · Intro

    · Why do you want to get the MCA?

    · Preparing the documentation

    · Putting together your presentation

    · What else can you do to prepare for the board?

    · The competencies

    · Going in front of the board

    · What to do with your results

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