I’ve been at MacWorld for Microsoft on and off since I was 18, and this was the best booth we’ve ever had. The openness allowed for lots of customers to be there. The in-facing booths really protected the 1:1 conversations from noise contamination and made working the booth stations much easier on the voice. Not having the “dual screens” at each booth helped because folks walking through don’t think you’re doing some kind of demo and you can really focus on individual questions. The color coordinated shirts and banners looked cool, but actually really helped when someone had a question you couldn’t answer, you would just point to the banner and say, “See that purple banner? Over there will be someone with a shirt like mine but colored purple, they will be able to answer your question.” You didn’t need to leave the booth to escort them to the person or try to point to the person in a crowd. Just very functional. Having the MVPs at the booth was brilliant. They know so much about the software and are really great with the customers. Not having the theater projector “back project” saves so much space which means the booth can accommodate more customers. Not having fold up chairs that are hard to navigate and fall over. I could go on. It was just a really good booth. Looked sharp, but more importantly, very functional.
One part of the booth that was special this year was that the pictures of people using Office and VPC were not just pretty stock art. In our market studies we came upon some great stories of people using our products and we asked if we could make a video of them talking about what they do and how they do it. We showed this video between demo sessions in the main theater, but if you weren’t able to go to MacWorld this year, I got a copy that you can watch here.
As a developer on a big project, you don’t always get to interact first hand with customers. I’m so glad we send so many of the front line team to MacWorld to work at the booth. Developers, testers and program managers all get their turn to work on the show floor, and while it’s hard work, I always come away invigorated to help make the product better. It’s especially nice to talk to people for whom the product is just transparently part of their life. Yes! That’s how it’s supposed to be!
Tuesday night we had a Inside MacBU Press Event. I think the press folks I talked to actually enjoyed hearing about how we build and test our Mac software. What’s more, each of the customers who were in the video were there in person as well. I talked to each of them for a bit and for me it was cool to see that they were just totally genuine in their excitement for the software we build. There’s nothing quite as motivating as an enthused customer!