Welcome & Day 1:
We were all warmly welcomed to the Seattle Convention Center Tuesday May 8th by the Microsoft BUILD team. Upon registration, we got our badges, cool #msbuild t-shirts, and a Starbucks gift card to enjoy.
Early on Wednesday, May 9th, the line for the keynote was as extensive as the excitement level. It seemed that most of the 5,000 attendees were trying to get a seat at the first day’s keynote event.
Opportunity & Responsibility:
The first speaker was Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. It was my first time hearing him speak in person, and he left a great impression in his talk about the ideas of opportunity and responsibility. He joined the company in 1992, back when the total amount of internet traffic, pre-web, was about 100 gigabytes per day. Now, per second, there is 17.5 million times that; 90% of all the data in the world was generated in the last two years. Autonomous cars are expected to generate tons of data. It is predicted that there will be some 25 billion intelligent devices in the future. This all represents an unparalleled opportunity for developers to have a broad, deep impact on all parts of society and all parts of the economy, to an extent that has never been greater.
That said, with enormous opportunity comes enormous responsibility. The choices that developers make will have a profound impact on our world. Nadella is optimistic yet grounded, as there are unintended consequences of technology. He continued that it is up to us to ensure that some of the more dystopian scenarios, like Orwell’s totalitarian 1984 or the meaningless distractions of Huxley’s Brave New World, don’t come to pass.
Nadella posed the question: what are the practical ways that we can make progress? His response started with, “I believe we can make these practical design choices that help enshrine our timeless values.” The first choice he focused on is how we should empower people with technology. That people should be at the center of developers’ focus, and we as technologists should amplify their skills. We should use technology to bring more empowerment to more people, to use technology to enable everyone to participate economically in our society. Design can and should be an instrument for inclusive growth.
Lastly, it is up to developers, as the world becomes more technology-driven, to build trusted technology. Nadella think it starts with taking accountability for the algorithms we create and ensuring that there is more trust in technology with each day. These are practical things that capture the essence of the Microsoft mission. The Microsoft mission is that “we want to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Nadella continued that this includes developers. Microsoft started as a developer company. Developers should think about people, about institutions, and about what we do across the globe. It’s about celebrating what each person can do with that technology to have broad impact. That’s what they have been realizing.
The opportunity we, as developers, have in this world is very amazing. There are 500 million Windows 10 devices accessible through the Windows store. That reach will drive the ecosystem going forward. As a company, they are giving developers more users and more engagement. For example, there are 100 million users of Office 365. The most valuable set of users are working with these enterprise tools in their work every day.
Nadella stressed that, “You have now the opportunity to reach 100 million valuable users with any app that you build.” Cortana alone is used by 140 million users every month and every day! These are devices that have audio and screens and an amazing install base that you can extend on. There are over 12 million organizations in Azure Active Directory. Over 90% of the Fortune 500 is using Microsoft Cloud. Apps for these platforms can do single sign-on, making it possible to reach those users through just a single profile.