A friend recently emailed me to say he accepted a job leading the Microsoft practice of a consulting company that doesn’t work much with Microsoft technologies. As part of his job, he is expected to evangelize the practice and technologies. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone do this, so I’m sharing my response below.
Congratulations on the new job! It sounds like you are on the right track.
User groups are a great way to connect with the local developer community. They are good for finding customers, but better for recruiting talent. Consider sponsoring. Also, encourage your team to speak at user groups and code camps. This builds credibility and name recognition.
The lunchtime sessions to teach technology sound great. Consider having a long session once a month and inviting the public.
You are smart to focus on Azure. Azure is a big part of Microsoft’s future and, because Azure supports so many open source and competing technologies, it will fit in well with existing projects and existing customers. Key parts of Azure that appeal to non-Microsoft technologists are:
- Web Apps that support Java, node, Python, and other languages
- Mobile Apps provide a back-end for Android or iPhone apps
- Linux VMs on Azure (about a third of all Azure VMs run Linux)
- HD Insight Big Data Analysis based on Hadoop open source supports any data type (and you can code in Python)
- Azure Machine Learning supports any data type (and you can code in Python)
There are others, but this is a good start.