When Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services approached us about being a DevOps partner and presenting at their DevOps Keynote, I had a fair amount of skepticism and doubt. Was this the right audience for us? We’re a San Francisco startup making a continuous delivery platform, not a C# vendor. However, what we do – reduce risk for software teams – is universally applicable to anyone who makes software, and the partnership was an opportunity to reach new audiences. I’m glad that we are now a Microsoft Partner and participated at Microsoft Build – and here’s why.
It’s all about the customers! Current customers, prospective customers, either way, Build ROCKED. Current customers from Europe who’d I’d talked with many times over email or video chat were there, in person. Prospects who’d already heard of LaunchDarkly came over to ask questions personally. And prospects who’d never heard of us had an a-ha moment that “your feature flagging management is just what we’re looking for, I’m so happy to learn about you.” From Build, we have a motivated pipeline from the States, Asia, Australia, and Europe that are already planning pilots and proof of concepts. Could we have found this audience without Build? Sure. But it would have taken much more work to reach a highly motivated customer, with budget authority, reviewing the new technology she wanted to adopt.
Build was an opportunity for our whole team to “get out of the building” and hear straight from customers why they want to use us. As CEO, I try to convey to the team how excited customers are to use us, and how they feel that feature flagging fundamentally transforms development. But, there’s no match for an external CTO telling our Lead Engineer “You’ve built everything right; this is perfect!” Or seeing people queueing up six deep to get a demonstration.
Or running out of case study sheets on how we’re transforming software development and had to rush a job for more. The team came away energized about the work they’ve done and reinforced the requirements for our future roadmap.
Would I do Build again? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to another software vendor? Absolutely, for its incredible access to global software customers and the amplifying platform of Microsoft for how LaunchDarkly is powering DevOps for every team.