Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone, has penned an interesting blog post to reflect on a year of helping developers succeed with Windows Phone.
Watson is often seen as the face of Windows Phone and Microsoft’s developer efforts for Windows Phone app developers. In a blog post on Monday, Watson dives deep into his history at Microsoft and the company’s massive effort to reboot a struggle mobile ecosystem. “We had to start with a completely new dev platform, new tooling, and the fallout of a clean break from Windows Mobile 6.x, making many of those developers angry,” explains Watson. The Windows Phone team set out to achieve one main goal, evangelise Windows Phone by demonstrating a clear opportunity for developers to build on top of the operating system. “This meant landing our stories with the press, but also engaging with developers on a 1:1 basis where possible,” explains Watson.
Watson has been the main man for developers to reach out to over the past year. He shared his own personal phone number with Windows Phone developers earlier this year and championed Microsoft’s efforts to allow homebrew applications on the Windows Phone platform. He also recently bet $1,000 on Windows Phone 7 with the author of the comic strip Dilbert. Watson offered Scott Adams the chance to try a Windows Phone 7 device. If Adams didn’t like Windows Phone then Watson promised to donate $1,000 to a charity of Adams’ choice. Adams was impressed by Windows Phone. Watson has also previously offered Windows Phone devices to notorious iPhone hacker Geohot and the original Windows Phone 7 jail breaking team ChevronWP7.
Watson says Microsoft has learned things over the past year and has “recalibrated” their principles as a result of that. “The essence remains largely the same, though I can say that we have made them more focused,” he says. “What has made me happier than anything is the level of support from the community. Heck, I might even go so far as to say we have fan boys.” The community behind Windows Phone is passionate, intelligent and will often assist Microsoft in marketing its products. Watson regonizes this, “The number one principle for this year is: be highly available,” he admits. “We’ve learned quite a bit over the last year, but more than anything else, I have learned that if you make yourself available to the community, and do your honest best to invest in helping people out, and getting their questions answered, it will pay off in spades.”