I’m not sure where the fourth challenge ended and the fifth challenge began – especially the social experiment side of them both.  Buck just blasts in the dining room.  I should have known something was up.  He hadn’t stuck around for any other challenge.  I should have known when he didn’t leave that we were in for a major surprise.  As he gave us the challenge, he told us ‘not to stay up all night’.  For those of you with kids you’ll understand how this engages the subconscious mind.  It’s like telling a child “Don’t trip” and then they trip.  The subconscious mind doesn’t understand “no – don’t – can’t”.  Buck might as well have required us to stay up all night!

So, we all stayed up all night working on our designs, researching, learning details about the technology, perfecting designs, and practicing our presentations.  It was brutal!  Absolutely brutal! 

We all commented on how it had been so long since any of us had pulled an all-nighter.  During this challenge we were allowed to converse.  In fact, Buck encouraged us to do that.  I had never dealt with CPI or PII data before.  I should have taken my cues from Alex and Mike on this.  They were splitting the data between local SQL Server and SQL Server Azure.  Stacy and I didn’t.  This played a factor in my technical design.  Mike and Alex (correctly) separated the data creating a design that used the cloud for the bulk of the data and only housed the sensitive data locally.  Stacy and I created designs that only utilized SQL Azure.  We threw everything in the ‘cloud’.  This was technically incorrect because of chain-of-custody requirements for some of the data outlined in the requirements.  I know that now!  In research for my presentation, I found a client list for SQL Azure.  I made an assumption that those companies would have this type of data.  It led me down the wrong path.  If they do have this type of data, they don’t store it in Azure.

As tired as I was, I was able to muster some confidence for my presentation.  I thought I presented well, they just didn’t like everything I had to say.  My lack of understanding of how to deal with this type of sensitive data lead to the technical flaw in my design and presentation.  It was uber-fatal.  It dropped me from the running for this week’s challenge and I have to think cost me a shot at being the over-all winner of Be The Next.  I still feel extremely honored to have had this experience.  It was unforgettable.  I offer my sincere congratulations to Mike.  He is very deserving.  After he won the first challenge I said that he would be a factor.  That was an understatement.  Microsoft has a great Next Employee in him.

Here's a pic on the way to give our presentations at MS, Alex grabbed a power snooze. He's smart. I'm driving. I'm dumb.

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