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ProModel Skunk Works

Its 2013.  One of the exciting things I am involved with actually started in late 2012.  I sent the following email out to the development team in November.

ProModel Skunk Works…

Dear Technology Team,

Next year is the 25th anniversary of ProModel. The marketing team has started having some discussions about things we could do to promote this milestone for ProModel. I have an idea I would like to share and get your feedback.

At the last conference, we had booths set up.  The sales team and product managers manned the booth, but many developers were relaxing at the tables socializing mostly amongst other developers.  I don’t blame you really since you don’t get to exercise your sales and networking muscles very much.

ProModel is loaded with intelligent, passionate, well-spoken developers and I want the customers to witness this.

The last 2 years I have attended the Maker Faire.  What an amazing event.  For those that have never attended one, I highly recommend it.  Basically, garage inventors showcase their creations.  Talking with the inventors is very reminiscent of internal meetings where ProModel developers show off their software. You can feel the passion and excitement and it is contagious. It’s social and fun.

Might be wishful thinking, but I can imagine the technology group having their own booth at the next conference.  Let’s call this the Skunk Works booth. At this booth there might be prototypes of products that might not EVER get released.  These are concepts and prototypes. Preferably there is a simulation component to the prototype, but does not necessarily have to be. I believe that there is a developer that has an idea that can be showcased that might change the future of ProModel and their career path.

What value would the Skunk Works booth have you ask?

1. Show off our developers’ intelligence and passion for technology.

2. Show off ProModel’s creativity and technology range.

3. Depending on what we showcase, generate some feedback and dialog.  Customer engagement is a good thing.

4. We blog about the progress and process to help hype the conference.

If you have read this far, then perhaps you are interested.  I think there are some good buzz words that we should target.  To get your creative juices flowing, here is a brain dump but I am really looking for your ideas:

… Mobile/Tablet

o Conference Mobile App (Schedule, Sessions, etc)

o Mobile prototype of the world’s most simple DES tool.

o Mobile prototype of EPS or PM Cloud scenario runner

o Mobile prototype of EPS or PM Cloud reports

o IPAD example

… Physical computing

o Lego + Arduino mock manufacturing process integrated with .NET simulation engine

o Kegerator (sales guys would love this)

… Social Utilities

o Gamification Service integrated against PM Cloud or EPS.

o Product User Feature Voting Utility. (similar to Silverlight’s home page)

o Any cool ideas of how we could apply simulation to Facebook or twitter data?

… Engine Integration Examples

o BPM simulation example.

o Any cool ideas of how we could apply simulation to Facebook or twitter data?

… Gaming

o AST resource management game.  Jon I know has ideas!

… Misc

o ProModel Foosball app.  (rent a foosball table next to booth). This would be a huge success!

Here is the rub:  We would have to allocate personal time to pull this off.  If there is interest, I am proposing picking a day to optionally stay after work every 2 weeks or so, meet in the North office (and Utah in theirs) or meet online (Google Groups, etc) and work on some stuff together for fun.  Hang out, code, learn and socialize.  Would this be something you would be interested in doing?  If yes, reply.  Got a cool idea?  Reply back! Want to lead an effort? Reply back!

F.A.Q.

1. Do you have management approval for this?

Yes!  Keith loves the idea and volunteered to pay expenses for after-hours commitment.

2. Would I get a fat raise for participating?

Nope, but participating entitles you to enjoy the inside jokes.

3. Would there be deadlines?  Any obligation?

Nope!

The response was great.  We formed 2 teams.  The team I am involved with is messing around with Arduino/Netduino and other Internet of Things.  Things are just starting to pick up.  I suck at EE related stuff but fortunately several of my teammates do not Smile.  We have decided to meet during lunch time once every other week or so.  The next meeting planned is called “Netduino Demo” followed by “EE For Nonbelievers”.  I will be sure to share how those go.

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