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Insider Stories

Crushing on Microsoft

Gabe Morado, Windows Insider and Microsoft superfan, chats with us about good marketing and what makes a brand come to life.

Gabe Morado, based in Madrid, Spain, wears his love for Microsoft on his wrist. He decided to get the tattoo after winning the Windows Insiders to Campus competition in late 2014 because, “Interacting with Microsoft products isn’t just a hobby of mine — it’s a huge part of my life.”

Step into Gabe’s world and you’ll find a wall commemorating every Microsoft product he’s owned, posters and swag from Windows events, and cats named Cortana, Lumia, Spartan, and Skype. (Cortana has two modes of course — ”sleep and superpower.”)

A marketing and advertising student, Gabe is fascinated by the way creative marketing can shape perceptions and enable companies to build an authentic relationship with customers. Gabe’s crush on Microsoft was sparked by the Lumia 800 smartphone, but it took more than a first date for this tech enthusiast to become a superfan.

In November of 2013, a pop-up called “Espacio Microsoft” gave Gabe hands-on experience testing cool new gear. He then joined the Windows Insider Program when it launched the following year, and shortly thereafter entered the Windows Insiders to Campus competition, only to be selected as one of ten winners. Gabe marks his Microsoft milestones by keeping the packaging from each product purchased. And what does he do with all those boxes? He hangs them proudly on his wall.

“Looking at my collection, I can see how much Microsoft has evolved in only 4 years,” he explains. “For example, it´s great to see how much the design of the packaging has changed from the Lumia 800 to the Lumia 950 XL.”

“And now, Microsoft is surprising us every year with their new products. In 2015, Microsoft introduced a technology that was totally unexpected — HoloLens. Augmented reality was a field that was not fully explored, and Microsoft led the way. I think nobody was expecting HoloLens, because most people only see Microsoft as Windows, Office, and Xbox. With HoloLens, Microsoft created a product that made everybody say, ‘Wow!’”

Being a part of this wave of innovation and the community around it makes Gabe proud to call himself a fan and an Insider. “The best part of the Insider Community is its ability to bring people together — people with the same passion for Windows,” he says. “The Insider Program widely meets the objective of getting feedback to Microsoft to help it develop the best OS. But it is more than just a beta program. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people thanks to this great community.”

So what does this Microsoft superfan think is the key ingredient to good marketing? “Fun,” Gabe says. “It’s the best way to get inspired.”

Bring Out the Enthusiasm

How this Windows Insider helps businesses tap into tech’s power to delight and inspire.

Sarah Lean, based in Glasgow, works with companies of all kinds, from Scottish whisky to music festivals and big manufacturing firms. As a tech professional who designs business solutions, she’s helped clients tackle a range of challenges. But at the end of the day, helping companies do even better at what they do best can boil down to unlocking the potential of people through their own enthusiasm.

“Things are changing,” Sarah says, “in terms of people wanting to work on the go through their devices and to collaborate no matter where they are in the world. If you enable people and your company with the technology to do that, you're getting a more enthusiastic workforce that is ultimately going to bring you back a profit.”

Younger workers in particular get excited when they access new tools to flex their creativity, such as Sway, Office365’s app for storytelling and interactive presentations. “Microsoft products are really intuitive and easy, but I think most companies, at first, just want to implement Office365 for basic things like email,” Sarah says. “But when companies are introduced to all the features what they're actually paying for when they get their license — they can see new solutions. And it's great just watching that enthusiasm grow.”

Despite a 12-year tech career under her belt, Sarah still sees herself as an apprentice of sorts, continuing to learn from other tech pros in the community through the Insider forums, blogs, and most recently a meet-up she organized in Glasgow. She began her career answering support calls —”’Can you reset my password?’ and things like that” — and, driven by her love of tech, climbed the ladder to where she is today —”not at the top, but getting there.”

For Sarah, it’s an exciting time to be an IT professional. Not only are companies like Microsoft designing “innovations that are getting people interested in being creative with tech again,” but communities, both online and in-person, are more inspired to share ideas and work together. Recently as part of the Windows Insider community, Sarah was instrumental in helping the Microsoft team test a new operating system feature that hadn’t been announced to the public.

Sarah’s passion has been tech ever since she discovered it in high school. “I had an inspirational teacher who had been an IT consultant and was just so enthusiastic,” she recalls. “He encouraged us and was able to give proper examples and prepare us for what IT was going to be like in the real world. He's probably one of my first mentors or heroes.”

Does she have any advice for girls today who are interested in tech? “Don’t be frightened,” Sarah says. “It’s still such a male-orientated environment that you do see some girls worried about going to user groups and such. But I’ve found that the guys are really friendly, once they see that you’re there to talk tech just like they are. Follow that passion and just go for it.”