Project Spiftcar

(Flashback Post: October 6, 1999)

Project Spiftcar was one of the challenging projects that I am proud to have worked on directly, which set the stage for my next 15 years (on-going) partnership with MSN India & other media clients in India.

The engagement was with Microsoft India to develop and deliver NDTV.COM Election Website for the Parliament elections in 1999. This was challenging for many reasons including having Streaming Video (which was bleeding edge in those days),  live integration with real-time election results from backend systems and the duration which was in total just 10 days from ground breaking (blank Visual Studio Project/Zero Infra) to go live! Incredible and probably a world record of sorts.

NDTV 1999
(I am proud to be with the distinguished people in this picture including Dr.Prannoy Roy-Founder NDTV, Sanjay Mirchandani-then MS India Managing Director and presently CIO & COO EMC Corporation, Jasminder Singh Gulati-then with Microsoft Consulting,now CEO at NowFloats)

The development team under me, worked for nearly 18-20 hours a day. Rushing to Archana Theatre Complex, New Delhi (where NDTV had their studio then) to Noida for few hours of sleep everyday past midnight was the only break from work we got during those 10 days. We had to collect requirements, design databases, design integration systems/message flows, develop front-end webpages, setup infrastructure (both Dev, Staging, Production) and then integrating all these on a continuous basis. Working on such tight deadlines meant the entire team (Dev, MS, NDTV) worked closely resulting in friendships that are lasting till day.

NDTV 1999 (11)

NDTV 1999 (1)

The project was nicknamed by our Dev team as Spiftcar as the cab service we used during our midnight trip to and fro Noida was from a company called Swiftcar whose call centre staffs pronounced it consistently as Spiftcar!!!