Project Spiftcar was one of the challenging projects that I am proud to have directly worked on, which set the stage for my next 15 years (ongoing) partnership with MSN India & other media clients in India. The engagement was with Microsoft India to develop and deliver the 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 groundbreaking (blank Visual Studio Project/Zero Infra) to go live! Incredible and probably a world record of sorts.
This is a flashback post: October 6, 1999!
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 a few hours of sleep every day 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, set up infrastructure (both Dev, Staging, and Production) and then integrate 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.
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 “Swift car” whose call centre staff pronounced it consistently as Spiftcar!!!