MS Build

MS Build is an annual conference aimed at software and web developers using Microsoft technologies. The 2020 conference was scheduled for May 19-21 in Downtown Seattle, but the coronavirus pandemic precluded hosting this as a live event. The challenge was to take this event, which had been fully planned and configured for an in-person experience, and quickly reimagine the content and assemble a technology platform capable of seamlessly delivering this content to a virtual worldwide audience – all in less than six weeks.

Sound Planning Microsoft Build
Sound Planning Microsoft Build


  • Our Digital Tools Team worked with the MS Build stakeholders to drive clarity on the key event goals and desired virtual attendee experiences, and then translated these desired outcomes into a set of technology specifications and parameters.
  • Our team then acted as a bridge between the MS Build stakeholders, other internal Microsoft engineering and technology groups (e.g. Microsoft Teams) and the wider community of digital service suppliers to bring together and manage a best-in-class combination of platforms and tools capable of delivering the proposed specifications.
  • In a remarkably short time, this effort resulted in a robust, scalable, and repeatable virtual event platform and implementation template that Microsoft has since deployed for other events (e.g. MS Inspire and MS Ignite).


  • 193,000 unique viewers in 211 countries (historical in-person MS Build attendance is 5,000-6,000).
  • The most viewed event on social in Microsoft history – over 100M impressions.
  • High attendee satisfaction – 92% of survey respondents rated the event as valuable.

Client Testimonials

“Five weeks ago we made the decision to repivot our web strategy and drive a customer journey that brought the audience into the event experience from the beginning. In that period of time everyone has stepped up and created an amazing experience that has set in motion a new way to drive engagement.”

— Chief of Staff, Microsoft ESC (Events, Studios and Community)

“I just wanted to say it’s really inspiring to see a team pivot when faced with an obstacle, work a problem and honestly come up with a solution that was, in reality, more impactful than the original plan.”

— EVP, Microsoft Gaming