Meet Farah Shariff, the Xbox engineer behind the Microsoft Band

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As Einstein reportedly once said, "Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration", with the important takeaway being that inspiration usually comes first. For Farah Shariff, her inspiration for the idea of a Microsoft-branded fitness tracker came one day, funnily enough, while exercising.

It was as a matter of important, beyond weight and fitness, that Shariff originally began to excercise; several years earlier she had been diagnosed with vasculitis (an inflammation of the blood vessels) in her legs. Running served to ease the symptoms significantly, and so a passion began. It might have been this that served as the true inspiration behind the Band, that is to say, a fitness tracker that can do so much more than act as a GPS, including an array of sensors designed to track multiple different aspects of health.

Having come up with the idea, the next was to pitch it to her managers. Having pulled some research together, she made the pitch, and the rest is history. Along with the rest of her story, in an interview with Self, Shariff attributed a number of other factors to her success: authenticity, conciseness and being pragmatic about development issues, while always maintaining a sunny disposition.


On the issue, she stated,

"Focus on convincing your audience that your idea is great. Is it something no one else is thinking about yet? Or do you have a unique spin? I paraphrase my thoughts in advance of a meeting. When you’re clear and concise, people listen. Think of hurdles along the way as checkpoints to improve your concept rather than roadblocks. And always be open to receiving feedback! It’s easy to get too close to your idea".

Now available in many different locations around the world, the Microsoft Band is representative both of a company that rewards entrepreneurial spirit and doing things a little differently. Though the Band has not enjoyed a stellar success rate, it has certainly opened the gates of interest, to see what Microsoft can accomplish with the line in future iterations.

What would you like to see changed in a 'Microsoft Band 2'? Let us know in the comments below.

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