How Curo Talent became the first Microsoft Partner in Space



How Curo Talent became the first Microsoft Partner is Space

At the Ignite 2017 conference in Washington, Satya Nadella spoke about ‘intelligent cloud’ and ‘intelligent edge’ and how they were a focus for Microsoft and should be a focus for Microsoft Partners. It got us thinking.

What if we could find a way of visually demonstrating our connection with intelligent cloud/edge and at the same time show commitment to our Microsoft contractors… our Talent Community.

Like many ideas, it wasn’t born during a brain-storming or blue sky meeting, but on Sunday evening when work is not the first thing on your mind. Sitting down and watching an episode of Dragon’s Den in late September, Graham Smith (Head of Marketing at Curo) saw a presentation by two executives from Sent Into Space.

They were pitching their service which sends objects into Space* and retrieves them. That’s when the image of the ‘cloud’ covering the Earth and the ‘edge’ of the horizon sprang to mind…as well as the possibility of becoming the first Microsoft Partner in Space.

Showing our commitment to Microsoft contractors

Curo began mapping out the project. The video footage would be spectacular and links nicely with intelligent cloud/edge, but how could we get our Talent Community involved?

We recently had some success sending postcards to Microsoft contractors – so why not send a postcard into space? The contractors could be given an opportunity to write a personal message and receive the postcard back with a certificate of authenticity.

We selected some of our top contractors and their response was incredible –

“This is definitely the most unusual email I have ever received on a Monday morning!!! But what a cool idea!”
“This is possibly one of the most nuts marketing campaigns that I’ve ever seen; well played!”
“I have a small website and will put something on this later and give Curo Talent full credit. Great idea.”

Adding something special

The problem was that a postcard floating in Space is not visually exciting. Checking the Microsoft media we saw the new Surface Book 2 was due to be launched at Future Decoded 2017. We were exhibiting at the show and it looked like a fabulous piece of kit. So the decision was finalised – we were sending a Surface Book 2 into Space (a week after the first deliveries in the UK).

The new laptop would play a video with a message to UK Microsoft contractors, encouraging them to register for our service.

Getting young minds involved

Curo Talent felt it was important to get the next generation of technicians and scientists engaged with the project, so we invited students from a local primary school to attend. They were given the opportunity to also send postcards into Space with a personal message and wore ‘Official Scientist’ badges.

Landing site of the first Microsoft Partner is Space

The students from Shrivenham Primary School released their own environmentally-friendly helium balloons before helping to load all the postcards onto the space vehicle.

There were challenges along the way. The first launch site in Reading was canceled at the last minute because of its proximity to London airspace, and the weather forecast for 22 November was not that great. In the end, we launched from the grounds of Stanton House Hotel in Swindon, although we had to contend with winds of 22mph which delayed the launch by 30 minutes.

After travelling 100 miles from Swindon we recovered the space vehicle from a field in Cambridgeshire (between two lakes!) The launch and landing were a success we have become the first Microsoft Partner in Space. But what is equally impressive is the Surface Book 2 has returned undamaged and in full working order. A fantastic testimony to the build quality of Microsoft’s latest device.

To find out more, please visit www.curotalent.com/space or use #CuroSpace on social media.


Thanks to students from Shrivenham Primary School for their scientific work, Sent Into Space for organising the launch of the space vehicle and Stanton House Hotel for the launch site.

* There are two levels of Space, Outer Space and Near Space. Near Space is over the Armstrong Limit (between 20m and 100m above sea level), and Outer Space is further beyond the Karman Line (100m above sea level).

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