Dynamics 365 & PowerApps – Let’s build a Home

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion lately about Dynamics 365 and PowerApps, particularly now with Model-Driven PowerApps. Microsoft’s #FreightTrain, seems to have become a #BulletTrain of innovation, and sometimes things like “naming” and “explaining” lag behind. Let’s see if I can unpack this one. Warning, this is a long post, so you might want to listen to it instead.

The PowerApps Path

When PowerApps burst onto the scene, it was a citizen developer tool for building simple apps using what is called the Canvas Model. The Canvas Model allowed you to “connect” to multiple data sources, including Dynamics 365, to build your App. It was not intended as a tool to build a complete business solution, but rather to build a mobile app for specific tasks. When the Common Data Service “pivoted” to the XrM platform, PowerApps and Dynamics 365 got mushed together, and a new concept was introduced for PowerApps called, “Model-Driven PowerApps”. Microsoft often describes the difference between Canvas and Model driven as the ability to have either pixel precision in Canvas, or an “automatic” UI in Model Driven, but that really does not help you understand where the parts fit.

What’s in a Name

Microsoft has struggled mightily over the years with product naming; not just in Business Applications, but across the company, product naming has been… let’s call it,  less than perfect. Many partners and customers first became aware of Model-Driven PowerApps when they logged into the Solution Explorer one day, like they did everyday, and suddenly it said “PowerApps” in the header. “What the hell is this?”. This was further evidence of the separation of the Apps from the platform. The Platform being CDS, and PowerApps being… what exactly?

A Power Fork

Today, the PowerApps brand means two distinct things, Canvas AND Model-Driven apps. These two “things” are for different purposes. The recent announcement that we will soon be able to embed a Canvas App into a Model-Driven App, has made things even more confusing for many people. One thing that PowerApps does not mean is Dynamics 365, these are not the same thing… well, not exactly. So what is Dynamics 365? What is “Power Platform? Why are there two Common Data Services? Okay, now I have gone and confused myself. Let’s try another angle. A while ago I had some fun with a post I called “The Strategy Simulator“, let’s have some fun again, with another short-story.

Steve Builds a Home

I assume we are all familiar with a “Duplex”. It’s a residential building split in half, with two families living under one roof. Let’s imagine that I want to build one, but not for two families, just for me. The reason will be clear in a minute.

The first step I will do is to find a community, and I have selected one called Azure. Azure is a sprawling gated community, with rolling hills and miles of roadways, underground power grids, water systems, lakes, ponds ,etc., with many neighborhoods within it. I had looked at a couple of other communities; Amazon and Google. Amazon was an enormous gated community, but it did not have the rolling hills, it was dead flat as far as the eye could see. While there were miles and miles of roads, I did not see any amenities. The homes all looked exactly the same, like one of those old movies they showed to kids in school in the 50’s, simulating a nuclear bomb leveling a neighborhood of fake homes. I pulled into, and then immediately left, the Google community, it looked like it was just getting started as none of the roads were yet paved, and the gates were unmanned. The construction workers I saw in there all looked like 60’s era hippies, that did not appear to be in any hurry. So anyway, back in the Azure community, I saw a lot of interconnected neighborhoods, some of these were gated also. Gated within Gated seems like overkill on security, but I guess there are a lot of paranoid people in the world. I ultimately selected a lovely lot in the “Business Applications” neighborhood, because the neighbors all looked a lot like me. Business Applications is a fast growing neighborhood, which is adjacent to the huge “Productivity Applications” neighborhood, and they both share a lot of amenities, like the golf course, clubhouse and pool.

The next step was to pour a foundation on my new lot. The left side of my foundation will be poured with “Common Data Service for Apps”, and the right side will be poured with “Common Data Service for Analytics”. While these halves are indeed different, for my purposes at this stage they look the same. They’re both flat, with lots of pipes stubbed up out of them. There is also a vertical wall splitting the two halves of my duplex, and it has a lot of pipes pushed through it. At this time, this foundation does not “do” anything, I can’t live here yet.. I can’t even cook an egg. What I have so far is the CDS Platform for the “Power Platform”, which in turn sits on the Azure Platform, all of which does nothing on its own.

I step onto the left side of this foundation. There are a ton of pipes sticking up through the floor, but first I’ll take a look at the ones poking through the wall. I walk up to the biggest one which has a label on it, “Power BI”. It is so big I can stick my head through it to the other side and see the Common Data Service for Analytics floor. The slab on that side looks different, it seems a lot more porous, and still appears to be… liquid, like it will never harden. I pull my head back, and look at the other pipes through the wall, each of them is called “something Insights”. It is clear that the right side is for large-scale number crunching of massive amounts of data that will eventually get pushed back and forth through these pipes. I turn my attention back to the floor, on the left side of the wall where I am standing.

Scanning the floor of the left side there are so many pipes of different sizes, it is hard to even walk without tripping. Around the perimeter edge are small green pipes every few inches, hundreds of them. I take a closer look… “Twitter Connector”, “BaseCamp Connector”, “Dropbox Connector”, etc. There is a second row around the perimeter, just inside of the first one, I see they are all labeled “Future Connector”. About halfway down the left edge I see a big pipe labelled: “Connection to Productivity Applications Neighborhood”. This is clearly going to be one of those new “Connected” homes. The rest of the floor is covered with steel plates embedded in the slab, with threaded rods sticking out of them. None of them appear to be marked, but clearly, they are here for something.

A big truck with a flat-bed trailer pulls up out front, and I head out to see what’s up. I see on the truck door a sticker that says, “Apps, Tools and Beyond“.  Interesting… it looks like the trailer’s bed is filled with Appliances of various sizes. Most of them have these steel base plates with holes drilled in them, that I assume marry up to the steel rods I saw on the slab. I noticed that many of them also had steel plates on their tops, with the same threaded rods… it looks like some of them can be stacked on top of each other, like those compact washer/dryer combos. The driver comes around the front of the truck to meet me and says, “Wadda ya want?“. Caught off-guard, I said, “What do I need?“. He says, “Whatever you want“, which is not helpful at all. I said, “Well, what do most other people do?” He says, “They look at me all confused, like you are now“. Boldly, I respond, “Well I want “Best Practices”!”. He chuckles and says, “You realize that “Best Practices” is a made-up, bullshit term right?, “Best Practices” is whatever works for you“. Then he says, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll leave the rig here for a couple of days so you can decide“. I said, “Wait a minute, how am I gonna get any of those things in there to try, I don’t see a crane or anything, and some of these look super heavy“. He says, “No crane required… look“, and he points to a button on the side of one these things that says “Install”. He pushes it and the thing, whatever it was, vanishes off the truck bed. Startled, I said, “Where did that go?“. He points over to the slab, on the left side of the wall, and I can see the “thing” sitting on the floor. Wow… that was cool. He says, “If you don’t like it, there’s another button on it that says “Remove”, which will put it back on the trailer“. With that, he turned and started walking down the street and says over his shoulder, “I’ll be back in a two days“.

Hmm…there are a lot of things on this truck and I have no idea what any of them are. Walking around it I can see labels on them, “PowerApps”, “Dynamics 365 Enterprise Sales”, “Dynamics 365 Business Central”, “Flow”, “Power BI”, and many more. I recognize Power BI, from the big pipe through the wall I pushed my head through earlier, so I push the install button on the side of it, and of course it… vanishes. I look over but I don’t see it on the floor. Peering around the end of the wall, I see it now, attached to the wall like a crab, up towards the top on the left side. There are a bunch of wires dangling from it that are not connected to anything. I walk around to the other side of the wall, and I see a huge bundle of wires coming out of that pipe, streaming across the floor, running into all the other floor pipes. It does not seem to be doing anything, there is a panel of lights on the side of it, but none are lit. The right slab almost looks translucent, like I can see right into it… but I don’t see anything. It’s like standing in a boat, looking down into a clear lake… but there are no fish… no… anything. Well this is stupid, and useless, I push the remove button and all of the wires snake back out of the pipes, like a kid slurping in a piece of spaghetti, and they all go back through the wall and then the Power BI box vanishes. I look over my shoulder and see it re-appear on the truck bed. I wonder if there is a particular order that needs to be followed. I pull out the home-builder’s guide-book, and can’t make any sense of it, too many acronyms, obviously written for an experienced home-builder.

I take a closer look at the PowerApps appliance on the truck bed. I see the Install and Remove buttons, but this thing has another button, “Reorder”. What the hell does that do? I push it. Suddenly it lurches upward, flies over and lands on top of the Enterprise Sales Application thing. Interesting. I notice that the Enterprise Sales App thing has a similar “Reorder” button, so I push that. It does not seem like anything is happening, until I look up and notice that the PowerApps thing has lifted up from the top of the Enterprise Sales App thing. As soon as it clears the rods, the Enterprise Sales App thing lurches to the right, about its whole width distance, leaving the PowerApps thing floating in mid-air. It starts to descend slowly, and I notice that the Enterprise Sales App thing starts to rise up a the same cadence. The PowerApps things lands softly on the truck bed, and once the Enterprise Sales App thing clears its top, it starts to move to the left, over the PowerApps thing, and eventually settles on to the rods on the top of it. So it seems that these things can be stacked on top on one another in either order. I wonder why I would care?

I am feeling brave now, so I push the Install button on the Enterprise Sales App and it vanishes, and reappears over on the foundation. I go ahead and do the same for the PowerApps thing, and it appears on the slab near the Enterprise Sales App thing. I walk over to the slab to see what these things are all about. They are both large… room-sized in fact, and like a room, they each have a door on their side. I crack open the door on the PowerApps thing and peer through. Whoa, that was scary, I slammed the door. It looked like an entire Home Depot store inside of this room, but how is that possible? I crack the door again and I can see the interior of this room is like 30,000 square feet, but from the outside, it looks to be a cube about 12′ on each side. I close the door again, and start pacing around this cube. This is simply not possible… its like some David Copperfield illusion. I decide it must be an illusion, so when I come around to the side with the door, I swing it open and just walk right in. I gulp. I am literally standing inside the entrance of a huge Home Depot store. Rows and rows of everything I would need to build whatever the hell I wanted. Getting over the fact that there is a 30,000 sq ft store inside of this 12′ cube, I think to myself, “Well this is handy”. I turn around and exit the store, er, cube.

As I exit the PowerApps cube, I am facing directly at the Enterprise Sales cube, which looks to be the same 12′ on each side. Feeling braver now, knowing that I was able to exit the other cube successfully, I confidently move forward to open the door, I wonder what will be behind it, maybe a Lowes Store? I go ahead and enter. Well… this is different. The space is not as large as the PowerApps Home Depot, I am guessing about 10,000 sq ft, but this is a finished Mansion… and it’s fully furnished. Still, it fit in a 12′ cube, so that’s amazing, but hard to top an entire Home Depot. Looking around I think, Wow, I can probably stop right here, and just live in this cube. Beautiful hardwood floors, a grand staircase to I don’t know where, a black lacquered Grand Piano by the front window, and I’m still in the foyer. Wait.. I didn’t see any windows from the outside of the cube! But never-mind, this is really beautiful, and huge! I stroll down a wide hallway with many openings on each side, and I come to one that has a plaque above it that says “Leads”. Walking past, I can see luxurious seating fills the room, it looks like a waiting room for meeting a King. But there is no one in there. I see more openings for Opportunities, Contacts, Accounts, etc., but as I am walking I am starting to think that the style is not exactly me. Everything is Gold-Leafed, and the Crown Moldings are exquisite, but this would take my own “touches” to make it really what I would want. I head back and exit through the door.

I am thinking that beautiful mansion would be great, if I could just fiddle with it, maybe move some walls around, or at least paint it in colors I like, and it hits me…. I have a Home Depot Right here. I walk over to the PowerApps cube and push the re-order button. It jolts upward and flies over the top of the Enterprise Sales App cube and settles smoothly on top of it. A roughly 4′ square platform slides out from under the door on the upper cube. A ladder, that I had not noticed before starts to extend from under the platform. It is going straight out horizontally, then stops after about 12′. Just as I am wondering how I will reach it, it starts to pivot downward, and the bottom of it touches the slab right in front of me. I decide I will check it out, but as soon as my hand touches the rung in front of me, I am standing on the platform facing the door, 12′ above… my stomach feels a jolt, like you get from a trampoline. Okay, that was freaky, but I notice that while still confused, I’m not scared anymore. I walk through the door into the now familiar Home Depot, but see immediately that the floor is transparent. I can see the whole interior of the Enterprise Sales cube below. Actually, I can’t even see the floor, but it must be there as I am obviously standing on something. I reach down to touch it, and my hand goes straight through. How is this possible? At this point, I decide to stop asking myself How, and just roll with it. As a test, I walk over to the paint department and grab a gallon of Deep Blue, which is my favorite color. I walk across the clear floor to over top of the Leads room I saw before. Now what? Maybe that is not how it works. I put the can down to think, and a second later it starts to wiggle and then poof, it disappears through the clear floor, and I can see the entire Leads room is now painted Deep Blue. Okay, that is pretty damn cool. I think I am figuring out how this works now, using everything at my disposal in the Home Depot, I can remodel whatever I want in the Enterprise Sales App Manson to fit my tastes. This is going to be fun. I decide to head back out to the truck and see what else is there. I go back out the door on the platform and instead of taking the ladder I decide to just jump the 12′. But as soon as my feet leave the platform, the slab actually shoots upward… I only traveled like an inch. I look forward, expecting to see myself 12′ above the street, but I am at street level, and I have that odd feeling in my stomach again.

Back at the trailer, I go ahead and climb up on the bed and start perusing the items. I now know that some of these, once installed will become 12′ cubes, even though none of them are more than 4′ here. At the front of the bed I see some crates, so I meander though the cubes to reach them. The first crate has “Flows” printed on the side of it. The lid is hinged, but not nailed shut, so I lift the top open. Inside are what appear to be small hand weights, so I reach down to pick one up. As soon as my hand encircles the grip, some metallic claws shoot out from either end of it. It’s a good thing I did not have my face down there, I could have lost an eye. The claws seemed to be reaching for something that was not there, just snapping wildly. I loosened my grip and let it fall back on top of the others. I am not sure what the hell I do with those. Next to the Flows crate is a plastic 55 gallon drum with a sticker on top of it that reads, “Steve’s Data”. They had my name! I’m actually a little annoyed, but I decide to check it out. After loosening the cinch holding down the lid, I grabbed the lid on each side and quickly lifted it straight up. I was half expecting one of these spring snakes to pop out like one of those toys with the fake soup can. But, it was nothing dramatic, in fact it seemed to just be a barrel of water. l started to move on, but heard small noises coming from it. I gripped the two sides of the rim, bent a little and peered down into the water.. listening. I could faintly hear what sounded like thousands of conversations, all going on at once. Yes, there was definitely something in there. I put my hand on the top of the water and swished it back and forth. As I did, a face shot up to within an inch of the top of the water, and scared the shit out of me. But I kept looking and noticed there were a bunch of faces rising into view and then slowly fading as they descended back down. I am scared again, this seems really creepy. I take two steps back away from the drum, backing into something else that is just below the height of my butt, so I sit on it… thinking. The drum is sitting on a small raised platform with a button on it. Bending over I can read that is says “Migrate”. I am not touching that… at least not from this position. I jump off the truck bed and scan the dirt yard and see a stick. I grab it, and inch my way down the left side of the trailer bed, peering around the corner at the barrel. I carefully reach in with the stick and push the Migrate button, and duck. I am leaning against the trailer, just out of view of the barrel, and I can feel a vibration in my shoulder where it meets the trailer. Suddenly, whoosh, I look up and see water flying straight up, then arching over towards my house. As it starts to descend, it’s spray widens like a garden hose nozzle, and it seems like way more than 55 gallons. It comes down all over the slab, on both sides of the wall, but does not make a splash or any puddles. It just disappears into the slab, on both sides of the wall. It all happened in literally 10 seconds. I’m panting, but decide to get a grip, and go see what happened.

Walking back up to the slab, on the left side of the house, I stop short of stepping onto it, I immediately notice that it looks different. It appears transparent… not as transparent as the slab on the other side of the wall, but I had not noticed it before. It’s like one of these geometric pictures that if you stare at long enough, and trick your eyes into a different focus you suddenly see a ship or something. Staring at the slab, I started to pick out those faces again, just under the surface. But they weren’t swimming around like they were in the barrel, they were now fixed into neat rows. But there was odd movement. I stuck my head out over the slab to look straight down at one, and saw it appear to shoot way somewhere, but it was still there. Most were not moving at all, but some appeared to be talking… to whom, I have no idea. Taking a closer look at the next one I realized that I knew this person, which caused me to take a step back. Then I tripped on something and fell flat on my face in the dirt. Ouch, I think I landed on a stick. I turned my head towards the slab and was looking the edge of it. Still transparent, something looked different from this angle. The faces looked like they were made up of a bunch of layers… thin slices stacked on top of each other with a tiny space in between them. I lifted my head a little higher to get an oblique angle, and could see that the bottom face layer seemed fixed, but the face layers above it were all talking and shooting off in different directions, and also coming in to the layer stack from other places I could not see. The entire slab seemed like it was alive! But the faces did not seem to notice me. I stood up and dusted myself off and thought “this is the weirdest house I’ve ever seen”. I stepped onto the slab.

It took me a bit to get my balance walking on a slab with all these faces shooting around under my feet. Even though the slab was not moving, it felt like it was. But once my brain locked into that, I was able to walk around. I noticed that a lot of these talking faces where heading in a similar direction. I followed the path over and found myself watching a bunch of them coming in and out of the pipe to the Productivity Applications neighborhood. It was like watching ants, with as many going into the pipe as were coming out of it. All shooting in different directions when they arrived. This slab was more than just alive, it seemed to be umbilically connected to the other neighborhood. I stood there for about 5 minutes, mesmerized by all the talking faces, shooting around under the floor, and I decided to explore. I walked over to the big pipe in the wall that said Power BI and stuck my head through again. Looking down, I could see on the now completely transparent floor all of the faces, but no movement. I thought, that’s odd, over here they’re zinging around, and over there they are all static. Oh well, I guess it will make sense later, and as I withdrew my head and turned around I was facing the Enterprise Sales Cube again. I hesitated, and then thought, what the hell, and opened the door. The beautiful mansion, that was so quiet before, was now a buzz of conversations, it sounded like there was a cocktail party going on down the hall… in my house.

I started to make my way back to that wide hallway. Looking up, I could see that the ceiling was now clear and I was walking under the Home Depot store. I was in the main foyer of the mansion, but I was also under the paint department above. Just for kicks, I put a chair on top of the grand piano and climbed up on the piano, and then the chair. I reached up and could put my hand right through the clear ceiling. But I could not quite reach the first shelf in the Home Depot above. I climbed back down and noticed a ladder in the corner of the room. I know this was not here before… maybe it showed up when put the PowerApps cube on top. I pulled it over next to the grand piano and climbed up. Now I could easily reach the first shelf and grabbed a can of paint and pulled it down. It got stuck coming through the clear floor and I had to tug on it, then suddenly, it broke free and disappeared. Ugh. I started to loose my balance on the ladder so I looked to grab the top and steady myself and I noticed that the entire foyer was now painted in a shit brown color. So it worked, but clearly I need to pay closer attention, or I could make this mansion into a mess. I hopped off the ladder and continued my walk towards the wide hallway.

As I got closer to the hallway, the voices were getting louder. As I reached the end of the hallway, I stopped as I could now clearly make out many of the conversations. Somebody was talking about their sales process, blah, blah. Someone else, farther down the hall, was complaining about something, and from the first opening, the one I peered into before that said Leads, I could hear lots of conversations going on. I crept along the wall so as not to be noticed, and peeked around the edge of the opening. There was a cacophony of conversations going on, I could not actually understand any of them since everybody seemed to be talking about different things all at once. Looking into the room, I saw hundreds of floating, two-dimensional faces.. all talking. I wondered for a minute what the purpose of the nice chairs was, since these faces were all floating about 5 or so feet above the floor. I tried to focus on one of the conversations, I was able to pick out a familiar voice, and concentrated on it. Some guy was asking about licensing costs, and I realized, this is a conversation that I had a week ago with Riley Thomas, and that was Riley Thomas talking, as I turned my eyes to where it seemed to be coming from, there was Riley’s face floating in the air. I shifted my focus to others, in turn, and realized, these were all conversations that I had had! Some from years ago, and others from as recently as yesterday! As I was digesting this I noticed one of the faces starting to head towards me, then it accelerated so fast I could not even duck. The floating face hit my face and exploded in to a cloud of smoke that kept going, I didn’t feel anything, but I swung around to see where it was going and saw it re-assemble itself into a face and shoot into another room. The plaque over that room said “Contacts”. I stepped across the hall and peeked into the Contacts room to see where the face had gone. This room was also full of floating, jabbering faces, but I knew them all. The room was full of faces that I was currently working with in my job. Looking back down the hallway, I saw the other openings and heard more conversations going on, but decided I need to take a break and absorb this, so I headed back out of the Mansion, er, cube.

I stepped off the slab on the left side, and looked over at the slab on the right side of the wall. The faces were all still there, but still were not moving. I walked back to the trailer. Scanning the items on the truck bed, my gaze landed back on the Power BI thing again. I thought, “I wonder if it would actually do anything now?”. I pushed the Install button, and like before it vanished. At least this time I knew where it went. I walked back to the slab, and sure enough around the corner up on the wall like a crab, there it was. Like before, all of the wires on the other side of the wall had slithered out and gone into all of the pipes, but unlike the last time, now on this side of the wall, the wires that were previously just dangling, had leapt out and connected to the Enterprise Sales App Cube. I also noticed a bunch of them had shot down the Productivity Applications Neighborhood pipe. Looking down at the floor, it seemed to be about the same amount of busy movement. I could not put my head through the Power BI pipe anymore since the now fully lit up Power BI thing was crabbed over it, so I walked around the end of the wall to the other side. The previously static faces were now all moving, but in completely different patterns than on the left side of the wall. Something different was happening, but I could not tell what it was exactly. On the left side everything looked the same, but clearly something was different, I was just not seeing it. I decided to take another peek inside the Enterprise Sales App Mansion. The walls of the foyer, that I had previously painted shit brown, now looked like the Sports Book at a casino, lined with monitors all the way around. But instead of showing some horse race, they were all displaying charts and graphs. I walked up to one that a small sign under it that read, “Lead Generation Rate”, it was showing a bar graph by month of new leads. I assumed this was linked to that Leads room down the hall. Every kind of “metric” you could think of was displayed on all of these monitors in the foyer, and they were all constantly changing, in real-time. I was starting to get dizzy, and decided to get some air.

As I was walking back out towards the truck on the street, I saw the driver walking back. I assumed he must have forgotten something in his truck, like his phone or something. He walked right up to me and said, “Are you done?” I said, “Hell no, you only left an hour ago!“. He said, “Nope, it was two days ago like I said“. I said  “That’s impossible“, and he said, “It happens a lot, people start messing with this stuff and time flies by“. I knew it was only an hour, but he seemed convinced, and he was wearing different clothes. I said, “Well, if you have to go, can I just install everything, and then figure it all out later?” He smiled and said, “Let me show you something“, and he walked over to the trailer motioning for me to follow. “Do you see that?” he said, pointing to the corner of another thing with a label called “Field Service” on it, I said “Yeah, Field Service, whatever that is“. He said ” No, I mean there in the top corner“. I looked and saw a price tag that said “$95/user/month”, I looked at the other things and now noticed that they all had price tags. Shit! He said “Are you sure you want to install all of it?” I said, “No… damn… I need time to figure this out“. He said, “I got you covered” and disappeared around the front of the truck. A moment later I heard the truck engine start and thought, this asshole is leaving. The rig started backing up, and continued for about 100′, then stopped. A second later it started to move forward again and I thought he must be feeling sorry for me, but instead the truck started to veer towards me. I moved out of the way, and he drove right across my future lawn and stopped. I heard the door open, and then some hissing sounds. I saw the front of the trailer lift up a bit and stop. Then the truck started to move forward again, but no longer connected to the trailer. He went down the street and turned around, and stopped on his way back by. He leaned out of the cab and said “I’ll just leave this here for you, for as long as you want, just don’t forget those price tags“, then he waved and drove off.

I sat on the slab, aware that my butt was covering at least one person’s face, and looked at the trailer sitting in my front yard. After a few minutes, I thought, what the hell, and walked back over to it. I saw another crate labeled “Insights”, next to the “Flows” crate. I climbed up to take a look at what was in this one. I lifted the lid, and saw what looked just like the flows… little barbells. I reached in and grabbed one, and of course the claws came out of each end. I turned my wrist over and saw printed on the side, “Sales Insights”. Looking down in the crate, it seemed like an awful lot of “Insights” were in there. I felt something, and opening my palm slightly I noticed there was an Install button on the grip. I pushed it. The barbell flew out of my hand and started heading towards the house. It flew right into one of the smaller pipes in the wall, and I saw a claw extend from the end of it to the Enterprise Sales App cube, and connect to something I had not noticed before. The claw on the other end shot down some hole in the slab on the right side. So now, I guess I have to check this out.

I went ahead and grabbed a handful of Flows and put them in my pocket. Then I headed back toward the slab, into the Mansion, and again made my way down to the Leads room and looked in. The faces were all there like before, but there was something new. In addition to the two-dimensional face, there was now a three dimensional box floating above each of the faces. I ventured in to take a closer look. It did not seem that any of these faces were aware of my physical presence, which was reassuring. In fact, I walked right up to a face I recognized, that was blathering away… a conversation I had last month. I looked up at the box, above the floating head and saw there were words on each side of it. I stepped back slightly so I could read it, it said “Chances of Qualification: 33%”. I leaned to the left, and read on the side of the box, “You have not made contact with this Lead in 2 months”. There were more words on the other sides of the box, but I think I got what was going on here. I decided instead to figure out what these “Flows” did.

I headed back out of the cube and onto the slab and walked to the edge, looking at the duplex next store that was already built. Man it was nice. Lots of great additions, a perfect yard, and listening closely I could hear that it was quietly “humming”. As I was about to turn, the neighbor’s front door opened, and a guy came walking out with a cat on a leash. He spotted me and waved, and then tripped on a bush and landed flat on his face. I thought, what a dumbass, who walks a cat on a leash? It occurred to me, that if that dumbass could build such an awesome house, I will certainly be able to figure all this out. I smiled and waved back as he was standing back up, his cat was looking at him, probably also thinking he was a dumbass. I saw his garage door opening. He stepped into it, and there was some chatter I could not make out, and then a pickup truck slowly pulled out of it, my neighbor was waving goodbye to the driver. I saw the sign on the door of the truck said, “PartnerCo Construction”, and I realized then how that dumbass was able to build such an awesome house. I really hope I won’t need help too.

I pulled one of the Flows out of my pocket, and gripped it so the claws would come out. As I was looking at it, I felt a tug downward, that got stronger. So strong in fact that my arm was being pulled down. A claw shot out and clamped onto the Dropbox connector, I had forgotten that they lined the edge of the slab. It sat there, motionless now, in my palm. I checked, and like the Insights, there was an Install button so I pushed it. The other claw shot out the other end and started flailing wildly. I thought it was heading towards the Enterprise Sales App cube, but then it veered off and started towards the Productivity Applications Neighborhood pipe, but skipped right past that and started hovering over all of the other connector pipes in turn, for about a second apiece. It did not grab onto anything, it just repeated this cycle. I started to walk and noticed the cable from the grip to the claw on the DropBox connector let out slack as I walked, the other end continuing to flail about, but as I walked, I noticed it started to check fewer points, seemingly understanding where I was heading. When I got to within about 3′ of the Enterprise Sales App cube, the claw flew past my head and latched onto it, and I felt a pulsing in my palm which startled me and caused me to let go of it. The handle just hovered in the air, suspended by the claws and the cables tightened from each end of it. It was as tight as a guitar string. I guess I need to head back into the Mansion to see what this thing did.

Looking back into the Leads room, I saw the now-familiar floating faces, with the floating boxes over them, and something new. A filing cabinet was now floating over each box, on the side it said “DropBox Files”. Simple enough, I guess I know what these flows do now. I’m exhausted. It still feels like it’s only been a few hours, but in this world, if that trucker was correct, it could have been a week. I head back out to the trailer. I think to myself, man there are a lot of things on this trailer, as I scan my eyes across the deck. I walk up and notice a little gold plaque on one of these things, engraved in fancy script was, “Packed with Pride by J. Phillips”… that’s a nice touch. I lay down on a small hill of dirt under the trailer, in the shade, and look back at my house. My brain is racing. The trailer bed above my head is still so full of things, I have not even scratched the surface yet. My eyelids clamp shut… I’m so tired.. I try, but I can’t even open them, I give up. I am thinking about all of the things I can do with this hou…. zzzzzzzzzzz.



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