It’s dark outside, it’s raining, there’s Christmas songs on the radio, and there wasn’t much traffic this morning. It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas, and we’re coming to the end of another year.
Work at MicroWarehouse Ltd. (not the UK company of the same name) has been interesting. I’ve made a career for myself by being able & willing to take on new things. I started off as a C programmer and fell into Windows desktop/Server. I then discovered System Center before it was called that. And I jumped from VMware to Hyper-V in the early days and that worked out too. I started working with Azure back in January when it became obvious that Microsoft would have to bring it to our customer base via Open licensing. That investment worked out, and I’ve spent most of my time since August either preparing or delivering Azure-related training to sales or technical staff of Irish and Northern Irish resellers. I don’t see Azure as a Hyper-V replacement – far from it – but it is a great supplemental technology, and my experience with Hyper-V has been a great help. We’re starting to hear of fun-sounding Azure opportunities for our customers so the ball might be starting to pick up some momentum.
I brought a few products to the attention of my boss over the past 18 months. The DataOn business has exploded, and we’re selling loads of cluster-in-abox units and JBODs throughout Europe. We’ve just taken on 5nine Software, and conversations with some others have begun to heat up.
Life as an MVP continued. There were fun online & in-person events and podcasts where I got to talk about Hyper-V, and Windows Server storage and networking. While the amount of material I could blog about on this site dried up a little, I was continuing to add content on Petri.com. And of course, we had the announcements on Windows 10 and Windows Server vNext, so there’s a whole new pool of content to write about, so my activity here has been renewed. I’ve also been buoyed by the fact that the traffic to this site has more than doubled over the past year. Thank you!
We MVPs get a great opportunity to interact with the product groups from Microsoft – that’s the biggest benefit as an MVP. Those who capitalize on this get a huge career boost. And this year has been especially rewarding. We MVPs give a lot of feedback to Microsoft. Some of us Euro-cloud MVPs have been especially impressed to see how this has impacted product over the past 12 months. I can’t talk specifics, but there are things that we have brought up that have turned into headline features.
One of the best bits of being an MVP is making lots of new friends. I get to meet up with lots of people who I’ve only gotten to know through this community, some are MVPs and some are not. We MVPs bump into each other a lot and it’s always great to hang. And there are others, be they co-writers, regular attendees, sponsors, Microsoft staff, or whatever, that I enjoy meeting up with too.
Career-wise there were two huge highlights for me. I was going to TechEd North America 2014 in Houston, but I wasn’t planning on competing in Speaker Idol (a multi-round speaking competition, like X Factor or American/Pop Idol, with 1st place overall winning a slot in the following year’s conference). The organiser, Richard Campbell, had invited me onto a podcast to talk and afterwards asked me to compete. I changed my mind right there – part of it was I knew who one of the judges was and I had the perfect idea to have a little fun. And then I qualified for the final. I wasn’t nervous, but now I was serious. But when I saw how many turned out to support me, I became nervous. In the end, I was honoured to win. That was frikin’ amazing. I was on cloud 9 until the exhaustion of preparing into the week hours the previous night on top of 5 days of jetlag kicked in.
Me warming up the crowd at the start of my final session at Speaker Idol
Another career highlight was also at TechEd, this time in Barcelona for the Europe 2014 event. For the first time ever, I was selected to be a speaker, talking about my favourite topic: Hyper-V. I love finding the nitty gritty bits, and I love explaining them to people. I was chuffed to see so many familiar faces from around Europe (and further afield) and to see how many people came to see me talk. Damn, I was nervous. The first slides (NUMA) were tricky to explain to an audience where English is mostly the second language. I rehearsed those slides over and over and over. Once I was over the start, I was able to enjoy myself. And then it was cool that so many came up to ask questions when I was finished.
Speaking at TechEd (Europe) for the first time
For me, 2014 will be most remembered for what happened outside of “work”. It’s been a special year personally. Life is pretty damned great.
I hope 2014 was as kind to you as it was for me. If it wasn’t then I know from experience that a horrid year can turn into something special. Hold on, work hard, and give life a chance. Have a 2015!