My perspective on work and life

Introduction

What is so important about my perspective on work and life? Well, nothing at all unless you’re me. As an IT expert I spend way to much time in front of screens. It’s an occupational hazard. It’s not that I don’t talk to other people. I do, quite a lot. I do so for my work but also, a lot of the time, outside of my day job. That’s essential to prevent tunnel vision and echo chambers. But a big part of my time is spent working on projects (design, architecture, implementation). The remainder goes to assisting others, learning and experimenting or troubleshooting. That’s a never ending story, rinse and repeat. This never ending cycle which can lead to loss of perspective. Not just the loss of your professional perspective, but work & life wise. The rat race goes fast and in IT everything comes and goes faster than ever. You can work very hard and not get ahead. You might make lots of money but have no time to enjoy it. And it can all be over in a second.  You can spend you whole life working for something, just to have it taken away by illness, accident, natural or man made disaster or crime. Sobering thoughts, to say the least.

My perspective on work and life

While I love the IT business from silicon to the clouds I also adore the wonderful scenery that real clouds help create in the great outdoors.That’s why it’s good to take a break and go on a “walk about”. When looking out over the Grand Canyon, hiking in Yellow Stone valleys or in Great Basin with its 5000 year and older Bristlecone pines you can’t feel but insignificant. Both the big picture and over time. On a geological scale what’s a couple of million years any way, let alone less. So every now and then I get my proverbial behind out of the IT cloud, data center and out of the mind numbing open landscape offices. I go watch wild life, hike through landscapes formed by many hundreds of millions of years of natures forces at work.

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It’s a mind set where the little aid above, the GSA (American Geological Society) geologic time scale  becomes relevant to appreciate & try to understand the natural beauty around me.

Some advise

Don’t take life and work too serious, step out of the “rat race” now and then.  Changing my priorities and my perspective on work and life during time off is a good thing. During vacations it sure is a lot different during such periods. I love it. Seeing the Rocky Mountains scenery as you drive to a hike in a comfy Ford Explorer is a just magnificent.

My perspective on work and life

From the majestic Rockies & the Pacific North & South West, the views during a road trip are stunning. The hikes amazing & the serenity is soothing to the soul. I feel great when exploring them. Take a long week-end, go on a road trip, hike around and recharge your batteries. If you’re able to work remotely, do so and explore your local natural resources during your down time or breaks.

Get over that fear of missing out and realize that “promotions” or work are less important than yourself best interest. No one will pay you double  when you work twice as hard or give you back tour time. It’s a typical example of diminishing retruns. Remember that you don’t get a second life. Live this one. Don’t pointless rush through it from birth to death. You won’t be THAT rich and THAT famous (or infamous) enough to be remembered. You’ll probably be forgotten within one or two generations. So enjoy yourself a bit. Even when Rome does burn down during your absence, that’s were new empires can grow.

Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019

I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019

While on vacation I received some excellent news. I received the Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019. I’m an Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in the Cloud & Datacenter expertise for another year!

Dear Didier Van Hoye,
We’re once again pleased to present you with the 2018-2019 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in recognition of your exceptional technical community leadership. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in the following technical communities during the past year:

  • Cloud and Datacenter Management

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It’s a moment of appreciation of our work in the global community. I feel both proud an humble to be part of this select group of experts chosen to be recognized by Microsoft and be awarded the Microsoft MVP Award 2018-2019. Basically it puts a smile on my face.

What does this mean?

I have another year to look forward to as a Microsoft MVP. I’ll be sharing, teaching, discussing, designing and implementing the best possible solutions. I blog, write articles, engage in webinars and speak at conferences. I also help out fellow IT professionals and MVPs when and where possible. The community exist because we contribute, not just take. But I do know I can ask for help when I need it. A big thank you to all Microsoft employees I engage with. Your patience and willingness to listen to us, even when it might be “constructive feedback” and not always praise, helps us all. I appreciate the opportunity. One very nice success this year of such collaboration was to get ReFS support extended to many more use cases.

Every year I try to make it too some of the best and most interesting conferences to learn, exchange experiences, discuss and share knowledge as both a presenter and attendee. That take a bite out of my personal time budget and sometimes even my financial budget. Both of those have limits. But that is the investment I make in myself and the community. You cannot solely depend on your employer or job for your professional advancement. They have different agendas that don’t always align.  To broaden you horizon, prevent tunnel vision and (deadly) echo chambers you need to step out of your workplace cocoon. Luckily I’m blessed with the opportunity to attend & speak at conferences where travel and expenses get paid by the organizers.  That helps a lot.

Thank you for reading, for attending my sessions, for listening to the webinars I join as a subject matter expert. You help me be a better me. Being an MVP allows me to interact with very smart people around the globe. It lets me contribute to and learn from very interesting challenges and  projects. That exposure helps me grow as I help others. It allows me to provide even more well founded feedback to Microsoft. This mutual beneficial relationship is the core of community and what being a MVP is all about.

 

 

Windows Server Summit

Stay Relevant

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018 Microsoft hosts a virtual Windows Server Summit. It will help you get up to speed with many important capabilities in Windows Server (2016 – 2019). This is very much needed as I see even many integrators & service companies not doing enough with these capabilities. In many cases they are out maneuvered by their customers who move fast in regards to their on premises need just like they do for their hybrid & public cloud needs.

As a service provider and integrator your days are numbered if you’re going to stick to slow cycles & slow down tactics when it comes to making money. The ecosystem is changing. As compute becomes a commodity you’ll need to re-think how to deliver value.

Windows Server Summit

This  virtual experience will help your with tips and tricks for modernizing your infrastructure and applications—regardless of whether you’re running it on-premises or in the cloud.The featured speakers are well know in the Wintel ecosystem and are well positioned to bring your up to speed.

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There are 4 track next to the keynote and I recommend you attend to “upgrade” your insights in Windows Server as there is a lot more to learn and investigate beyond what will be addressed here!

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  • Hybrid scenarios with Azure
  • Security
  • Hyper-converged infrastructure (Storage Spaces Direct/S2D)
  • Application platform (containers on Windows Server)

The Windows Server Summit, on June 26th, starts at 18:00 UTC +1 and goes on until +/- 22:00. If you attend live you’ll have the opportunity to engage in the Q&A. All sessions are recorded so you can watch them afterwards ass well. Grab the opportunity to stay relevant for your business and your customers. It’s free and registration is only need if you want to receive updates only. Come as you are when you want to.

Attending the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2018

Attending the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2018

Once more I’m flying to the USA (Bellevue/Redmond, in Washington) where I’m attending the Microsoft MVP Global summit 2018. I’ll be spending my week at the Microsoft campus in Redmond and the offices in Bellevue. I feel grateful and honored to be part of this community and of the chances it offers to learn, connect and build a network world of class experts.

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The Microsoft MPV Global Summit is always a very busy week with both official and unofficial, planned and unplanned meetings. From breakfast till nightcaps we’re talking tech with peers from all over the world. The amount of expertise, experience and knowledge that descends on and near the Microsoft offices that week is nothing but amazing. Especially when you consider that MVPs are not Microsoft employees. They are independent experts who care enough about the technology to share what they’ve learned with Microsoft and each other. We provide feedback, the good the bad and the ugly.

I feel very lucky and privileged to get this opportunity once more that comes with being an MVP. As such I always try to attend by freeing up the time and the budget. It’s an investment. It also provides for an opportunity to meet up with many of my fellow MVPs and Microsoft employees we talk to, collaborate with and provide feedback to on a regular basis. Feedback is a dish we server with care and respect. Likewise, we expect Microsoft to listen and when possible, act. Our feedback is meant to be constructive and help, not to insult or cause pain.

If anyone still doubts the viability of remote teams spread across the world you should see a bunch of MVPs interacting, troubleshooting, assisting each other, create presentations and deliver results. All while spread around the globe.

Flying high above it all

I am and remain in the trenches because I don’t think you can design great solutions in the isolation of an ivory tower and without being in touch with reality. But I do tend to make frequent journeys and fly high above it all regularly to keep perspective.

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Yes, I’m even flying above the clouds. That’s because “Cloud” has become a polluted word that means whatever a vendor/ISV/VAR/OEM wants it to mean as long as it helps them sell whatever it is they are selling. But hey, nothing new there, sales will be sales.

In order to make sure we talk about usable and valuable solutions that put customer needs first we literally have to rise above it. We need to look at the needs of the customers and find ways to serve them with the solutions we build and offer. Too often today customers are offered cookie cutter services that are designed to meet the profitability of the provider and whatever politics that are at hand and not primarily the needs of the customer. I see “cloud” projects last for years and fail to deliver as much or more than they used to so in the client/server era. The failures of bad ideas, politics over customers, lack of context, bad designs and architectures are still blamed on technology or companies. Nothing new there. Customers or employers are not resources to be mined for every penny. And because I pride myself in not playing that game to make money I keep investing in myself. Getting out of the echo chambers that projects and organizations tend to become is key in achieving that. Way to often the focus is on “a can-do attitude” and “loyalty”. People, voicing concerns, discussing issues and speaking one’s mind are key to achieving success. Conformity and compliance are not, those are measurements, that’s all.

So, what is it I go and discuss for a week on end? Well, I cannot tell you, my employers or customers. Luckily, I get to discuss a lot with my fellow MVPs. It’s always a blast to see so many of them again.

Forging valuable solutions

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I can tell you that it helps me make better decisions. It enables me to provide the excellent advice, great designs and functional architecture. These are forged in the fires of reality with my knowledge and insights for a hammer. My context and situational awareness are the furnace and the technologies Microsoft and partners provide are the resources that are turned into valuable solutions. Those are built, not bought. If that’s something you’d like, we can help get you in touch with many MVPs that have a wide variety of skills and are able to assist you.

Our regular schedule resumes after the summit

Anyway, while that week will be busy and while we’ll be anything but quiet over there within our Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

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That means you won’t hear about anything under NDA and as such we’ll remain silent on what we see, hear, learn and discuss at the MVP Global Summit 2018. See you after “The Summit”!