Looking back and stepping forward

The end of 2010 is nearly here. In looking back, I realized that this blog has been almost 100% tech focused this year so I figured I was due to “get a little personal”. It helps that this has been an outstanding year for me and I’m starting to ponder goals for 2011. So the time is definitely right for a bit of introspection.

In 2009 I became interested in the trend towards cloud computing. I’ll admit, initially I just dismissed it as the next architecture of the moment, but that quickly changed as I explored the concept further. It was also about this time I sat through a presentation by Jeff Brand on a new Microsoft technology that had just entered CTP called “Windows Azure”.

I had been looking for a new challenge so I took up this new platform and started to learn it. As if this weren’t enough, and maybe it was driven by the early onset of a mini-midlife crisis, I decided to reach back a few years to my days of running an web site for an online computer game. Start leveraging all these new social network tools. So I started blogging about my experiences and once again frequenting message boards.

Fast forward to early 2010 and I was starting to attract some attention. The consulting firm I work for, Sogeti USA, was recognizing and even encouraging my activities. This led to an initial Windows Azure project in Atlanta a full year sooner then I would have thought. I was also fielding questions from Sogeti’s sales teams and technical consultants from all over the country on a nearly weekly basis. Then in the fall came my biggest surprise when I was selected as a Microsoft MVP. I’m still not sure I actually deserve this, but I’m going to do my best to not make the folks that selected me regret their choice. Besides, my parents were so proud of this they contacted the local newspapers who put in short articles about it. And who wants to disappoint their parents. Smile

A few short months later and here we are. My “quiet December” has been my busiest month of the year and my dance card for 2011 is already filling up. I’m even considering sending a session proposal to Microsoft for TechEd 2011! Within Sogeti we’re charging into the new year with a new organization that will formalize some of my activities over the last year and use them to dramatically expand our delivery capabilities. Heck, I may very well end up in Europe this next year. Pretty exciting for a red-neck from rural Iowa that has yet to step foot outside of the continental US (I’ve been within 10 miles of Canada, but that’s it).

Lastly, there’s been all the great folks I’ve become friends with this year. Chris, Steve, Michael, David, Cory, Sam, the list goes on and on.. I’ve been incredibly blessed this year so look for me to really step up my game in 2011 and give as much back as I can. I have ideas for a dozen different blog posts floating around my head and hopefully 4-5 new presentation decks as well (I’m going to need ‘em). So here’s hoping I’ll see many of you online and in person in the coming months!

Happy new year everyone!


Free Online Azure Training!!!

I don’t normally post this kind of stuff here but with two of Microsoft’s “rock star” evangelists involved, I can’t help myself.

Some of the key content from the Azure Bootcamps is going to be done online over the next three months as a series of 1 hour webcasts. If you’ve been wanting to get trained up on Windows Azure but couldn’t commit the time, you can’t pass up this opportunity.

12/06: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Windows Azure and Web Roles
12/13: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Worker Roles
01/03: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Working with Messaging and Queues
01/10: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Using Windows Azure Table
01/17: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Diving into BLOB Storage
01/24: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Diagnostics and Service Management
01/31: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: SQL Azure
02/07: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Connecting with AppFabric
02/14: MSDN Webcast: Azure Boot Camp: Cloud Computing Scenarios

And if you missed today’s “getting started” webcast, the recording is already available.

So stop making excuses and get with the training! Smile