For the last 10 years July 1st has always been a day that I both looked forward to and dreaded. I’ve looked forward to it because its anniversary of the day that I was awarded the honor of being named as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for the first time. But I’ve also dreaded it. Because no matter how many presentations you’ve made or how much you’ve answered questions on the forums or active you’ve been in the community, you always wonder if its been enough. But then sometime around mid-day the email arrives saying that you have been re-awarded for another year as an MVP. That email arrived for me today around 11:40 AM (9:40 AM Redmond time). So for the 11th year Microsoft has decided that my contributions to the SharePoint and Office 365 community were sufficient to earn me an MVP award again for the category of “Office Servers and Services”.
But this coming year will be a little different than previous years because I plan to move towards partial retirement from my consulting career. Before you get the idea that I’ll be less involved as an MVP, think again. Being an MVP has always been about your contributions to the technical community over and above your regular job. So in the past I often took vacation time to speak at conferences or spent time on the forums before and after work. Since I won’t be focusing on “earning a paycheck” anymore I’ll be able to devote even more time to community activities. I’m expecting my contributions to the community will go up as I move to retirement, not fade away.
So, I make this offer to Community Leaders
If you are looking for a SharePoint or Office 365 speaker for your event, and you can help me defray travel expenses, I will be willing to travel almost anywhere, at anytime to share what I have learned over the years.
SharePoint, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM are subjects that I’m passionate about. And my moving towards retirement is just a partial thing. I still plan to continue to do consulting and training for many years to come. If consulting/training opportunities come my way I will continue to work. Because that’s now I keep learning new things. But if paying jobs don’t happen to come my way then I’ll live off my retirement savings and spend even more time speaking and answering questions.
So here’s to another year as an MVP. I think it will be an exciting one.
For me July 1st has always been an anxious day. No matter how many times I’ve been awarded as an MVP I’m always nervous when my anniversary comes around and its time to be evaluated for a re-award. This year I am being joined by all the other MVPs as Microsoft consolidates and makes July 1st the re-award date for everyone. But other changes in the program made this year’s wait more disconcerting than normal. You can now have community contributions noted in multiple areas, but that also means that your contributions may be diluted by being split up. But for the 10th year Microsoft has decided that my contributions to the SharePoint and Office 365 community were sufficient to earn me an MVP award again for the category of “Office Servers and Services”. In the coming year I will continue to focus on SharePoint and Office 365. But this year I hope to also expand by digging back into Dynamics CRM, especially how it integrates with Office 365.
I continue to start each day by answering a few questions on the MSDN and TechNet Forums. But am also hoping to expand my presence on the public Yammer forums and the Microsoft Tech Community. As a former trainer I still get excited by providing answers to interesting questions for people. Finding the answers to these questions often teaches me new things about SharePoint and Office 365. I’m also looking forward to continuing to share what I know at several conferences this year. I’m always looking for new topics that people would like to hear about. If you have a question or a topic then drop me a line and my next talk may be inspired by you.
I’m also always inspired by my friends and colleagues in the MVP program. The knowledge they have continues to amaze me and its a definite advantage to have so many intelligent friends. This last year has seen a number of my MVP friends leave the program to join Microsoft as employees. That is a constant reminder of all the great people who work for Microsoft. Being able to network with them is also a great privilege.
But the bottom line is still that I wouldn’t be an MVP if it weren’t for all of you out there in the SharePoint community. Its been great to meet all of you in person and thanks for all the questions that you’ve asked. As long as you keep asking questions and listening to me at conferences I’ll keep trying to learn more and share what I’ve learned with all of you. Without you I wouldn’t be receiving this award. I hope to continue to live up to the honor and hope that I never get complacent about what its really about: Helping to support the SharePoint and Office 365 community.
I’ve been using the Don’t Pa..Panic brand for my individual work for almost 20 years now. The common reaction I get to the name is the question; “Oh, are you a Douglas Adams fan too?” I do happen to be a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (For those of you who don’t get the analogy all I can say is “Read the Book”). But that’s not where the name comes from.
Actually, it all starts back in the 70’s when I met my wife. In those days we were idealistic college students who believed firmly in the “Women’s Liberation” movement. So when we got married at the end of college we naturally decided to preserve her family name as a married couple. So I ended up with a new middle name that is pronounced “Pah-Paa-Neck”. My wife had already coined the name of the company as a slogan when she ran for an elected position as a freshman. She says her prior use of the name gives her the copyright, but she lets me use it as long as I make her a Vice President in the company. But that’s OK. She’s been an incredible partner for over 40 years of marriage so being a VP is a minor concession.
But in addition to being a play on words the name actually means something. The goal of my consulting company is to help bring sense and order to an otherwise chaotic business climate. The pace of change keeps accelerating and sometimes its hard for business leaders to know where to go next. The goal of Don’t Pa..Panic Consulting is to help provide a roadmap to implementing collaboration systems that will transform your company, and to do it all with a level head and a minimum of Panic.
So hang in there, don’t panic, and give me a call.
Most people look forward to July 1st because it means the July 4th holiday weekend is close. For me as an MVP it has an entirely different excitement. No matter how many times I’ve been awarded as an MVP I’m always nervous when my anniversary comes around and its time to be evaluated for a re-award. But I’m happy to say that I received an email Friday morning saying that I’ve been awarded an MVP award again this year. The categories have changed over the last year, so instead of an award for SharePoint server my new category is called “Office Servers and Services”. This of course includes SharePoint and Office 365 which are my focuses. No matter how the program changes I continue to be more excited every year. This is my ninth year and I hope to continued my contributions for years to come. SharePoint and Office 365 continue to be exciting products to work on and there is always a lot more to learn. This year in particular I will be focusing more on how hybrid environments that include SharePoint online, Azure, and SharePoint on-premises function.
I continue to start each day by answering a few questions on the MSDN and TechNet Forums. But am also hoping to expand my presence on the public Yammer forums. I really enjoy being able to help people find answers and frequently find interesting questions that I’ve never thought about that lead me to discover new and different things about SharePoint. I often wonder how I learned as much as I did before I gained access to the resources and contacts available to me as an MVP. I’m also looking forward to continuing to share what I know at several conferences this year. I’m always looking for new topics that people would like to hear about. If you have a question or a topic then drop me a line and my next talk may be on that topic.
This year I’m particularly excited that one of my colleagues at work was just awarded his first MVP award. Gareth Gudger works on Exchange and Office 365 and has a well read BLOG at https://supertekboy.com/. Gareth and I haven’t worked a project together yet since he is based in Cincinnati and I am based in Cleveland. But I hope to find more time to connect with him on Office 365 this year as he begins his MVP journey.
But the bottom line is still that I wouldn’t be an MVP if it weren’t for all of you out there in the SharePoint community. Recently I’ve been running into a number of people who have heard me speak at conferences or have seen me answering questions on the Forums. Its been great to meet all of you in person and thanks for all the questions that you’ve asked. As long as you keep asking questions and listening to me at conferences I’ll keep trying to learn more and share what I’ve learned with all of you. Without you I wouldn’t be receiving this award. I hope to continue to live up to the honor and hope that I never get complacent about what its really about: Helping to support the SharePoint community.
If you’ve ever read this Blog you probably noticed that its been very inactive for the last year or so. So I’ve decided with the new year to rededicate myself to putting some posts out here. I decided if I was going to do that I was also going to freshen things up with a new look. In addition to freshening things up and changing the colors there are also some other new enhancements. The new theme I now using supports “responsive design”. Here’s how the site looks on my Windows 8.1 phone:
Its much easier to read then it used to be with my previous theme. So if you like reading Blogs on your mobile device, like a tablet or a phone, you’ll find that the layout of the site now adapts to the lower screen real estate available on those devices.
But in addition to a new look I also want to start writing posts with meaningful information and workarounds. I’ll be starting that off in the next week with a series that examines the concept of “External Sharing” in Office 365. I’ve done a couple talks on the subject recently and some of the attendees commented that they hadn’t seen some of the details I presented anywhere else. I promised I would write a post or two on the subject, so I’ll start sharing those with you soon. Hope you have a Happy New Year and I hope you like the new look of the site.