Looking back on 2018

It is the night of the first day of 2019. After 10 days camping and a whole day yesterday organizing the house, I was keen on a quiet night instead of partying on New Year’s Eve.

So the kids went to bed and me and my wife were just waiting to see the new year starting, I’ve thought that was a good time to reflect back on my achievements of 2018 and say thanks to a big supporting network that made them possible. That’s how this post started, in the last day of the year…

Public Speaking

I had as a goal for 2018 to have at least two international speaking engagements and continue speaking locally in NZ. I’ve managed to achieve both.

In March 2018, both me and Tharanga Chandrasekara were invited to speak at Directions Asia 2018 in Bangkok- the biggest Business Solution Event in the APAC region. It was quite an interesting experience, talking to a different public from my usual integration sessions. Although the focus was still cloud integration, it was set on a Business Solution context. Out of this session, I had the idea of writing what is today my most read post – “Logic Apps x Microsoft Flow – which one should I choose?“.

The Directions session also gave me the opportunity to speak on the same topic on D365 Saturday in Melbourne a month or so later -thanks to the invite of Nadeeja Bomiriya – now with two sessions: one talking about the concepts and another one as a full live demo!

In June I presented a session at Integrate 2018 . I am really proud of presenting on this conference for the second consecutive year, as it is the most prestigious presentation specialized in Microsoft Integration Technologies. This time, I’ve focused on exposing BizTalk Server to the world as HTTP APIs combining BizTalk with various other technologies. It is always great to be part of Integrate, as it is a chance to meet the Microsoft Integration family – from product group to MVPs and all the people that I usually interact over twitter and emails. I feel quite at home there.

During the second half of 2018 I also presented in another two D365 Saturday events, in Auckland and Christchurch, with my buddy Tharanga – this time invited by Rami Mounla, which saw our presentation in Melbourne and thought that would be useful for the attendees in NZ. In both cases, it was a condensed version of the presentation we did in Melbourne, focusing more on the concepts than the live demos. The reception of those presentations were fantastic!

To close the year, in December I’ve presented at the Global AI Bootcamp – invited by Leila Etaati – with an Introduction to Cognitive Services. Again it was something quite interesting and out of my comfort zone, as the topic is not as familiar as Integration. But one more time, the response of this session was quite good! I am really happy I’ve volunteered to this one.

Community Work

Auckland Connected Systems User Group

Since the end of 2017 I’ve officially joined the Auckland Connected Systems User Group (ACSUG) leadership team. One of the goals I set for the group was to have one session every two months. We didn’t quite made it, but we had five sessions, including a very successful Global Integration Bootcamp. Although we didn’t have the number of sessions we aimed, on the other hand we have three new speakers this year. Alessandro Moura, Harris Kristanto and Grant Harmer were new presenters in the Global Integration Bootcamp, and both Alessandro and Harris had new sessions later in the year.

Global Integration Bootcamp

Talking about Global Integration Bootcamp (GIB), ACSUG was again the organizer of the event in Auckland. It was a group effort with me and Craig Haiden leading the charge around logistics and presenters, while Coen Djikgraaf and Mike Howell focusing on the setup and infrastructure. The event was held at the new Datacom facilities in Gaunt Street and had around 40 people attending, with lots of hands on and breakout sessions. Later in the year, I’ve contacted GIB global leadership team and offered my services to help organizing the next events, and was really happy when the team accepted my offer! So this year I will not only organize the local event, but also help to shape the event at a global level!

Integration Downunder

Another group that I’ve joined at the organization level was the Integration Downunder Webcast group. This group was inspired by Integration Monday, which is a great success. But Integration Monday time for the viewers in the APAC region was not as good, usually happening in the early hours of the morning. With the ambitious goal of serve at least three different time zones (Perth, Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane and Auckland),the group, created by Bill Chesnut and composed by Martin Abbott, Renee Brauwers, Dan Toomey and myself, is creating regular presentations every month, which can be watched live or on-demand on our You Tube channel.

MVP Award Program

Thanks to my contributions to the community, the MVP Award Program renew my MVP status for the period between 2018 and 2019. The MVP Award is a big honor for me, as I see it as Microsoft’s recognition of the work we do to expand and improve the community and relationship between end users, companies, advocates and product groups. Being able to help people understand how to make the best of the technologies I use for a living and at the same time help the product group improving the same technologies by providing feedback, either by request or ad hoc is incredibly rewarding!

Being part of a network of peers that have the same goal of improving the community and those technologies is like finding a new “work family”. And I had the chance to experience all of that first hand on my first MVP Summit. I am looking forward to attend it again this year and to continue supporting the community and Microsoft through this program.

Other Activities

Future Now

Through the MVP Award program, I was invited to help manning one of the booths on Future Now, Microsoft’s AI roadshow event, that was held in Auckland 0n 25 October 2018. It was a fun day talking to lots of people about the learning paths for AI and Cognitive Services.

Hour of Code

This is probably one of the most rewarding events I worked on this year. Hour of Code is a week long global event, which aims to expose every kid in every school to one hour of computer science concepts, through a series of activities – catering to both schools with good access to technology, and schools that have less access, with unplugged exercises.

Like last year, I volunteered at Arahoe School and spent 2 days, together with Blanca Mansfield, running sessions for all kids from year 03 to year 06. In the end we’ve probably engaged with over 200 kids over those two days. In the weeks after many of them said they kept working on the activities when we passed by each other in the school yard.

How do I manage to do this?

I am quite privileged to have a great support network that help me to achieve this much:

  • My family, and in special my wife – Monica Silveira, that understands how important the give back to the community is for me. She also runs a community program to foster Portuguese as a Heritage Language for the children of Brazilians living in NZ, so we both have been bitten by the volunteering bug.
  • My company, Theta – and in special Andrew Taylor, my Manager and Rob Lee, our CEO – also understands that all the community work helps me being a better professional and is personally rewarding. Without their buy-in I would not have as many chances to speak internationally or attend some of the bigger events.
  • The various leadership groups – ACSUG, GIB and Integration Downunder – trust enough my work and commitment to let me join their committee, Having a group of people to bounce ideas off to keep improving the user groups and global events as like GIB is really rewarding. I aim to keep performing to the same level they expect from me.
  • The MVP Award program, which gives me the tools and support to keep learning and generating more and more content to support the Microsoft Integration community

To you all, and to the organizers of the events that I had the honour to speak this year, my sincere thank you. I hope I can do all of that and a bit more again in 2019!

So let the fun begin again!!! Happy New Year everyone!

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