2019 – A year in review

Well, it is 31 December 03 January 2020, so it is the official time for a stock take of 2019. I’ve acomplished a lot of things I wanted to do this year, while couldn’t carve time for some other things I would like to do, which I will have to prioritize in 2020. So instead of a long post, here is a list of things I am really proud and things I want to concentrate more:

Things I achieved in 2019 (or my yay moments)

There are some things I am really proud this year:

  • Re-awarded Azure MVP – the culmination of all work done in 2018 and beggining of 2019 was being awarded Azure MVP for another year. Being part of this awesome group of community leaders is always one of the biggest moments of the year.
  • More international speaking opportunities – This year, the total number of sessions I’ve presented (or co-presented) increased from 3 to 6, with two sessions on Directions Asia 2019, one session on Integrate 2019 and 3 sessions in Directions EMEA 2019. It was also the first time me and Tharanga were invited to present at Directions EMEA, which is a great achievement.
  • Spread my contributions accross different areas – My contributions this year although still quite centered in Azure Integration are in many cases on the crossroad with another area. Directions and D365 Saturday sessions co-presented with Tharanga Chandrasekara are based on integration concepts and patterns applied to D365 technologies and the comparison between enterprise integration x power platform integration capabilities. I’ve also presented this year again on Global AI Bootcamp, helping to demystify the Azure Cognitive Services offering.
  • Global Integration Bootcamp Committee member – I’ve joined the committee of the Global Integration Bootcamp in late 2018. I am really proud of the work we do organizing GIB and will try to make it even better in 2020.
  • Integration Downunder Committee member -Integration Downunder, which was created in February 2018 and grow to a collection of 21 webcasts. Quite proud of the team organizing this webcast, and in special of the dedication of Bill Chesnut, which keeps pushing us to add more material every year.
  • Hour of Code 2019 – I’ve organized the Hour of Code 2019 again at Arahoe School. This time with two co-organizers: Blanca Mansfield and Monica Silveira. A total of 17 classes with 25 to 30 children in each class – it was two days of fun and being the third year that we run the event, some of the kids now are quite aware of what it is and were quite excited when we got in the room.

Things I didn’t achieve in 2019 (or my wish list for 2020)

There are some things I want to improve in 2020, which I kind of lost focus because of how busy 2019 end up being:

  • Improve the pace of sessions on ACSUG – The whole team of ACSUG was extremely busy this year on their day jobs, which impacted the pace of sessions we’ve organized. But we’ve recognized the fact that we need young blood to keep this user group strong and added Alessandro Moura to the organization. Our aim is to bring regular meetups again for this year.
  • Expand the activities of Global Integration Bootcamp – just like ACSUG, the Global Integration Bootcamp committee was quite busy on their lives this year, so some of the ideas we had to improve the content and format of the bootcamp couldn’t be implemented this year. We will focus on this in 2020.
  • Mentoring new speakers and community leaders – This was one of the things that was high on my list to start in 2019, even having quite a good brainstorm on how to start this with Shiva Ford, but couldn’t get myself organized to start it in 2019. So this is back on my list of things to do in 2020.
  • Found more time to volunteer at the kids school – 2019 was hectic, so I didn’t get as involved as in previous years at the kids school. One of the things I always wanted to do but never found the time to do it. Ben Chartrand is a big inspiration for that – his tweets about his Code Club is always a delight to read!

I get by with a little help from my…

It is actually a lot of help, but you can’t mess with a classic like that, right? But anyway, there was no way I could achieve that much, in special with the travels and time invested in meetings, user groups and other events, without a bit supporting network. The list is much bigger than this one, but those for people/groups had the biggest impact on my achievements this year:

  • First and foremost my family! My wife and kids are not just proud of what I do for the community, they have my back 100%. They endure me away from home sometimes for almost two weeks in a row, travelling or taking time for sessions on weekends and having to organize my time around conference calls and other things. I am really blessed to have a family that understands how important giving back to your community is. Monica is my inspiration as a community leader with all the work she does as the leader of Brasileirinho NZ – a community group that keeps Brazilian language and culture alive for the families of ex-pats living in NZ.
  • But I wouldn’t go too far without support from work. Thankfully, giving back to community is a core part of Theta’s DNA, so they also support me on my sometimes “globetrotting” agenda. A special thanks to Andrew Taylor, my manager – he is the guy that always have my back even when it is a hard ask.
  • My partner in travels Tharanga! We’ve traveled a lot again this year and presented some amazing sessions going as far as Vienna to present for the first time on Directions EMEA! Co-present is a unique experience and seems like we starting to get quite comfortable with that. Thanks mate!
  • Last but not least The MVP Award program and in special Shiva Ford, our Community Program Manager, which always push us to be not just great technology experts but also good role models and community leaders.

In Summary

This year was crazy busy! I am quite proud of what I’ve achieved in 2019, but I set a lot of goals at the beginning of the year that I was not able to work on. So this post was a good chance to put everything in perspective and make sure that I don’t lose sight of those goals.

But most important was a way to acknowledge publicly all the support network I have that allows me to do all this community work. To them, my heartfelt “Thank you!”.

I know what you did on your holiday…

Today is officially the last day of my holiday in Brazil with the whole family. We spent four weeks between mine and my wife’s home city, visited family and friend, visited some places that I haven’t before even living in the state most of my life and showed the kids some of our favorite spots.

But I also wrote a blog post, submitted five talks to Ignite, participated in to MVP calls, had a couple of meetings with people at work, replied to my work email to prevent projects go the wrong way.

So, at the end of the trip, I started thinking… With so much focus on quality time and really unplugging during your holiday, this days, should I have done that? Did I really enjoyed this trip as much as I should have?

Continue reading “I know what you did on your holiday…”

Integrate 2019 in Review

I was on my flight back from London, returning from Integrate 2019, when I started this blog post. It was a very long flight, around 24 hours each way, but even if the jetlag hit me really hard this time around, it wsa worth it. Integrate grew from an initiative from a group of BizTalk MVPs, into the premier conference for Microsoft Integration technologies. It was my honour to be a presenter for the third year in a row, presenting alongside a Microsoft team comprised of Product Managers, Architects and Engineers – the people that actually design and implement the technologies I use on a daily basis – and legends from the Microsoft Integration community like Sandro Pereira, Steefan Wiggers, Richard Seroter, Michael Stephenson and Kent Weare, just to name a few.

The conference is run by Kovai Co – the company formerly known as BizTalk 360 – as a very well oiled machine. A large team from Kovai dedicate months ahead preparing the conference. This edition of Integrate was the largest yet, with over 480 participants, with 26 speakers and 28 sessions, across 3 days.

If I had to choose one theme from the conference this year, would be governance. Seems like most of the integration related technologies got to a stage where the core set of features are available and companies are using them actively. All that activity highlighted the requirement for better tooling and guidance around various aspects of the governance of the platform. From DevOps guidance to security and bettern integration between on-premises and the cloud, pretty much every product group had recent or new announcements around that theme.

Continue reading “Integrate 2019 in Review”

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…

Continue reading “Looking back on 2018”

Hour of Code 2018

And we did it again! Me and Blanca Mansfield, which run a Python Code Club at the school, ran the Hour of Code 2018 at Arahoe Primary School, working with all classes from Year 3 to Year 6. It is the second time that we run the event at the school.

We’ve managed to do it in 2 days working with different groups of students ranging from 7 to 11 years old. The groups ranged from all year 6 students at once (60 or 70 of them) all the way to a single class of year 3 students. The lessons from last year made the organization much easier, so I didn’t need to prepare as much as I had last year.

Continue reading “Hour of Code 2018”

Treat every Logic App environment as production

This is a cautionary tale… A month or so ago, someone from support asked me why the hell a test environment had spent over a thousand NZD  in Logic Apps actions. My first reaction was “Are you kidding?”… my second reaction was that pit in your stomach feeling when you know something is really wrong, but you don’t know why.

Continue reading “Treat every Logic App environment as production”

And the Cycle Starts Again

Today I’ve received a very special email – the renewal of my MVP Award for the period 2018-2019. Those who had received the award before knows how cherished is the moment that you see the email on your inbox.
The best part of the award is the confirmation that what you are doing is been recognized as having an impact on the community – which is the reason why you do the work in the first place. The renewal shows that you didn’t lose steam, but keep going in the right direction.
But it wouldn’t be a post about the MVP Award, without recognizing the support network behind me that gives me the chance to do all the community contribution I do. Continue reading “And the Cycle Starts Again”

Logic Apps x Microsoft Flow – which one should I choose?

Recently I’ve presented at Directions ASIA 2018 with my good friend and MVP Tharanga Chandrasekara, and I’ve been exposed to a “new world” – the Business Solutions world! Coming from and enterprise integration background, I usually tend to gravitate around the enterprise integration tools and lately iPaaS offering, so my initial reaction to integration will always be BizTalk Server / Logic Apps. But Microsoft Flow had evolved to be quite a reasonable option – and I would say probably the first option for integration within the Office 365 / Dynamics 365 consultants, since it gives you almost the same level of functionality that Logic Apps would give – no surprises here, since behind the scenes they are actually the same engine. Continue reading “Logic Apps x Microsoft Flow – which one should I choose?”

Global Integration Bootcamp 2018 – Auckland Recap

Last Saturday, 24/03/2018, the second edition of the Global Integration Bootcamp (GIB) was on full swing around the globe, with 15 locations across 10 countries sharing a full day of hands on labs and breakout sessions, highlighting the latest and greatest that Microsoft integration technologies have to offer.

As in the first edition, Auckland kicked off the show. And we did it justice! There was around 35 or so people sharing our experiences and learning from each other in the new Datacom facilities at Gaunt Street. The breakout sessions covered a wide range of topics, from Event Grid to Data Factory. We had also a great line-up of presenters, a mix of recurring ACSUG presenters and new faces, which made the event even more special. Continue reading “Global Integration Bootcamp 2018 – Auckland Recap”

Integration Down Under

Integration Down Under is a brand new Microsoft Integration & Azure webcast, in an APAC friendly time zone! And that is an idea that have been simmering for a long time.

We all love Integration Monday, one of the most successful MS Integration webcasts ever, but it was always a recurring joke between the AU/NZ integration professionals who would have to wake up the earliest to be able to watch. So, for a while now, we’ve been discussing how nice would be to have a similar webcast in a time slot that didn’t require lots of caffeine and an alarm clock setup to early in the morning, just to enjoy live…

Then earlier this year Bill Chesnut rallied the troops and brought together a group of Microsoft Azure MVPs – Daniel Toomey, Martin Abbot, Rene Brawuers and myself – to start this project. After a couple of crazy nights furiously discussing details and logistics – social media, logo, topics, among lots of other things – we’ve settled for an inaugural meeting on the 8th Feb, which will kick off the webcast with a series of lightning talks. Here is a taste of what you can expect on the first webcast:

  • Bill Chesnut – API Management REST to SOAP
  • Martin Abbott – Azure Data Factory v2.
  • Wagner Silveira – Azure Functions Proxy
  • Dan Toomey – Azure Event Grid
  • Rene Brauwers – A reactive integration primer

You can register for the webinar here, thanks to SixPivot, which is kindly providing the Webinar facility.

So please join us on the 8th, and let us know what you think, what topics you are interested in hearing more next and how can we improve more and more!