Six months as a Microsoft MVP
Six months ago, on the 1st of March 2017 I opened my inbox late in the evening and was shocked to see that I had an email from Microsoft stating that I had been awarded an enterprise mobility MVP award. Little did I think earlier that day when looking on Twitter that I would be part of the #MVPBuzz storm that was happening, in fact I had to read the email a couple of times to allow it to sink in.
My path towards becoming an MVP started with my first blog back in 2013. The aim was to find solutions to the various issues I was facing in my every day environment. As many of us know when dealing with IT systems issues, it is all too easy to fix an issue and find yourself in a similar situation months later and trying to remember what was done in the past. I quickly found that having a blog to post solutions and share with others became a great outlet to get in touch with other members of the community.
In 2014 I attended my first big tech conference, the final TechEd in Houston, Texas. This was an eye opener for me and allowed me to interact with Microsoft product engineers and MVP’s directly, and also allowed me to pick an area of focus. Systems deployment and management for me was always the most interesting and rewarding parts of my job, having watched sessions from deployment experts such as Johan Arwirdmark and Mikael Nystrom it opened my eyes to the possibilities both inside and outside of the base product.
Getting Serious About Scripting & Blogging
Skipping forward to 2016 and together with a good friend of mine and seasoned IT pro, Terence Beggs, we founded a new blog site called DeployEverything.com. The blog was primarily focused around Systems Center Configuration Manager but also offered tips and tricks for Office365, Azure, Hyper-V and more.
Having a modest goal of 50k unique visitors in the first twelve months, we managed to reach this within just five which was something completely unexpected. This was without a doubt a great achievement and the community really got behind the site.
In February of 2017 we decided to join forces with newly awarded MVP Nickolaj Andersen to merge content and all blog under the existing SCConfigMgr.com domain. The goal here was to become one of the top sites for SCCM content. Over the next few months traffic doubled, reaching an average of 80k unique visitors per month.
Over this time I developed one of the tools I’m probably known best for, the Driver Automation Tool. This tool has become a bit of an obsession for me to continuously tweak and improve, all of which is done by direct feedback from SCCM admins around the world, so thank you for your input.
What does being an MVP for me mean?
Being a Microsoft MVP for me is all about community involvement. Through gathering insights into the Microsoft products that excite me, and talking to software and hardware partners I can better offer content and solutions for SCCM admins. I will always endeavour to help out community groups and individuals, just as I have been helped in the past by other MVP’s.
I don’t at all rest upon the fact that I have managed to get this award but I appreciate the recognition of the long hours spent to get here. I am both proud and humbled by getting to this point.
What challenges does it bring?
The challenges the MVP award brings are time and commitment. When you have a wife and three young children you need to balance this carefully, so I would like to thank my wife for allowing me to spend far too much time on my laptop and phone!
Thank you to everyone that helped me along this path, including my fellow bloggers & friends Terence Beggs & Nickolaj Andersen, Microsoft and the people that nominated me for the award. My employer (Thornton Group) are also a big part of this, allowing me to dedicate time to self-improvement and community events.