A year ago feels like a long time. It also feels like an incredibly short time. 2021 was the first year I spoke at Microsoft Build and having spoken at Ignite three times previously getting to another one of the big four felt like such an achievement. Of course it turned out to be as great as you would expect. I participated in several sessions. I did a blog. Knowing me I probably also got involved in a few AMA's at the time. Yet when these things come around annually it feels a bit like a birthday. You reflect. You look at how far you've come. At least I do. And what I have found in the last few days is that whilst much has remained the same: as in me being flat out; Vesku being the biggest Metaverse fan I know; and Deltinger still speaking about channels in some form out on the circuit, much has also changed. Firstly, Build is hybrid this year. That's right. Whilst much of the content will be digital and consumable online there will be regional spotlights which are in-person events held at the Microsoft HQ's in those countries. So this is not just a return to Build. This will be the first in-person event I have spoken at since Commsverse - and I don't mean the one at Mercedes Benz world I am talking about the original event which was held at the Microsoft Store in Oxford Circus about a month before we all went into lockdown. Secondly, it's been quite a year in terms of my personal life. I was hospitalized with Covid. I narrowly avoided burnout and one of my best friends and biggest supporters - my dad - recently passed away from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). So I very much feel like I am coming into this one older. More weathered. Finally, Teams Nation came to an end this year. Vesku and I felt like we had taken it through to its logical conclusion and wanted to go out on a high. I guess aggregating all these things together - plus the fact that we are living in such interesting times means that I am looking forward to Build more than I did last year. Much more. You know, I just want to go there stay up in Reading for a few days and just have fun with people who genuinely want to make the world better. Now whether you are joining it virtually, or have the opportunity to attend in person I could go on about Build being the bellwether and all that. I could reiterate what I said in the blog last year. But really? Come and have fun. Let's get behind the makers. My father had such a passion for carpentry that he used to say that when he retired he would do it full time. And he did. And you know what? It brought him so much joy. I love you dad.
To all our friends, Over the past three years, we have come together to share our passion about Microsoft Teams. From a small event of just over 20 speakers and 400 attendees, we grew to become the largest online community conference dedicated to Microsoft Teams in the world
I was writing up an answer in the Microsoft Tech Community today when it struck me that Teams is nearly 5 years old. That's right - 5 years! Nearly as old as my son. Yet apart from feeling like time has gone by inexplicably fast - as you so often do as a parent, I also felt two things really brought home the fact that I am still incredibly invested in it. One - I still feel the best is yet to come: that even after five years of maturation we all know it can still be so much more than it is. And two, the longer I work with Teams the less I find myself concerned with the flash and more about the fundamentals; those little vital things which make it better to use on a day to day basis
Like Inspire earlier this year; this Ignite will be my 4th. Having just got back from surviving Covid I don't mind admitting to you that I'm completely unprepared this time around. I wish I could tell you differently. Yet if I had said something different a.) I'd be lying and b.) that's really the reality when you are out of the loop for a month working in cloud. Saying that; I am actually looking forward to this Ignite probably more than any other since it's been held virtually. Why? We are going to hear a lot about Teams, about Collaborative Apps and Fluid. We are going to hear more on Windows 11 and Windows 365. We are going to hear more on Viva and probably the recent acquisition of Ally.io. We'll hear about the new Stream and how it continues to evolve, more about new devices and form factors, and a slew of new features for the Power Platform which will continue to fuel its prodigious growth. We'll see how Yammer is changing and how SharePoint is being fused increasingly with teams, yet at the same time broken apart and siloed into apps as it's services are pulled through. But you know, we are going to hear the word Hybrid most of all. It's going to be used in this event like never before. And it'll be used alongside resilience, and agility, and analytics, and zero trust. We may even hear more about that new kid on the block digital optimism. So why am I so interested in all this? Rather than just about the tech? As an event organiser myself I am always interested in fleshing out the narrative: the overall story of the conference which binds all these subjects and sessions together. Well, if you've been around and followed what Microsoft's been up to during the course of the pandemic then that narrative hasn't really changed all that much. It been coming to fruition, playing out, following the script to use idioms. Cast yourself back to Judson Althoff's session at Inspire 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic it was about being first responders; it was all about survival. As we meandered through the pandemic and the lockdowns it was about supporting recovery. Now its time for the the third act. As vaccine development has helped us begin to manage Covid and countries and economies start opening up it's now about the reimagining and the rebuilding. And what that constitutes is what Microsoft is doubling down on. Hybrid. Hybrid which posits that a.) we are going to go through something like this or something similar again and b.) Something that is almost inevitable given our experiences during the past 2 years. But you know, it's not a particularly earth shattering or revolutionary insight. Most of us know or have personally experienced that some people want to work alongside others in person or have to because of their roles. We also know that some people want to work from home as it benefits their personal life or their views on - for example - sustainability. Again, we also know others want a mix of both. So in fairness many of us didn't need Covid or the experience of it for what we already knew. Yet, the why as in why Microsoft is going all in on Hybrid? Its because for them it represents the greatest opportunity. Hybrid is the greatest opportunity for mitigating what we've all just been through. It's the greatest opportunity for creating a permanent change to the way that we work, and for real meaningful social change. But let's not forget too: hybrid represents the greatest return on their investment for what they have been investing in for many years. And don't forget - it what's going to keep us all in the job as technicians; it's where Microsoft is focusing their innovations
I've been away from the community for what feels like a long time. Of course, I say a long time but in reality its only really been a month. On Monday 23rd August I woke up as I usually do around 7am feeling completely out of sorts; and two days later having taking two lateral flow tests and spending most of the previous 48 hours in bed both of them confirmed what I was anticipating. I had contracted Covid-19. Since returning to work last week a few people have asked what my experience was like. By experience they mean what was it like to get a severe case of Covid-19 and be hospitalized by the disease? How bad was it? Because after all its been well documented that you can have Covid-19 and not experience any symptoms at all. On the other hand I am sure most of us are aware of the huge number of global deaths resulting from this disease since the pandemic began. John Hopkins shows it being well on it's way to about 5 million people