Handling Change

So a lot has changed in my life since that darned ole PowerShell Summit 2018. I noticed a post from Don Jones a few weeks after the Summit regarding a full-time position with Pluralsight as a Cloud Author. I inquired about the position, interviewed and viola, I’m now an author for Pluralsight. Pretty crazy. So I want to document what the last few weeks have looked like for an old dog like me.

The Start

The timing worked out where my last day at the college (last contractual day of the academic year) happened to coincide with the first day of employment with Pluralsight. I will be 100% working remotely. Some (in this area) think that would be a challenge, however, I have spent most of my time developing curriculum, writing for MS, and studying for my MBA at home. I am very comfortable with this situation.

So What’s the Rub

I’ve had a routine for 17 years. Teach in fall…Christmas break…teach in spring…summer break. Now, I’m in a position where I will still teach, however, it’s on my own, creating great content with high expectations and to be honest, I’m terrified, yet extremely excited for the new challenge. I know A LOT of folks who think I’m insane, only 10 more years for some healthcare payout for years of service etc. My career is not driven by final outcomes which revolve around checkboxes. It’s about the challenge and this is certainly an excellent challenge.

Breaking up is Hard to do

This is exactly what this felt like. I was actually going to say “it’s not you, it’s me”….which it really was. I was ready for something…well, different, but the same. I loved my time at the college and truly felt I left the program with some great direction based on my nudging over the past few years. They are in good hands and I will still be involved. We NEED more IT folks. I will do whatever I can to help this community/college and I truly believe NWTC is positioned to send some great IT Pros into the industry.

So What’s New?

Everything! New SSO, using G-Suite…just different than being in the public sector for the past 17 years. I don’t have “summers off”…I’m back to full time and I’m totally embracing it, almost to a fault. I feel like I should be 100% productive before onboarding. So what am I doing? Di20180529_205240ving into content, building my workspace…and well, waiting for recording equipment to arrive. Trust me, PS sent high-quality stuff. Rocking a Surface Laptop now! Built a standing work desk (44″) for recording (left) and a sitting desk (right) using birch wood butcher block and black steel pipe. Thanks to Josh Rickard for the inspiration.

Where to now?

So now, it’s a matter for working with my awesome Author Success Manager (ASM-Sean Lowery) and Production Expert (Alex Walton) to get the gear right, project scope identified and start laying down some great stuff we can provide for people looking to level up their IT chops. This is a huge change for an old dog…well, not for the IT space, but compartiviely speaking a lot older than my students. I don’t see a huge issue as I’m still doing what I love to do…developing curriculum and content for others to hopefully ‘fix a thing’, ‘get inspired’ or ‘find a new life’. That’s my motivation. I’m trading the classroom and seeing my students on campus for being to impact a larger scope of people hoping to realize their dreams. #Can’tWait

 

 

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Pre-Post PowerShell Summit Post-Tips/Tricks

Hi folks,

I wanted to get some quick things out before I submit my Summit write up. I’m going distill my takeaways from the sessions I attended and overall experience. But first, I wanted to throw a few quick snippets of some tips and tricks.

Ctrl + R (or S)

This was great tidbit from Adam Murray (@muzzar78) as he was discussing VSTS and gave a great demo on the pipeline. This key combo is a great way to search for keywords within commands throughout your command history…not just session history.  Many of you may say controlR“Duh Teske”…well, a significant handful of people I spoke with were not aware of this functionality and if this helps anyone then I’m glad I shared this. I can totally see utilizing this in my demos because “live” typing in demos is a PITA.

Simply type Ctrl+R, type in your key word(s) of the command and viola…

More to come!

M

PowerShell Summit: Pregame Plan

Last year was my first venture to the conference circuit in more than a decade. Hell, who am I kidding, Windows 2000 was the new kid on the block at the time. So, with a #PSHSummit and #DevOpsCamp under my belt, I’m chomping at the bit to dive into some great sessions, rekindle some friendships, and get to know some more like minded folks.

Mindset

Having not been to a conference in “forever” last go around, I was a bit nervous and was crippled with the “impostor syndrome”…OK, well, crippled may be an exaggeration, however, I was a bit nervous. My mind was quickly put at ease when I started to connect with Summiteers (is that a word) on the @Slack channel. Quickly meeting up with Wes and heading down to a pub (my home away from home) and the rest was a breeze. Keep an open mind, participate on @slack and get involved early and often.

Session Planning

My plan this time is to enjoy the days and hit sessions as they are scheduled. Yes, I wanted to see @mminasi last year but @Delta had other plans. The point is, be fluid and flexible. The sessions I plan to attend this go around will have backup plans, and you know…sometimes the side-sessions or just conversations (quietly) outside the rooms are as valuable as some sessions themselves.

Connections

I was awestruck last year. All the rockstars of the community were there. “Holy sh!t!  There’s Don Jones”, “Wow, Jeff Hicks!”, “Mike F.’n Robbins!” (Mike thought I was nuts when I approached him at the meetup and said just that…Sorry Mike, open bar). Jason Hemlick, @lee_holmes @thedevopsdiva, @techtrainertim…and yes, Jeffery F’n Snover…the man! They are all here and then some. I could list all of them, but it would defeat the point. My point is, they are here, they are human, and most are pretty approachable ;)…they ALL are approachable. Say hi, hug some, and say THANK YOU for all they do. They are my inspiration to blog more, share more and do more in the community.

My best connections were the people I met and didn’t read, follow or whatever. Getting off the plane, I met Bob Dillon…yes, THE BOB DILLON @hag624. Wes Kirkland and I met in the lobby of the hotel via @slack  to head down to the first meetup. Found @titoaldorando then @jbirley and @ryandcoates (cocktails were a plenty). I got to know @dagryphy at @devopscamp in July and we’re in touch often and I consider him a great friend. There are others, and I consider all of these folks great friends, and what’s better, I KNOW I can reach out to all of them and they will respond almost instantly. My point being, these are like minded life-long contacts and better yet, life-long friends. Embrace it.

Summary and Advice

I really need this breakout with some like minded folks to share where I’m at. I’m looking forward to making more great connections, shaking hands and a hug with old friends…oh yeah, and great conversations over some well deserved cocktails. Don’t freak out if you’re not making the sessions. Eat, hydrate and well, repeat. Your brain is your asset and someone paid for this gig so get what you can out of it. To be honest, the contacts I made are invaluable and worth more than the sessions. The sessions were inspirations of what can be done! Brain cramming for an entire week is overwhelming! Hopefully the sessions will be available as recorded. So cultivate the contacts, have fun and get inspired. Some of us our in our own echo chambers, this is your opportunity to drink it all in…literally (my liver will attest). I am looking forward to meeting you! Come say hi!

Best,

Mike

PowerShell Summit 2017-a “Noobies” Reflection

20170409_173808604_iOSI’m not an expert“, “I’m a PowerShell Noob“, “I’m not good dealing with other people“, “Bellevue is far“, “I‘m afraid of @United“,”Will I fit in?“…Don Jones blogged about this very topic. Some of these thoughts went through my mind when deciding whether or not I would put myself out there and attend my first IT related conference since the Windows 2000 launch..yes, that long ago, and yes, I’m that old. I’m not entirely new to PowerShell as described here. I developed and teach a 2 credit introductory PowerShell course at a local 2 year college.

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Hanging with Don Jones!

My goal with this post is to motivate other fellow “Noobs” like myself to put themselves out there, whether it’s contributing in the community forums, asking questions, or even attend that scary PowerShell Summit 2018. The following is just some experiences and takeaways that I wanted to share. I chose to hold before posting this as I wanted to be able to share post Summit communications with the folks I met while at the Summit.

 

Relax

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There will be cocktails!

Breath! This is probably hard for some of the introverted folks out there. Remember, you are going to be with A LOT of like minded people. Don’t be afraid to be honest about where you fall on the skill set chart. Everyone is there to learn, contribute and have fun! It’s pretty much a “judge-free” zone in most respects.

Feed You Brain

The PowerShell.org team did a smart job of providing healthy snacks and meals to keep your brain engaged throughout the conference. Yogurt, trail-mix, protein shots, fruit, wine and beer. The meals are second to none and meet almost all dietary needs/restrictions. You barely touch your per-Diem throughout the conference. Oh yeah, all the Starbucks you can handle (apparently they’re a big deal out there). You need to make sure you are feeding your brain the right stuff so you can digest (pun intended) all the great info. Doughnuts (sugars and carbs) isn’t the right fuel for these sessions.

Relax

See above.

Choose your Sessions Wisely

The sessions were plentiful. I wished I could have cloned myself for Pete’s sake. Most sessions were recorded so you can view online after the Summit. I think it’s important to go with a game plan as the sessions are scheduled and posted on PowerShell.Org in advance. If you’re attending with a colleague…divide and conquer! The variety of topics can seem overwhelming and you may feel it’s above your skill set. It’s not a bad thing to wade out into deeper waters. You’d be surprised what you may pick up. One of my wiselyfavorite components of the Summit were the lightning demos. Some folks are doing some pretty cool things in the ‘Shell, from #VSCode to PowerShell in Linux. Sometimes all it takes is to see what’s possible.

Engage

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Pur and myself at the meetup!

Talk to people. Get on the Slack channel and get to know people before you hit the Summit. It helps break down those social barriers. Yes, you will forget peoples names, they will forget yours, we are human. It’s nothing personal. Ask people what they do? How are they leveraging PowerShell in their environment? Some may be just like myself and are just getting familiar with the “community” and are looking for ideas and ways they can contribute even though they aren’t hard corp “dev/ops” ninjas.

It’s been a couple of months since the Summit and yes, I have had contact with some of the folks I have met out there. From LinkedIn to Twitter as well as the Slack channel. This is a great “networking” opportunity for anyone not just to share knowledge, but who knows, someone may know of an opportunity that may interest you and might get you further down your career path.

GET OUT OF YOUR HOTEL ROOM!!

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My hotel room was a place for me to change clothes, shower and sleep. Period. I was down in the lobby catching up with a group of guys heading for cocktails or dinner. You (or someone) paid for this event so your best bang for your buck is to collaborate and establish connections with people within the community.

Bottom Line

This was a great professional experience for me and would recommend it for anyone. They limit the number of attendees to 250 which makes it a more intimate experience. Most Summiteers attending have been to the HUGE conferences  (Ignite, Build, VMWorld, etc) and all admitted this was by far the best bang for your buck. My goal is to become a regular attendee and contribute as much as I can to the community, whether it’s participating in the forums, organizing a PowerShell Saturday or just helping out and being a DevOps evangelist. Either way, get out there, contribute and be active!

I’m attending the DevOps Camp in July…wading into some pretty deep waters! Wish me luck!

M