MVP for Another Year

With 2012 in the rear view mirror, I am very optimistic about 2013. Those of you who know me personally know that 2012, particularly the first few months, was very difficult for me. Though my business continues to be very successful and shows no sign of slowing down, I suffered personal losses that impacted me deeply. You can never prepare for loss, no matter how you try, though with the support and caring of my friends and family, my wife in particular, we “rebooted” the second half of 2012 and landed on our feet. It is with that reboot in mind that I am looking forward to 2013.

Community and People

For the 7th time I was greeted by an email from Microsoft congratulating me as a SharePoint MVP. As each year draws to a close I can’t help but wonder if I have done enough to be renewed. I have to admit that I enjoy the MVP Community in general and specifically my great colleagues in the SharePoint MVP Community. The folks I communicate with daily on topics technical and organizational impress the hell out of me. I choose to do business with people I trust (and by extension who they trust) and this has made a huge impact in how well I sleep at night. I am a Director at Aptillon, Inc.. I am in business to help people be better at what they do. The guys I work with at Aptillon are too. I also teach for Critical Path Training. Now you know why, they are great, talented, trustworthy folks who really care about quality delivery.

Upgrade and Improve

I love to teach. This goes directly to my passion to help people be better at what they do. Most of you know I teach SharePoint 2010 Administration for Critical Path Training. I have been teaching that class for SharePoint 2010 for over 2 years, we’re now adding the upgraded class for SharePoint 2013. What’s new is that I’ve started teaching SharePoint Designer classes (officially titled: Creating No-Code SharePoint Designer Solutions for SharePoint 2010) If you have seen any of my Search presentations, you know I love working with the SharePoint User Interface customizing search center results and BCS Profiles. This class is a natural extension of my passion for creating great supportable solutions in SharePoint. The side benefit, that I can admit now, is I have learned a TON as I learned to teach this class.

Passion, Applied

Beyond SharePoint, I have several other passions. I wear these passions on my sleeve, which, I believe, is where your passions belong. My wife, Mary Jane, and I are dog people. We compete in Dog Agility and enjoy the sport, the people and the connection we forge with our “Golden Girl” Ruby. She has recently completed her novice titles in AKC Agility and we’ll be working on Open titles in 2013. Photography has long been a passion of mine since I first started shooting in 4th grade (somewhere there is an Super 8mm film of my take on Candid Camera). I spent much of my free time shooting or processing my film in a darkroom that I built in my parents house. In Junior High I purchased my first 35mm camera and in High School I received my first methodical instruction in the craft. I had an amazing instructor and to this day am grateful for his attention and constructive criticism. Fast forward to recent history and I have once again upgraded my gear. I was lucky to be offered a speaking engagement at TechEd Africa in 2011. This was an amazing opportunity to go “On Safari” and use my skills as a photographer. What I am learning now, is how to “Develop” my images after I finish the shoot. This is the part about “Upgrade and Passion” that I am eager to survive. We live in an amazing time where technology is not the only advancement, but you can learn literally ANYTHING in the comfort of your own home. In my case I am learning how process my photos to restore them to what my eye saw when I made the image.

I am taking on a few small projects to help challenge me, for example, my buddy Jimmy recently retired and took up his passion, lutherie. (Don’t worry, I didn’t know that was Guitar Making either.) I am shooting the production photos for his forthcoming site and helping him with managing his brochures. This has been a wonderful creative outlet for me. Mary Jane and I are also culling through the massive catalog of photos that I shot in Africa with the goal of picking a few of the best for framing. Relearning how to take a photo from concept to print in the digital age is pretty cool. I am relying heavily on Safari Books Online and Kelby Training. I discovered Scott Kelby’s books shortly after I got my camera. He decreased the learning curve for me and continues to educate and improve my techniques.

What’s Next

None of this means I am stepping back from SharePoint, quite the opposite. My travel plans for the first few months of 2013 so far include New Hampshire, London, Ireland and San Francisco (with a side trip to Sonoma and Monterey). I plan to use the SharePoint trips to support my desire to improve my photography (which I’ll post here as I go).

I’ll keep teaching and learning and hope you do too! Happy New Year!

|| MVP

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