I am now a Microsoft MVP

A few weeks ago, I was awarded the Microsoft MVP award. The MVP award is recognition for the community work I perform in teaching people about different software development subjects using Microsoft tools, such as .NET and Azure.

To get the award, I had to be nominated by another MVP. Once the nomination happened, I was invited onto a website where I had to detail everything I had done community wise over the past 12 months. My community contributions include user group and conference talks, open-source contributions, free workshops, and co-running a software development user-group.

It is a big honour to receive the award, and I am very grateful to be nominated and to receive it. Recipients of the award get many benefits, including access to all Microsoft software to use for free, credits to use towards our Azure subscriptions, access to training through Linkedin Learning, Xamarin University, and many other benefits. We also get a beautiful glass statue award and a framed certificate to display in our offices. The one advantage I am looking forward to, though, is attending the MVP Summit at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond next March. At the summit, all the MVPs get together, and Microsoft tells us what they are working on. Because of this, we have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement so that we don’t release any information early. It’s great that we get to see what’s coming and have some feedback into the process by talking directly to the teams building the software.

On my daughter’s request, I made a YouTube unboxing video of the award. According to her, as a 10-year-old YouTube expert, no-one reads blogs, and I need to do an unboxing video. You can see above if you are interested in seeing what comes in the award box.

MVP awards are reassessed every year. To keep getting the award benefits, I have to continue doing what I am doing by helping people in the software development community. I think this should be easy to do as I love teaching people. I feel I have always had a skill for taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand, which is why I do well-produced training for Pluralsight.

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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Four years ago, my friend and I got leadership jobs in the same international company. The work was interesting and paid well. Often, our immediate boss appointed my friend to lead us in departmental tasks. My friend didn’t like that and complained about the responsibilities she’d been given, though she received praise for her work.

Nevertheless, my friend continued to insist that she was unhappy with the work, and even went so far as to say that she thought her leadership was a fraud and would be noticed one day. She claimed that some of us were more qualified and therefore should be doing the work instead. One time, she actually asked our boss, point blank, to remove her from a leadership role, stating that she didn’t feel qualified to lead this particular team. That very move, acknowledging her weaknesses, made her a leader in many eyes, but she still didn’t see it.  She just wasn’t aware of her competent leadership and result-oriented management. 

For one particular task, my friend did endless research and spent hours coming up with strategies. On consecutive mornings, we would find her in the office, compiling presentations. That moment spurred me to do some research and learn more about her mindset. What was driving her to think this way? Maybe I could help her learn to feel more self-confident in her abilities.

What I found was fascinating! I stumbled upon a psychological problem known as “Imposter Syndrome.” I studied various types, as well as strategies on how to overcome it. Later, I shared all my results with my friend and she had a significant breakthrough, learning to own her abilities and putting them to good use which much less fear.The following post details the information found during my research. I believe that the post here will go a long way to helping you better understand Imposter Syndrome. Furthermore, you will understand how it appears in different personality types and will learn how to cope with it.

Pluralsight Blockchain Webinar

Earlier in the year I did a live Pluralsight webinar to about 700 people talking about what a Blockchain is? Why you would want to use one? The differences between a Blockchain and a Database and other interesting facts about the technology.

The recording of that Webinar is now available to watch on YouTube.

If you are interested in learning more about Blockchain from either a high level executive briefing standpoint or more as a software developer and architect, then I have the following courses available at Pluralsight.

State of Blockchain : Executive Briefing

Blockchain : Principles and Practices

New Courses at Puralsight

I have been very busy recently making new courses for Pluralsight and I am delighted to say I have just released two of them over the past week. The first course is called, Executive Briefing: State of Blockchain. This couse is a little different to the normal content on Pluralsight in that it is a short filmed course as opposed to screen casts and demos. 

The idea of this course is to teach information to tech leaders and C level execs quickly as they won’t normally have time to sit and watch long courses. My course is all about blockchain where I talk about what it is, why you would need it, potential use cases. I also run through a matrix of questions about whether a blockchai is suitable for your company and the key differences between a blockchain and a database.

This course was good fun to produce as I had to setup all the lighting and camera myself aswell as record good audio. This is much harder than you think with getting the lighting right to reduce glare from the computer screen and my glasses. I am really pleased with the results though.

Asynchronous Messaging with RabbitMQ and EasyNetQ

Accessing Rabbit MQ from .NET Core on the Apple Mac

The second course I have released this week is a more traditional Pluralsight course called, Asynchronous Messaging with RabbitMQ and EasyNetQ. This course is about the RabbitMQ messaging platform and how to use it with the EasyNetQ client library. The course is aimed at C# developers using .NET Core or the .NET Framework, and it will get them up and running and productive very quickly as it is very demo focused. 

This course works as a great companion to my other course, RabbitMQ by Example, which builds up the same sample application scenario but using the much more complicated RabbitMQ client library. If you want to compare the default client library to the EasyNetQ client library, then both courses will give you that information. If you just want to make your life easier and go straight to EasyNetQ, then this course contains everything you need. 

Flexispot E2B Sit / Stand Desk and Getting Healthier

Since I have been working for myself I have been trying to make sure I get more exercise by walking more. The problem though is that I then go to an office and sit down for 8 hours which is not good for you. To remedy this I decided to invest in an electric sit-stand desk so that I can make sure I stay more active during the day.

In this video, I talk about my new desk and the reasons for getting it.

If you are interested in the desk I got, then the details are here.

Flexispot E2B Sit / Standing Desk Frame

https://amzn.to/2PRPXw4

Flexispot Standing Desk Top

https://amzn.to/2wrDOGi

Flexispot Anti Fatigue Mat

https://amzn.to/2NymBkM

 

Ultra Small Mobile Writing Rig

For my job, I tend to travel a lot to conferences. When I am away I like to get as much work done as I can, but sometimes it isn’t really appropriate to get my laptop out, for example on a smaller airplane, train or in a restaurant; but in those times I like to get some work done like answering emails or drafting blog posts. To make these times more efficient, I have developed my little wiring rig that uses my phone, a copy of the Ulysses Writing App and the excellent Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard which allows me to be productive, yet more discreet or in smaller spaces when traveling.

Mobile Writing Rig using the Ulysses Writing App and the Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard.

The keyboard itself is very thin, even when folded which means it takes up hardly any space when packed in my laptop bag. It’s not the best typing experience as it takes a little getting used too, but it is indeed very workable. You can pair the keyboard with Windows, Android and Apple IOS devices which gives you a lot of flexibility. I pair it with an iPhone and an iPad. I don’t usually take the Apple Keyboard with me for the iPad when I travel as it makes the device quite thick in my bag, so I think this is a better solution for occasional typing; this setup has helped me remain productive when using a laptop isn’t easy to do.