Leaving 2018. Next stop - 2019.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post a lot these last few days. The classic “end-of-year” post that most everyone does, but this one has turned out to be rather special for me. At the same time it is kind of scary, as when I look back on what I’ve done and accomplished this year, I realize how much it actually is - and how much I have actually chosen *not* to do. 2018 was the year I decided to step up my speaking game for real. I had spent 2016 and 2017 polishing my skills and sending abstracts to what felt like every conference there was. In 2016 I spoke at two conferences, both in Sweden. In 2017, the number rose to 3 - still in Sweden. 2018 saw that number go up a bit - 22 events, of which took me to 10 countries and 19 cities. Two events I managed to do right from home - a good thing as they were in Victoria, Canada and Saõ Paolo, Brazil. With them I validated that my technical setup at home is up to par for delivering quality sessions over the internet as well. I’ve made many, many, many new friends and acquaintances. The sheer number of amazing people in the community is absolutely mind-boggling. Thank you for letting me play in your sandbox. I finished my first Pluralsight course. That was way more work than I had expected, and it will be a while before I do my next one. They are a great company to work with. I helped organize a conference - the Global Azure Bootcamp event in Linköping, Sweden. We became the largest GAB in Sweden, despite being brand new (and several of us having no real clue how to organize things). I switched roles at work - I went from being a full-time consultant to something different. These days I focus on presale, training and new opportunities, all in order to scale up the pool of skill we have at Atea. I still do technical consulting, but as the time for that is strictly limited, this has made the things I’m actually called in to do way more interesting (and challenging!) as people know I’m not the right tool for whatever data related job that happens to come their way. In October I was awarded the Data Platform MVP, something I did not see coming. I coveted the title, as I would think most people in this field does, but I was not expecting it. The MVP has meant a lot to me, in so many ways. It has changed me in a lot of ways as well, but perhaps not in the ways that people would think. I’ve tried to write a post about that a few times, but it hasn’t quite matured yet. More about that in a future post. Simon and I produced some 38 episodes of the podcast, and we’re slowly finding our feet. Who knew that doing a podcast could be that difficult?

So, yeah - 2018 has been … hectic.

While I don’t regret doing any of the above, I realize that in order to do them, I have had to skip other things. I have been away from home over 50 nights. That is 50 nights I have not spent with my wife or the cats. I have not had the time to work on my droid as I had hoped. I had to step down as the Commanding Officer for the 501st Legion: Nordic Garrison. I haven’t had a “normal” weekend since January as I’ve always been working on sessions, travelling or doing something else work-related. It is important to consider that everything has a price. I am exceptionally fortunate in that I have a wife that is both supportive but at the same time not accepting any bullshit. In the end, it comes down to choice. I chose to do these things. The choices are mine, as are the consequences, but having Tove at my side has made things infinitely easier. Would I do them again? Good question, more about that later.

I move into 2019 with four conferences, one course and two trips to the US already booked before midsummer. I’m moving more and more towards Power BI, which means producing new sessions and content. More events and opportunities are sure to arise. Simon and I have launched a rather huge project at work to raise Azure and Microsoft 365 literacy among the consultants, something that will mean more training and more assisting other consultants. I’ve become the co-organizer of the Swedish Power BI Usergroup and I will try to host a few events in both Stockholm and Malmö. Not only have Simon and I revamped the Knee-deep in Tech website, we will do a new attempt at recording video to go with the podcast too - as well as doing webinars. If you think doing a podcast is hard, try video. That is a whole new level of crazy. Luckily I have the most amazing friends who know a lot more about video than we do on hand to help. We’ve agreed to produce more blog content as well - there will be one post at least once a week, and we’re thinking of extending the Knee-deep in Tech family with one, maybe two more people. Going back to the question of doing it again. I’m not sure I would, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve learned so much about myself and I am a much better person for it. Having said that, the price I’ve paid has been steep, perhaps steeper than I would have preferred. Again, it all comes down to choice - I chose to do what I did and I do not try to put that on anyone else. I also choose my way forward, and while 2019 might look like a madhouse from the outside (and, to be fair, rather much from the inside as well), I’ve already put on the brakes. I no longer shoot abstracts to everyone and their cat, and as soon as I have my sessions up and running things will settle down quite a bit. The days of working 40-ish hours a week are long gone and won’t be coming back, but this is my choice. 2019 will be an intensive year for sure, but I have every intention of making it a smarter, smoother year. I wrap this post up with a reading tip: “The subtle art of not giving a f*ck” by Mark Manson. One of the most important books I’ve read in a long time.

I wish each and every one of you a happy new year. Buckle up, as we’re leaving 2018 and 2019 promises to be quite a ride…