Just a quick post to celebrate that Microsoft gave me MVP Award number 18 today!!
At some level I was kind of expecting not to get an award this year. I didn’t attend any events, so I didn’t do any public speaking. My contributions are my daily participation in our Twitter community, and this here blog that you are reading right now.
Attending events is VERY expensive, and throughout my career this has always been paid by the company that I worked for. Now that I am back to freelancing, I no longer have the sponsoring to pay for travel and event tickets. Some people think that speakers get paid handsomely but I’m here to tell you that these days you are lucky if you get a discount on the ticket price. Besides the cost of travel and attendance, being at an event also means that you’re not working. As a freelancer that adds up real quick, so I decided not to attend events.
The main reason though why I was thinking that I may not get another award is that the latest new group of MVPs are incredibly prolific content creators. Not only do they produce an incredible amount of content, but they have also set the bar SUPER HIGH with the quality of their content.
Given the company that I am in with all of my fellow MVPs, it makes me feel very warm and fuzzy that those contributions are deemed worthy to give me another award. Thank you Microsoft for the recognition, and thanks to everyone in our community for making me feel like I belong.
There are SO MANY resources to learn about BC and AL development out there. Some of the best of them are totally For Freeeee!! As I always like to point out: free is in everybody’s budget. Today I noticed a video that popped up in my YouTube timeline. It was a video that I had recorded a few years ago, and I noticed that it had more than 30K views! Just an unreal number, and I want to share the story about these videos.
Back in 2018 I was one of the owners of a well-known company (I’m gonna keep the name out of this post for personal reasons). We were working closely with Microsoft on the cutting edge of all the new technologies. We had developed the material for a number of workshops, and we all traveled to a bunch of different places all over the world to teach NAV people the intricacies of the new technology stack, new processes in the channel, and the philosophy that would become the path that we are now all traveling. Chances are that if you attended any event that was organized or sponsored by Microsoft, you have attended one of our workshops.
At some point, we were stretched quite thin. There were more requests for these workshops than we had staff to hold them. Microsoft then came up with the brilliant idea to record our workshops and create a series of videos that would be made available on PartnerSource.
We created a Very. Long. List. of topics, and the word came in from Microsoft: start creating content! The task of actually creating the videos fell to me, because of my demeaner during in-person classes and my pleasant baritone voice *ahem*. The truth is that most of my co-owners thought this would be a terribly tedious task, and I was the only one that was actually excited to record all of this material. Also, I had a LOT to learn and this was a perfect opportunity to do just that. As far as I’m concerned, this was by far the coolest project I had ever taken on in my professional career. It was explained to me that Microsoft would provide the content, and all that I had to do was record the videos.
It would take a whole series of posts to tell the stories of creating the content, so let me just summarize. Despite assurances from one of my co-owners, nobody at Microsoft knew about the expectation that they would provide ANY sort of content, other than meeting with me to briefly discuss the outline of the content and providing answers to questions. For a number of topics we had some content from short presentations at various events, but none of it was nearly good enough to make it into the videos. As it turned out, I had to create most of the material from scratch. A LOT of willing and eager Microsoft people spent a very limited time with me to first explain the basics and then go over the results of my material before I recorded it.
Let me just make one thing very clear. I enjoyed every single minute of the process of creating and recording the material. It was an absolute joy to work with every single person from the BC team, many of whom had to endure completely ignorant questions from me. I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to work with each and every one of them. I could not have done any of this without their help.
Over the course of 6-7 months, I created more than 20 hours of videos. The topics range from a condensed version of our 2-day AL Development workshop, to videos about how to get your app into AppSource, to automated testing, to source code management. Picked up a bunch of skills that I still benefit from today. It really was one of the best projects of my career.
The Academy That Never Was
The initial idea was that Microsoft would create some sort of ‘academy’ that would be accessible in PartnerSource. Partners would pay a fee for to provide training to their staff, of which our company would receive a percentage. All good with us, because there were BIG plans for the ISV Development Center, so we didn’t think we would have much more time to do in-person workshops anymore anyway.
Soon it became clear that this academy was not going to happen. There were calls from partners that they would not want to pay for this, since they never had to pay to attend any in-person events. At some point about half the videos were done, most of the material for the rest was ready to record, and the question was to continue recording or to stop the project.
There was talk of putting the videos on PartnerSource but not behind a paywall, which just made no sense to me at all. Most developers that I know don’t even have access to PartnerSource, so they would never even see it. Besides, if you are going to provide this content for free, why not just put all of it on YouTube? Just upload it to the public and let anyone that wants to learn all the skills that you need to make it as an AL developer. Once I heard that the content was going to be made available for free, I went all in and talked to anyone that wanted to listen that it should be made available publicly.
It’s been almost four years since I created these videos. Still today, every once in a while, videos from this playlist show up in my YouTube timeline, like today. It just struck me that this video had 30K (thirty THOUSAND!!!) views. I was just so surprised about how many people have watched videos that I created. Thinking about all the people that have learned these skills, partly as a result of listening to me explain them. It just makes my head spin.
There are two things about these videos that I take full credit for. First, since I was responsible for the content, I had decided that I wanted to make proper full-length videos. Not condensed summary videos with the high level view of the topic, but deep down detailed videos with ALL the information that you need to execute on that topic.
The second things is getting the content into YouTube. The project manager told me that my relentless lobbying to every person in the BC team was a key factor in getting them to put these videos on YouTube. I was paid to create the videos but getting them to YouTube was totally done with a community spirit. This is by far the most impactful contribution I have ever made to the BC community, one that I am extremely proud of.
Microsoft published their new Shopify connector today. It’s great to see them invest resources into what is hopefully the gold standard of integrating with these external services. However, I have serious doubts about whether this is such a good idea.
ISV Partner Channel
In the runup to having BC in the cloud, the story was that the partner channel should refocus their efforts into becoming ISV’s. Rather than one-time bespoke systems for individual customers, they want the partner channel to create extensions that could be used by the masses.
This was (is?) a logical continuation of their story of verticalization that we had heard throughout the past two decades. In itself nothing that I don’t agree with. I too think that having re-usable extensions in a marketplace is a solid way to go. Microsoft’s argument was that they need to focus on the base product, a core set of functionalities. The partner channel would then be free to add functionality, to extend the base product.
There’s Just a Tiny Thing…
One thing that caught my ear was a statement that said that Microsoft does not want to provide specific, industry focused expertise. They said they have no interest to build integrations with external systems. Rather than having Microsoft provide integrations or other specialized functionalities, they would leave this up to the partner channel. There could be an ACME Rockets integration created and supported by an ISV, or even by ACME themselves.
Great soundbite showing great potential, and it sold well. Many partners listened to Microsoft and started creating lists of functionalities that they have know-how for. Many VARs dove right into their inventory of “add-ons” with the intent to turn those around into the next AppSource apps.
I know personally of three separate partners that have invested a lot of time and money into developing Shopify integrations. All three of those partners are LIVID with Microsoft today. The promise was that Microsoft would stay out of this type of functionality, and today’s release is one of an unknown number of apps that we will see come out of Microsoft.
Besides the fact that Microsoft is now on the hook for maintaining this app, they have effectively cut off the potential from the ISV channel. Their work in progress as essentially turned into a big fat tax write-off.
Two out of those three partners had already been looking at alternatives to their NAV/BC practice, and I can’t say that I blame them. Licenses are no longer capital investments. Margins are going down with lower subscription fees, so you can no longer afford to focus on smaller businesses as clients. Having to go through a primary CSP means that you have to share what little margin remains. The stack has become much more complex, so you have to hire experts for everything.
One of the last things that are left is to develop your own IP and publish on AppSource. Would you decide to invest in new products if there is a real chance that Microsoft is working on the same thing?
Personally, I think Microsoft is making a huge mistake by creating this type of app. I am not sure if they are capable of taking on the support, and that they will be maintained properly. I am also doubtful about the cooling effect this will have on the partner channel’s willingness to invest in new products.
Most important though is that I am just flabbergasted that they prioritized something like this, when there are SO MANY things still left to improve in the base product.
As I am writing this I am struggling to find a good way to finish this post, I’m clearly not done thinking about this. Let me know in the comments what you think.
2019 has been a very difficult year for me on a personal level, in fact the most difficult I can remember. I just got back last week from spending 5 weeks in Holland, and I finally feel like I can put some of my thoughts into words and share what I’ve been through this past year. I’ve been almost invisible on this blog because I’ve had other, more important, things on my mind. Whether I can find back my enjoyment of writing about things or not will determine if I will start writing again. Right now I feel very empty, and I have no desire to write at all.
I am at heart a very private person and don’t really want to show my inner most thoughts (ha! funny if you look at how long this post is). On the other hand, I feel like I want to write about it, because it might help to deal with it that way. I’m sorry if I ramble on, I just wanted to get this off my chest.
A Good Start is Half the Work
The year 2019 started with three big ones. First, I’m going through some medical stuff related to my lungs, and January 3 was the first of MANY tests and visits to a long list of doctors throughout the year. Initially it looked like it could be very serious, but fortunately I have no life threatening condition, and I’m expected to recover completely (well for the most part).
Second, we were trying to deal with a personal family matter that involves one of the most important people in my life. I am so SO happy to say that this situation has been resolved for the most part, but during the first half of the year it was not certain that this would be possible. Extremely personal, extremely troubling.
Lastly, my work situation was going through a big change. Back in 2017 I had made a significant investment to buy myself into a partnership with a lot of promise, and by the end of 2018 the situation had completely imploded. I still do not understand how badly I could have misjudged this situation (well one person really).
These three things alone were completely dominating my every thought. I was walking around with a big knot in the pit of my stomach. If that wasn’t enough, I was about to get some really disturbing news…
Meanwhile, in Holland
About 10 years prior my mom had beaten kidney cancer, and in Holland that means you get screened every year for 10 years. This year was her last screening, and in January they discovered a mass in her lungs: it was lung cancer, it was malignant. Over the next few months she’d go through chemo and radiation, and she was expected to completely recover from this without a problem, they got it early so the tumor was only the size of a peanut. In April I went to Holland for a couple of weeks to be there for moral support. When I was there, I noticed that my dad was having some trouble breathing.
After I got back to the US, another mass was found in her lung, which they were going to surgically remove at the end of May. Meanwhile, my dad was having more and more trouble breathing, and experiencing intense pain in his chest and back. As my mom was recovering from her surgery (she was literally in the recovery room at the hospital), my dad went into the same hospital, to the same lung doctor as my mom, for his breathing problems and to get tested, scanned, and prodded. On June 11 we received his diagnosis: stage 4 lung cancer, it has spread to other organs and his spine, no recovery possible, outlook not very good although no doctor was willing to give an actual time frame. As my mom was declared ‘clean’ (scheduled for a follow up mid September), my dad was basically given a death sentence.
The only thing they could really do was try to slow down the progress and keep him ‘comfortable’. Now if you have any experience with cancer, you know what a fucking crock of shit that is. There is nothing ‘comfortable’ about this. Nobody gave us a concrete prognosis, so there was no way to tell how much time we really had with him. It was clear though that this was it, my dad would not grow old…
My wife is a nurse, and she immediately got very business-like. She did not want to alarm me, but she basically insisted that we book a couple of tickets to Holland right away to spend some quality time with my dad, in person, while he was still capable. The general prognosis for stage 4 lung cancer is just a couple of months, despite the hopeful message that the doctors like to give people. The statistics of 6 months to a year are really the exception, most lung cancer patients at that stage don’t make it past 3-4 months.
We traveled to Holland in early August and stayed with my parents. The two of us did some touristy stuff, but neither one of my parents were up to do anything with us. My dad’s pain was so severe that he could really only sit up for meals, and the rest of the time he had to lay down to relieve his pain. My mom was doing pretty well, considering, but she was not strong enough to go out and do much more than just some grocery shopping. It was heartbreaking, and I can’t describe how difficult it was to live through it, but we said our goodbyes to my dad and traveled back home knowing that we would never see him alive again.
More Bad News from Holland
As August was drawing to a close, my dad called on a Wednesday night. He’d been taken to the hospital because his pain was just unbearable. They took more images and discovered that his body was just riddled with cancer, most urgently his liver. At this point it was a matter of days until the cancer would take him, and he was done fighting.
My dad had decided to move to a hospice and opt for something called ‘palliative sedation’, where they give you a sedative that is strong enough to go to sleep, and they discontinue food and liquids. The result is that you die in your sleep, usually within 2-3 days. This sounds really bad, and especially for people from countries where this is taboo quite concerning. If you want to say something, please send me a private message. I’d be happy to tell you all about it. Euthanasia is legal in Holland, but the process is very strictly regulated and actually quite difficult to get through it. Palliative sedation is something that is not quite euthanasia, but still a way to have control over your own end of life planning. To put it bluntly, euthanasia takes about 2 weeks from when you start the process to the moment of death, and my dad didn’t have that much time.
Anyway, he had made arrangements to go to sleep the following Monday. All of a sudden, there was a date, it was no longer theoretical….. Just a couple of weeks after I had seen him in person, he had gone from being able to walk around the house to being in so much pain that staying alive was too painful for him.
Another Unexpected Trip
I was planning to stay in the US at the end. I had talked about this with my wife, my parents and my siblings. After all, we had said our goodbyes, and I was at peace with that. Now that there was a date though, I could not stay away. It cost a fortune (PURE greed by the airlines, taking advantage of people’s need to travel at a short notice), but I booked the next flight to Amsterdam.
By the time I arrived in Holland, my dad was at the hospice, and they had switched him to ‘the good drugs’. His pain was bearable (which they had not been able to do at the hospital), so much so that he changed his mind about starting the sedation on Monday. He was able to stay with us for another few days, and spend some time with his family and friends. He declined fast though…. the cancer was eating him alive very rapidly.
Losing My Dad
On Sunday September 8, 2019, about half an hour before my 50th birthday, my dad passed away. My sister was with him when it happened, my mom and I went to the hospice to prepare my dad for the funeral. We scheduled the cremation in private for Thursday, since my flight back home was Saturday, with a public wake on Wednesday.
At this point, my mom was not eating well, and she was complaining about pain in the same area of her body as my dad. My sister and I were concerned, but we did not think it was anything super serious. We thought she just didn’t have much of an appetite because of the circumstances. She was declared clean just a couple of months ago, so we did not suspect anything serious.
It was almost as if she had kept up appearances though, because as soon as my dad died, my mom basically went to bed and didn’t come out. We thought she was just grieving, but after a couple of days it was clear that something was very wrong. An echo showed an enlarged liver, and she was scheduled to go back for a follow up on Friday, the day after my dad’s cremation. She was not healthy enough to come to the wake on Wednesday, and as we were getting ready to go to my dad’s cremation on Thursday, we had to call an ambulance to take my mom to the hospital. I cannot tell you how disturbing it is to be at your dad’s cremation while not knowing what is going on with your mom…
Losing My Mom
We did visit my mom in the ICU that night. She was dehydrated, undernourished, and all sorts of vital signs were not good. We were very anxious for the results of her tests, which we got the morning after.
Remember, this is the lung/oncology team that had initially treated my mom’s lung cancer, and then my dad’s lung cancer. My dad had passed away just a few days ago, and now my mom was in the ICU. When they walked into my mom’s room they all looked totally defeated, one of them even in tears. Her lung cancer had come back, and it had pretty much destroyed her liver. No more treatment was indicated. We talked about options for ‘making her as comfortable as possible’ (there’s that fucking word again), and my mom decided that she did not want to go to the hospice, she wanted to stay in the hospital. This was Friday morning September 13.
Unfortunately, there was no time for my mom to visit with any friends or family. She was so far gone that we couldn’t even have a proper conversation with her anymore. Just two days later, on Sunday September 15, she passed away, less than a week after my dad.
Within less than one week, I lost both my parents, to fucking lung cancer.
Three More Weeks
There was no way that I was going to leave my sister to deal with this by herself, so I extended my stay in Holland, and I spent another 3 weeks there.
My parents’ house was just an empty shell, just a building with furniture and all the stuff that they had collected over the span of their lives. We had to arrange for my mom’s cremation, and then the estate. It is SO strange to go around and ask friends and family if there are any things that they would like to have, things that have meaning to them. There were instruments for people that used to play with my dad. Paintings that my mom had made with sentimental meaning to certain people. One of my friends has a son in college, and we gave pretty much all of the kitchenware to him, in case he decides to move out. We were very lucky that we did not have any big conflicts, there were no fights over any tangible items.
We did not have a wake for my mom, we were just not up for it. We did end up arranging a spot in the ‘urn garden’ at a cemetery close to where they lived, and my sister arranged fora very nice plaque to commemorate them.
Update Feb 3, 2020: Added images
The rest of those three weeks my sister and I spent a LOT of time together, did some of the estate planning, and I ate away my misery.
Life Goes On
So… what now? I don’t know, to be honest. I have about 20 pounds to lose so I should probably start exercising and eating better. I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, so there are lots of hiking options available. Maybe I’ll start listening to audio books instead of reading the utterly depressing news.
One thing that I realized is that people can be real human beings. These past 5 weeks I was surrounded by SO MUCH love. So many people reached out to send us support, and I cannot tell you how much that meant to me and my family. The meal service from my sister’s coworkers was such a heart warming gesture, they really put a ton of love in all of those dishes. Spending a ton of time with my sister was very good for me. It was great to get to know her family much better, and my niece and I are very close as well as a result.
As for the community… Hopefully you’ll understand that I didn’t have it in me to do much of anything, I’ve had other (more important) things on my mind. The demise of CRS (it really does not exist anymore beyond the personal company of one of the ‘partners’) means that I don’t have direct access to a lot of the latest new stuff anymore from that side. The MVP program is not really organizing anything for the MVPs anymore, so there’s not a lot of new stuff coming from that direction. I do still have to figure out a ton of stuff for my clients, so I do have plenty to share. I’ll try to catch back up for the rest of this year, maybe the start of 2020 I’ll find some inspiration. I am thinking I might start creating short videos to supplement the blog, but if I do I want to make that into something nice. I don’t really know, I do want to pick this back up so stay tuned.
Anyway, this post turned out to be WAY longer than I planned, but once I started writing it just kind of fell out of my mind.
Maybe you remember, last year I wrote about signing an App Package file, but that post was really about how I got to collaborate with someone at Microsoft, and one of the things we did was improve the online documentation for this topic.
At the time, I had noticed that there was a feedback button on each page in Docs, and underneath the feedback button it said something like ‘feedback is linked to GitHub Issues’, which led me to wonder if we’d ever see Docs in a repo that we could actually contribute to.
Now today, through a tweet by one of the managers at Microsoft, there was a link to a blog post about that very topic: here it is.
Just think how great this is! Not only do we get access to the source files of the actual documentation, we have a mechanism to contribute to the content. If you ever find yourself confused by any of the documentation, you can either leave your feedback on Docs, or you can make a change and submit a pull request to the repo itself! Either way, the actual system that is used to maintain the docs source files is also used to track issues, and you can create issues yourself in that very system!
I started to write this post while flying across the Atlantic Ocean on the second of a three leg journey home, a BA flight from London to Phoenix. It has been a very long trip that started when I traveled to Holland for Directions EMEA in Den Haag at the end of October. Since Directions and NAV Techdays were relatively close together, I decided to just stay with my family in Holland for those 4 weeks rather than fly back and forth twice in less than a month. This has been the longest that I’ve ever been away from home, and I was SO ready to be back in my own house.
NAV Techdays ended last Friday, and it’s been another fantastic week, as we’ve come to expect. As far as I can tell, the attendees in my pre-conference workshop were happy with the content, I can’t wait to get the feedback and see what I can improve for next time.
As per usual, Luc has posted the videos in record time, less than a week after the event. The whole playlist can be found here, and I wanted to highlight some of my favorite sessions. One of the most important developments in current technology is machine learning and AI. Dmitry Katson and Steven Renders put together an awesome session to introduce machine learning to us. The award for most entertaining session goes to Waldo and Vjeko, who put on a concert and wowed the audience with some really cool content. I also want to point out the session about CI/CD, which is going to be one of the most important things for everyone that is serious about implementing a professional development practice. Of course, I have to also mention the Docker session, which is the technology that makes it all possible.
Furtunately, next year’s event is not scheduled on Thanksgiving, which is a national holiday here in the US, one that typically involves lots of friends and family, and lots of food. I’ve had to miss it the past couple of years, and each time I’ve been bummed to hear the stories of all the great meals and gatherings that my family got to have without me. Next year I’ll be home for Turkey Day!
Thanks for another super event, it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Today’s the last day of Directions EMEA 2018, which was in Den Haag in The Netherlands. This is the town where I was born, and since I haven’t lived in Holland for almost 20 years, it was kind of strange to be here on a business trip. The event was hosted in the World Forum, which used to be called ‘Het Congres Gebouw’ which translates to ‘The Conference Building’. I had never been there for any conference, but it used to also be the home of the famous North Sea Jazz Festival.
My contribution to both events (I did the same workshop and sessions for Directions in San Diego as well as Den Haag) were:
An all day workshop to introduce C/SIDE developers to extensions and VSCode. There was a great buzz around the room at both events. Last year there was a bit of anger about the direction of NAV, but now that is settled, I saw a lot of excitement about the new environment, and everyone was eager to learn new things.
App Source Test Drive. In San Diego I was a co-presenter with Mike Glue, one of my fellow MVPs, who has developed the only Test Drive experience that is currently in AppSource. He could not make it to Holland, so I did this session by myself in Den Haag.
Source Code Management. I was surprised at how busy this session was, there was pretty much a full at both events, and the audience in Den Haag even posed for the picture in this post, which was a lot of fun to do with them.
Other than being very busy with my own workshops and sessions, I was able to attend some sessions myself. The ones that I will remember most, and that I will want to learn much more about was the session about Machine Learning, and the session about CI/CD for Business Central development. Especially the latter one will be important, because if we want to do repeatable software on a bigger scale, we will need, we MUST, learn how to be more professional. The days of flying by the seat of your pants as a partner are over, we must all adapt and become the professionals that we’ve pretended to be for so many years.
During my sessions and workshops I asked almost every staff member who looks old enough to remember if they knew anything about the history of the rooms. I would have loved to be able to say that I shared a stage with some of the greats of jazz, leaving out the fact that there are decades between those performances of course. Unfortunately, nobody remembered, and there does not seem to be any history for the building that I can find. I did find old programs for NSJ, but nobody seems to know what the rooms used to be called.
Whether I can say I share the stage with anybody or not, it was cool to be in The Hague for this conference.
Today is a Very Big Day! Allow me to tell you why 🙂
Maybe you remember a few months ago, when I posted some ‘how do I’ videos, I also mentioned that I was working on hours and hours of training material for Business Central. To make a long story short: my company was commissioned to create a long list of technical training videos. Originally, those videos would be published in the Dynamics Learning Portal (DLP). For those of you that don’t know, the DLP is a website where you can find a ton of training resources for a variety of Microsoft Dynamics products, including NAV and Business Central. There are a few caveats about DLP: not only is it inside PartnerPortal, you have to pay extra to get access to it. Partners who don’t pay this extra fee do not get access to DLP.
As soon as I started working on these training videos, I started mentioning how cool it would be to have these videos available for a wider audience, and every chance I got I would repeat that to anybody who would listen. At some point the decision was made to lift these videos from behind the paywall. They would still be inside DLP, but anyone with PartnerSource access would be able to see them. I was still not happy with that, after all PartnerSource is not free.
Now, exactly how much influence I have over these types of decisions is up for debate, but I do know that I recorded these videos, I had daily status calls with people from Microsoft, and I mentioned it to everyone that it would be great to make ALL of these videos available to the public.
We still have more videos to create, and they should be added to the playlist as I finish them. At some point I’m expecting Microsoft to add more content to this channel, so it won’t be just me on there, but for now I am almost giddy with excitement.
Now like I said I don’t know just how much my insistence has played a part in this, but when I first started with this project the only plan was to publish these videos to DLP. In my mind I single-handedly convinced Microsoft to release all this great content to the public.
One of the cool things about the Microsoft Inspire event is that IT. IS. HUUUUGE! One of the most annoying things about Inspire is that it is HUUUGE! It is so easy to get lost among the 10,000 or so attendees that are milling about, going to sessions across a bunch of floors, walking around the immense expo floor with what seems to be thousands upon thousands of vendors peddling their wares.
The best part about this event was that it was in Vegas. Not that I particularly enjoy Vegas, but it is a drive away from my house. This means that I got to leave at a convenient time, drive my own car, and bring a guitar with me so that I can play in my hotel room.
Two of my partners made the trip from Europe, and we had a bunch of meetings scheduled with some potential and existing customers. It is always nice to spend some time with them, we had great food, saw some cool things. I was looking forward to going to the Bruno Mars concert at the big event, but the night in question was hotter than hell, and there was no way I was going to go out in that temperature. Bruno will have to wait to have me in his audience at a later date 🙂
So…. what was the buzz around Inspire this year? For me it was a further crystallization of Microsoft’s digital transformation strategy. The marketing heads have come up with something called ‘Intelligent Edge’ which is a way to categorize everything into a big connected amalgamation of connected technologies. There were many slides about machine learning, AI, a BIG emphasis on Azure. All of this with unlimited scalability in the Microsoft Cloud, which comes with an incremental subscription fee of course.
Microsoft seems to realize that they need the partner channel to do most of the selling for them, so the way they organize that has gone through some further evolving. It’s still very shortly after the event so I haven’t had much time to let this stew and find some good resources. I’m actually not sure if I will have much time for that anyway. I am knee deep in working on hours of new training material that needs to be finished before the next event, so we’ll see if I get to do some research on all of this.
For me, I like to dive a little deeper into specific topics. Inspire is a bit overwhelming for me, and it is an extremely expensive event to boot. We’ve been to Inspire two years in a row, and if we’ll come back next year (which I doubt) we will probably just get a room near the conference and use the event as a means to be in one place with our customers and Microsoft people.
I’m on my way home from a bucket list kind of trip this past week. This post is more than just a travel log, I’ll get to a good link that you will be able to use to get Ready to Go for Business Central. Bear with me and let me tell the story of my trip 🙂
Through my work I’ve had the opportunity to travel pretty much to the opposite side of the globe to teach the CRS workshop for developing extensions for Business Central with VSCode. The first 2 day workshop was in Hong Kong on Monday and Tuesday, and then Thurday and Friday I hosted the same workshop in Manila. To have some time for sightseeing I arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday early morning. My hotel was on Hong Kong Island, and I spent the day mostly walking around the area near the hotel. It was a very long trip, and I had a looooong night sleep to recover from the journey.
On my flight over, I was a little too vigorous trying to clean the keyboard on my laptop, and it stopped working. As I kind of need a keyboard for the workshop, part of my Sunday sightseeing was to roam the city in search of an external keyboard, which fortunately I found. It’s an unusual souvenir, but I am actually typing this on a keyboard with Chinese characters.
Instead of my original plan to take a ferry across the harbor and find some of the famous food places, I stayed around town on the island. There was an awesome dragon boat race, and I took the trolley up to Victoria Peak, which is where I took the picture at the top of this post. It was fantastic to be in Hong Kong, the people were very hospitable, I really hope I get the chance to go back there some day and spend some serious time exploring the area there.
These workshops are part of a program called ‘Ready to Go’, which was created to help the Microsoft partner channel build the skills that are necessary to succeed in the new ecosystem for Business Central. I’ll post something with more details probably in a few days, and go into a little more detail then, but the link that you want to jot down is http://aka.ms/ReadyToGo. On this page, you will find a ton of good content, and even more links to other places with even more content. This link can be your starting point for any information that you might need to succeed.
The workshops were a success, and I’ve received lots of positive feedback. It was a pleasure visiting these two places, and I hope to go back there one day. These are people that are Ready to Go!