2020 Hindsight


It’s that time of the year again. Businesses are finishing off 2020 and people start to reminisce of all the good, the bad and the ugly. This year, I’ll join the people who look back at another trip around our sun on our beautiful planet Earth.

Let’s look back!

January 2020

At work, I’m still amazed by the organizations that look for us for our expertise. Selling identity federation to a municipality, designing authentication for governmental dashboards, helping an organization say ‘No’ to Okta and creating the identity roadmap for the 4th bank in the country? Yes, please.

February 2020

Raymond and I were invited back to the Nordic Infrastructure Conference this year.

With Rolf and Aleksandar in the Speaker Room for Azure Saturday in Belgrade. Good company!

I also presented at the first Azure Saturday in Belgrade, on February 2020’s bonus day. Meanwhile the international flair for doing things reached our first French customer. Also, I learned it’s a luxury to be able to sell ‘No’.

March 2020

In recent years, March was the month I visited Microsoft in Redmond for the annual Global MVP Summit. Not this year… As we headed into a lockdown, we, as Europeans, were also banned from flying into the USA. No worries, as Microsoft turned the event around as a virtual event.

During the first weeks of our lockdown it was nice weather outside, so we tried not to think about Corona.

Not Corona. Desperados.

April 2020

My usual speaking engagements in the Balkans in April were all cancelled this year. Instead, we doubled down on creating value for our Dutch customers. I Implemented Hybrid Identity at a large law firm and implemented Veeam Backup for Office 365 for a public safety organization… all remote.

May 2020

Working From the Dining Table at Home. Putting my books to good use! ;-)

In May of 2020 we started a new service. Customers could now ask us for a Microsoft Cloud Security assessment. Oftentimes, the assessment was paid for by our local Microsoft subsidiary, making it virtually impossible for customers to say ‘No’. We’ve performed a lot of these assessment since May and have created a nice overview of common challenges in our region.

June 2020

With the lockdown slowly being lifted, I began visiting the customers that really couldn’t wait, but also couldn’t be helped remotely. I visited the other Dutch nuclear facility for some Active Directory security consulting, troubleshat AD FS problems at a large governmental organization, re-implemented Hybrid Identity at a health care provider and performed an Active Directory assessment for a hospital.

July and August 2020

In July, I started with a new remote customer. Not because we needed to, but because we could. I wrote their Hybrid Identity design after asking them what they wanted specifically during our typical workshops.

Supercharging our way to France

We also took our car and drove to the South of France. We needed a vacation and opted to join friends as they already had fun for a week at a local camp site. Going from supercharger to supercharger, we made it to the site in only 12 hours. Going back, we made stops at regular gas stations and experienced Ionity and FastNed services. Smooth sailing.

September 20202

I would be lying when I claimed COVID-19 didn’t take its toll on us. I’ve lost my father in law and in the process went into quarantine for two weeks to make sure we didn’t infect anybody else. Luckily, location doesn’t matter for my work.

Deji Akomolafe, Matt Liebowitz and I spent way too much time on our 60-minute session on virtualizing Active Directory the right way for VMworld 2020, but the result is breathtaking and something that stands out from other sessions. Doing Ask the Experts sessions at Microsoft Ignite was also rewarding and got me wanting for more.

Raymond, Huy and I at Mad Mick's BreakAway Cafe in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

In troubled times, I feel community is important. Raymond and I sat down with Huy, the new Enterprise Mobility MVP in our region. This way, we welcomed him into the MVP Community on one of the sparse days we were still allowed in pubs without masks.

October 2020

Luckily, October ushered in a new speaking season with sessions at the Hybrid Identity Protection Conference and Veeam Live. It’s nowhere near meeting your fellow speakers at these events, but the virtual speaker drinks made sure we caught up, at least.

November and December 2020

As Eastern Europe emerged from lockdown, I was invited to speak at the virtual NT Conference in Slovenia and at IT Pro|Dev Connections Greece. Meanwhile, I worked with remote customers; some big projects, like the one I started in August, others small 4-hour troubleshooting engagements. Enough to keep me on my toes and share experiences with you.

Goodbye 2020!

With one day left in 2020 (March 306th, 2020), I wish you all the best for 2021!

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