The road to Redmond...
When I was 16, like many other kids I studying and getting A+ grades wasn't really my first priority, but 'things' rather came naturally for me, and with very little effort studying I got some descent grades.
German and math however, was something that I didn't like to study, and unfortunately my teachers didn't let me pass my 5th year of higher education and let me retake the entire year.
Was I in for a treat back then, not only because there were all these other classes that I no longer needed to study for (because I knew it all, right?..), it basically set me up to be very successful on topics that I enjoyed --- like databases.
So later that year, I sold my first commercial application on Dbase III Plus, and got started!
After a twist to my first job in Logistics, I ended up working for a computer reseller named Microman (and I think that's where the nickname Dandyman was born).
A few years later, I started working for AXI as database developer on Oracle, and built my career in training as well.
Fast forward --- after many years a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Consultant at Info Support, I decided to go my own way and "Dandyman" started training and consulting on database technologies.
A year later I got picked up by Microsoft Learning, World Wide Partner Group, and US SQL Server Marketing to deliver technical readiness and trainings across the globe.
Those opportunities also had me engaged in TechEd as a hands-on-lab proctor working with the Hynesite team, and introduced me as a presenter to PASS Summit and many other events.
It was a journey that had me travel all over the world, and spent most of my time in hotel rooms and on airplanes in 2006, 2007. (+70 times across the Atlantic ocean in 2006, and twice over the North Pole)
I also started doing some consulting work for the SQL Server Marketing Group, and I remember being on a flight to Seattle where Kim Hart sitting next to me asked me if I knew someone that was interested in a career at Microsoft.
Shortly after that, I started in SMSG Readiness as Readiness Manager for Data Platform, and joined Microsoft as a full time employee in 2008.
While in Redmond...
While in Redmond, I met my wife Julie, and shortly after we moved in together and decided to "be pregnant", I completed my Microsoft Certified Master Certification.
As it seems to be the perception in Redmond to change jobs to advance your career and skillsets every few years, I decided to move from SMSG Readiness to SQL Server Product Management as Technical Product Manager for SQL Server and later for Business Intelligence.
It was certainly a great opportunity, I had a lot of joy and fun along the way, and when Eron Kelly joined our group as General Manager, those opportunities accelerated significantly giving me exposure to the biggest stages (whether or not behind the scenes), or on stage as during the TechEd Europe Keynote 2013, showcasing Power BI.
Throughout those years I was very successful increasing content quality for major customer facing, but also internal events that Microsoft organized or participated in.
I built out a strong relationship and pool of friends in #sqlfamily, and an incredible network of people on LinkedIn, the highest level of followers in SQL Server as individual employee, and GREAT, really great opportunities...
Why would you leave Microsoft?
Whilst many people would leave Microsoft for various reason, I was looking for my next career adventure. Since I don't consider myself to be a strong marketer, I did feel my career in SQL Server Marketing wasn't going in the direction or at the speed I would love to see it go.
Key ingredients that I am looking for in my job is "Fun", "Excitement", "Growth", and "Challenge". It's those last 2 ingredients, and more specifically the "Challenge" that was missing, despite the fact that I had great opportunities such as traveling to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, building demos and technical assets for high visible keynote events (such as PASS Summit and others..).
Surprisingly, prior to my vacation I was offered the opportunity to go back to an area and industry I've been part of before: Operational IT.
Being able to lead the Data Platform Services Group at Seattle based icon and most fashionable department store giant "Nordstrom", was an opportunity that would give me the ingredients I am looking for in the next career opportunity, and now 1.5 week later since my official start date I have not regretted doing so.
As I talked to my team on Friday, this has probably been the most exciting career move, and an opportunity that I believe was the right decision to take which I realized after meeting the team and my first day on the job.
I can totally relate and find myself in the Nordstrom DNA, and have a great team of peers, and upper management to work with. (and have to say that since I've donned those Microsoft branded shirts my wife says I dress so much better).
Reflecting on 8 years on Microsoft Campus
My 8 years at Microsoft at times have been great, with many opportunities brought to me on a silver platter (even though I probably was in the kitchen participating in preparing the meal, or even getting the recipe right for them).
Being able to work so close with the smartest engineers, technical solution professionals, Microsoft consultants and many other people within Microsoft was a great experience with friendships built to last forever. (don't get me wrong, there are certainly a couple of folks I rather enjoy no longer working with too:) )
I have so many people on my list to say Thank You to, and did that on a rather individual base in a personal email, but certainly wanted to call out a few like Kim Hart for bringing me on board, Jan Jentz for being my first manager, Luis Daniel Soto Maldonado for being my second manager, Eron Kelly for being the best General Manager at Microsoft ever met and worked for. Also I wanted to mention Fred Pace, someone who became a good friend of mine and has been a great mentor for many years. (and hopefully continues to be so in the future).
The list of people in SQL Server Marketing and Engineering is just way to extensive to call out every single one of them... so thank you all!
In those 8 years I've been very well accepted by the Microsoft Valued Professional Community (MVP) and my peers of Microsoft Certified Master! Getting and sharing mutual respect, appreciation for jobs well done and many occasions to share knowledge, fun ..and a beer every once in a while was probably the best!
Thank you all! I hope our paths will cross soon again, and whenever one of you gets to the Seattle area, don't be a stranger.
Ending on a high note...
Whatever job I've been in, I always ended on a high note, being thankful for the opportunities, the people I've worked with, and the many things I've learned along the way.
At Microsoft I had the opportunity to end my career with a training class in Amsterdam, delivering SQL Server 2014 readiness with an incredible high score received for the training, and over 70 students in classroom! Thank you all for being part of my last training!
My last fact was building the demo that was shown on SQL Server 2014 launch day on April 15, presented by Satya Nadella, and demoed by Eron Kelly. (Register to watch the keynote here)
The road ahead...
I certainly hope that the road ahead will lead me to meet my friends at future events (even though event season looks pretty dry to me), and every once in a while you see me popping up on a SQL Saturday event, or other Data Platform / technology event (since I know manage a broader area than just Microsoft technologies).
The road ahead is bright, and interesting journey to get on! I am certainly excited and proud, have 100% confidence in my team that we'll make this an interesting, fun, exciting, challenging roadtrip together.
Also I have a series of ideas in my head in regards to demos, blogs, books to read ..things that I was unable to focus on due to the high frequency and high volume of work, dedication and passion that I've put into my job.
Some work to be proud of...
A lot of the work that I've produced at Microsoft has been reflected in Hands-on-Labs, recorded sessions from events on which we received great feedback.
Below is a "subset" of that work:
Data Platform Hands-on-Labs on Technet Virtual Labs
What's new in SQL Server codename "Denali" - TechDays Belgium 2011
Upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server codename "Denali" - TechDays Belgium 2011
12 reasons to love SQL Server 2012 - TechNet
SQL Server Days 2012 - Keynote - Dandy Weyn
SQL Server 2012 Special Ops Tour
Microsoft Job Blog - Certification
Microsoft Certified Career Day
Be the next Microsoft Employee
Techtalk - TechED New Zealand 2013
Faster Data Insights with Power BI
Channel 9 recordings (Multiple events)
Don't be a stranger!
Don't be a stranger and stay in touch, you can find me on linked in - www.linkedin.com/in/dandyweyn/ or twitter: https://twitter.com/ilikesql
And if you are interested in some cool job opportunities (either at Nordstrom or Microsoft), or you would like to be a candidate to take on my old role - let me know!