New Environment, New Approach

It’s Day 1, my first Microsoft Build, and I was not prepared for the sheer numbers nor format. I tediously worked out this schedule with sessions and back up sessions (in case, I don’t know… tripped on the way to the first one?). I lost my OCD mind when I realized these sessions were held open format in the MIDDLE OF THE EXPO!

I quickly realized the “sessions” were to show off their specialty. To draw you in by topic, touch on some “new” topics you hadn’t heard of, and get you to come talk to them. The presentation was not so much a sales pitch as it was a “let me help you develop on our platform.” Interesting…

My Problem

When I decided to learn C# and .NET a couple of years ago, there was a lot of circling the drain, BUT it gave me some ideas. One of those ideas was the creating my own API to open up the iSeries and automate our payment system. In doing that, I stopped a lot of frustration in interacting with the legacy system and freed myself to move forward.

Now, though, I’ve quickly realized I chose to move forward with a bleeding edge platform with a small beginner community. Either you’ve been on .NET framework and weary of moving to Core, or you’re on Core (like me) and still working things out (or worked it out and write the docs).

When I ask for help I either meet that level’s boss and immediately resurrect my “imposter syndrome”, or I drown the person I am asking and they send me some link I’ve already seen 20 times.

This leaves me with lots of projects or goals that are missing parts or just plain “stuck”.

Getting Un-Stuck

I approached Day 2 with one goal: get “unstuck”. I have access to the experts… get out there, find their booth and ask!

Some of my “stuck” problems:
1. I can’t figure out why my “print to pdf” function works in development but not on Azure
2. I can’t figure out how I, a 1 person team, involves the end-user to create a more accurate work-flow (VSTS) without making them do weird, techy things
3. I do not have an accurate “feedback” system once my app is launched

Yes, I found some answers / leads:
1. I am not alone. I was given an expert email/contact for help (GDI problem) and also suggested it might be a 3rd party extension to solve this.
2. I was shown a template feature I never knew of that basically emails an employee/department a form that they fill out in Outlook. It emails me back and creates a “work item” for me.
3. I was shown an “Insider” program that helps me create my own set of power users (dealers) that I can launch features to and get feedback from.

I’ll have to take time to learn how to do all these things, but, it’s room for positive growth.

Planning for the Future

Day 3, I made it my focus to go to the booths I had been avoiding.

  • What does this random sponsor company do?
  • What part of tech in Microsoft are you?

I hate sales pitches and I was very upfront about what I do, what I work with and what I needed. If they did not meet my needs I was quick to say so, but I was also very happy with them and clear I was there to collect info.

I have to keep in mind, at one point I thought I’d never have a need for a fancy “API”. Years later, that little nugget in the back of my head solved a huge problem of ours. So, this was the day I took to just listen. Let them show you something and put that in your head for later.

How I Work Isn’t that Different

A jewel I really adored walking away from a conference of developers was seeing how we work.

The most popular drinks gone were my faves (Coke Zero, Sparkling water), everyone had a water bottle hanging off their bag, low carb snacks, meditation room, coloring books, animals, “quiet” charging lounge. By day three people were walking around in socks (lots and lots of walking at this). All of the above are regular habits of mine and it was refreshing to see the community is recognizing health as a high priority. Yes, I rarely take lunch. Yes, my focus often makes me forget normal tasks. I sit for too many hours in a day. Developers are not alone in this, but as a professional community, it was refreshing to see steps forward in maintaining physical health as a way toward professional growth.