So it happened on the weekend I decided to go through the closet and try to make space. It involved a pile of power cords, excess LAN cables, USB cords, dead or mostly dead hardware…
Then I looked at my shirts and realized I had WAY too many. I began to sort and found so many from different conventions, presentations and my early days of getting involved in the Community. So I thought I’d snap a shot or two and share.
The TechNet Series – Mississauga Ontario Canada
So a very long time ago, in Microsoft Mississauga they had a series of free events held in their office. It was pretty cool for me to check it out. Learn about some new technology, get some free Pizza and hang out in the head office of Canada. I remember vividly seeing various members of the Microsoft Canada DPE team presenting on topics I sometimes had no clue on but was eager to learn. This is one of the free T-shirts I remember winning smiling as Damir Bersinic handed it to me. I glowed looking at the actual MIcrosoft logo I now wore on my sleeve. I wore this shirt heavily during a 45 day long “Weekend” migration at McKesson Canada. Somehow these sessions inspired me to be a bit more than I was. I thought (and still think) these people had the coolest job on the planet. These sessions lit a small fire under me encouraging me to step out of the box. I didn’t know how or in what way I would but I was determined to expand my creativity.
The “Friday Funny Guy” years
And so I DID step in my creativity. I wrote a long LONG email entitled “Confessions of a Computer Geek” determined I would do something TRULY unique and garner Microsoft’s attention. Apparently I did because Rodney Buike and Rick Claus contacted me asking if they could put my little post on the main “CanITPro” website. I was floored and smiling. “Of course!” were the only two words I could think of. It sits here to this day for all to read. This spawned something new in my life after the invitation I received from them. “Hey would you like to go to a Special Influencers Day event?” It was just before “Energize IT 2007”, an annual Free event Microsoft Canada and other sponsors put on. I met the president of Microsoft Canada, all the members of the Microsoft DPE team, Microsoft MVP’s, Influencers from all across Canada. I discovered why too. That little blog post had struck a strong chord of Commonality across all of these people. We were all different in many ways but so much the same. Especially when my tiny little cellphone went off with the “Star Trek Hail” sound from Uhura’s console. I swear I saw 50 heads that day SPIN like something out of the Exorcist as they all stared and said “OH COOL!”
Somehow, someway, this day spawned a year of being a Friday Funny Guy, writing silly songs, roasting the entire Team at Microsoft Canada, the invention of a mischievous character called “Mr. Trouble”, the beginning of an as yet never completed comic book series called “HypaMan” and a whole slew of stories called “Dad Vs. the Turkey”. Yes I was discovering my creativity.
I still remember to this day calling my family on the way back telling them all about the people of Microsoft and their Generosity. I believe everybody thought I was possessed
Energize IT 2007
….and then things got crazy. I went to Energize IT 2007. I had breakfast with the President of Microsoft Canada. I checked out new technology and had what I can only describe as one of the most inspirational days in Technology. I felt like a kid in a Candy store. It was the first ever day I saw Mitch Garvis himself in action. Then at the end of the day I was interviewed by Rick Claus of Microsoft Canada. the picture (somewhere in the archives) resembles me being shot with the Video Camera where the actual words were “So how was Energize IT 2007 Sean?” — A very short pause before a verbal onslaught of Manic Passion and Excitement was released upon poor Rick’s camera. I believe I may have melted the battery in the camera too. So the spark was released.
Highway to PowerShell, Energize IT 2008 and Thundergized
And so a year had passed. My manic passion as the Friday Funny Guy had begun to spin out of control and somewhere down the road turned into me writing a parody of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell called “Highway to PowerShell” as I discovered this new easy to use technology from Microsoft called “Windows PowerShell”. A little blog post that went from 4 hits over 3 days to suddenly 100’s per day for the next week. I though I was being HACKED! Then I found the source. A fellow from Microsoft by the name of Jeffrey Snover who was the Architect behind this technology. He was desperately seeking negative critique on the technology to improve it. He searched and stumbled across “PowerShell” and “Hell” in my post. I’m certain a good shot of whiskey happened before he read it.
He read it and within three weeks there were two audio versions (a bad Gerbil version I did and one from an as yet unknown friend called Ragnar Harper in Norway).
Energize It 2008 was around the corner and the people at Microsoft Canada had probably figured Sean should put up or shut up and had me write an opening song for Energize IT 2008. Now *I* never presumed they wanted me to sing it. *oops!*. So after a month of me mucking about with Audacity and trying to sing and being SOMEwhat successful the opening theme song to Energize IT 2008 was written. It opened with SMOKE machines, LASERS, T-SHIRT CANNONS and I SWEAR some potential stage dives.
There was demo competition as well with a cool one with Rick Claus and Christian Beauclaire, A VERY silent one from Team Code Ninja (well, Ninjas as supposed to be quiet) and Team “Shell Shocked” as we strutted our stuff on stage with Rock band gear. But alas. Style could NOT beat substance as Rick and Christian took the prize.
And so the fire continued on. I wrote a rock tune for Techdays 2008 for fun based upon a song by Kiss, began to dive in Windows PowerShell and starting presenting at the user group IT PRo Toronto. Somehow in this mad world, the kid that was terrified to present in High School gained the courage to go the next step. It happened at the following year’s Techdays ….
Microsoft Canada Techdays 2009
My first ever presentation to a group of over 400. I was asked to demonstrate the Windows Recovery Environment to a group of fellow technicians. I sat down for the months preceding and learned this technology and found out how useful it would be. I found a scenario that sold me on it as I corrupted the SAM registry file and caused a Blue Screen of Death in the Windows 7 operating System. Windows 7 had ONLY been released VERY recently too. I pinged my lead at the time Rodney Buike and told him what my demo was going to be. His words were “I don’t think I can approved a Blue Screen of Death demo” but I SWEAR I saw a ‘winky face’
Apparently not as Rodney, Rick, Damir and MANY key members of Microsoft sat STUNNED in terror as Sean CRASHED Windows 7 (remember Brand new?) in front of a crowd of over 400 in his FIRST EVER Presentation. Then WinRE kicked in and undid the problem in under two minutes. Eyes lit up. Technicans in the room understood perfectly that Bad Ram, old fans and bad boards could hurt ANY operating system. A feature built in that could UNDO the bad without requiring a Technician a Domain joined machine was priceless!
Pens moved like mad after this point, sighs of relief appeared from Microsoft. I was immediately asked to document STEP by STEP the details of this demo so it could be replicated across Canada. It turned in to my first ever flight to Calgary to present at Techdays 2009 in that location.
A place where I had my first ever on camera interview with Adam Carter of Microsoft Redmond DPE and host of “The Edge”
Teched 2010 and meeting Jeffrey Snover, Mark Russinovich, Don Jones and SO MANY OTHERS!
And so the reviews came back. I was one of the top two speakers at Microsoft Canada Techdays and was invited to come along and help out Microsoft Canada at Teched. “TechEd?” my eyes blinked. But that was in the States! I needed my passport, money… I had to come up with an answer quickly. Fortunately a good friend of mine, Cory Fowler was also heading that way. We found a room in New Orleans for the WEEK for $300, drove down to Buffalo for our flight, and spent the week getting our minds blown out of proportion! During this session Adam Carter and Joey Snow thought it would be “Cool or funny” (still not sure to this day) to put me on stage with Don Jones and Jeffrey Snover (two BIG PowerShell stars) to see me star struck. Just before going on stage I saw none other than THE Mark Russinovich. I was almost in tears and moments later I looked up and saw him standing there. “Oh my God you’re Mark Russinovich!”.
He smiled, “Why yes I am.” held out his hand to me as I shook it. The stress was gone after that. Soon Don Jones walked up and introduced himself. I was smiling and staring at the floor at a pair of funny looking feet. I looked and suddenly it was “Hi Sean!” as Jeffrey Snover and I shook hands for our first time ever.
So much at Teched, meeting both Scripting Guys (Craig in Person, Ed over Live Meeting) and I think just about every PowerShell MVP there ever was. To ensure I could be spotted by any PowerShell people and as an ice breaker, I wore the “Highway to PowerShell” shirt you see above.
Somehow these people from the world of Microsoft had inspired me to be more than I ever was. It just continued.
It was also the very first year I decided to take on something done by nobody else worldwide. I wrote a Holiday Special for a computer website. A combination between learning and entertainment called “A PowerShell Carol”. I have written one annually ever since on “the Scripting Guys”
The CN Tower Climb
the inspiration continued. I decided to do something I had never tried before (and echoing mantra I found happening). I figured to try the CN Tower climb. As exhausting as it was, I did it. I raised money for Charity and was pleased to see I did it in under half an hour.
“What couldn’t I do?”
The PowerShell MVP emerges…
the day happened. April 1st 2010 between breakfast and lunch and almost in tears when I saw the Email as I was announced I had received the award as a Windows PowerShell MVP. Just for being myself and sharing with the Community. Somehow I had transformed from a “Friday Funny Guy” to a “PowerShell Guy” by learning to step out and be less afraid. I continued with presenting at User Groups and trying to help out, “just cuz”. I seemed to enjoy this.
A full year has passed since the last Techdays. Microsoft has been impressed.
Now Techdays 2010 has come along. I have been presenting to user groups and getting more involved in Windows PowerShell and this year I was asked to create TWO presentations of my own for Techdays. I had never thought about this. I had to actually create my own demo machines, environments and documentation to support other presenters across Canada.
…and that thought. “Well, I can always try and if I fail I can say I at least tried”
Didn’t fail. The Bug had bitten me bad. I believe at the end of Techdays I did something I swear nobody else worldwide had ever done. I navigated a very old and crashy careers website at Microsoft and applied to every single position in the US and Canada (I believe even a few in Ireland!)
Ok. Sometimes getting inspired can get out of control. I believe there was a recruiter who looked at the entries marked “Sean Kearney” and muttered something about a database purge.
We all make mistakes and learn.
Another year as an MVP, Techdays 2011, the first PowerShell Summit, Springboard Technical Experts Program
The year continued on. I was renewed again in April 2011 and smiled even more to see I was still a Windows PowerShell MVP.
And so this presenting got really crazy. I suddenly found myself being asked if I would like to present at the first ever PowerShell Summit in Las Vegas at “The Experts Conference”. It almost didn’t happen until I managed to get a credit from the airline for missing a flight due to overbooking. The Extra credit paid for the plane. The hotel cancelling my room turned into a positive thing as Steven Murawski, a fellow heavily involved in the PowerShell community offered up an extra bed in his room. It was a conference where I met Ed Wilson for the first time ever, did a “Release of the Kraken” at the insistence of the PowerShell team (that’s my story and I’m sticking with it) and got geeky with my PowerShell peeps.
that same year I joined the Springboard Technical Experts Program. I began presenting to user Groups on using Deployment with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and enabling application compatibility with free tools from Microsoft.
It continued on with the only Powershell presentation at Techdays Canada 2011 showing how you could using Modern Windows PowerShell and older environments like vbScript and Console applications happily.
I vividly remember taking HANDLE.EXE from Sysinternals, automating it and showing the results to Mark Russinovich who thought it was pretty cool.
“Mark Russinovich thought my thing was cool!”. Yes it was a fun year.
It was also the year of …. the BATCHman. The first ever Hero to fight crime with Windows PowerShell on www.scriptingguys.com
The PowerShell MVP continues, Geekgive, TechEd 2012
Returning to the MVP Summit I took the initiative to participate in “GeekGive”, a chance for people to give back to the Community. This year was a massive bagging operation of Beans. The spirit and invigoration of MVP’s, Microsoft Staff and Community volunteers was so overpowering we actually ran out of things to pack!
Renewal happened again in April as I took a shot at trying to present at TechEd. It didn’t happen but I *did* get the opportunity to join as a Volunteer! It was an opportunity to spend a week in Florida while learning technology. It was a great chance to work with Ed Wilson more and meet other PowerShell community enthusiasts!
As years went things got a whole lot more interesting as I found job offers and interviews coming along my way. That year finalized with a move to Ottawa and joining up with other MVP’s at Cistel Technology Inc!
It was also probably one of the most nerve wracking drives ever. 12 hours of driving through a blizzard in a 17 foot U-Haul. The drive ALONE was an Adventure!
More MVP Goodness and Presenting at TechEd!
So we now finish up with possibly one of my most interesting years yet! I took a shot at TechEd again and was accepted to present in both North America *and* Europe!
My fourth year as an MVP and I never expected I would have been in this position! With fellow members from my team we took New Orleans and Madrid and released our knowledge. Of course this was my FIRST ever flight outside of North America so… oh boy was I nervous! Flying the first time was a bit nervous. But I had NEVER flown across the ocean.
I landed in one piece which was good. Of course for some odd reason (Ok, I know why, I wear a Tilley Hat) I was mistaken by people at both conferences for my good friend Rick Claus. One poor fellow chased me down the side walk yelling… .”Rrrriiiiiicccckk!!! Riiiiicccckkkkk!!!”
Where will 2014 take me? There is already a PowerShell summit on the horizon, TechEd 2014, IT Camps in Ottawa possibly and of course planning this years Holiday Special on the Scripting Guys as well and coming up with more ideas for blog posts….
….of course I’m also crossing my fingers I get renewed in April as a PowerShell MVP. But only time will tell where I am, what I will be and what I will be doing in the next five years and what the Shirts will tell
Windows PowerShell MVP