Matt That IT Guy

Racking And Stacking In A Cloud-Based World


2017 – A Personal Reflection

Last year I wrote a post summarizing my 2016 – this may not be the most interesting of topics for most readers, but it is something that I have found useful. I get value from this exercise as it forces me to reflect back on my year and see what goals I achieved, and which ones I didn’t. I also find that the action of writing down a goal (publicly, in this case) also makes it real. It makes it something to strive for.

I’m going to break this down into to three sections; if you’re looking for technical content, you’ll likely want to skip this post, I won’t be offended πŸ™‚


Looking back at my expectations, I didn’t exactly have it down to a science. Rather, I was looking for “at least 3 presentations … And I don’t know … maybe a webinar or podcast”. I definitely did do that.

SWOVUG Q2 2017
Mario Marquez presenting Veeam Server Best Practices

My Veeam User Group was a little light with just two meetings this year, however, both were big successes. I’m hoping to crank out at least three of those in 2018, assuming I am in a position to do so. One of my favourite moments in 2017 was actually at a SWOVUG event earlier this year. I and a local “Veeam Legend”, Mario Marquez, managed to give a presentation that lasted over 2 hours and was based on 7 slides (including a title slide). We ended up having to stop due to time restrictions. Why is this such a fond memory? Because the users were so involved. We would make a statement, or describe something, and someone else would pipe in, and we would build off of that. It was a fantastic example of the power of vCommunity – folks sharing their knowledge.

Back to the original quota of 3 presentations. I definitely did do that. Off the top of my head, I gave two vBrownBag Tech Talks at VMworld 2017. I even learned some lessons from those: 1) Try not to lose your voice the morning of your talk (I struggled tremendously) 2) I don’t do well with space restrictions – I like to move around and animate myself. Aside from that, I did not talk at any VMUGs this year. I was actually invited to present at one, but a scheduling conflict prevented that. Once again, if circumstances permit, I would love to present at a VMUG again.

As for the Webinar portion and podcast, I wound up doing a few. On the webinar front, I was honoured to present and assist at the inaugural Veeam Online User Group. Hopefully, we’ll see more of those in the future. I was also on a few different podcasts. A lesson learned from this is similar to number 2 above: I find that I have a hard time presenting if I am just sitting in front of a computer. If I were to do a webinar again, there is a good chance I would find a space where I could walk around. It’s how I get comfortable.

On the education front, I didn’t really lay out a specific goal (shame on me). The certs of interest were the VCP6-DTM, VMCE-A, and something AWS related. Technically, I didn’t get any of those, but I did get the VCP7-DTM, which was a nice change. I also managed to fail the VMCE-A horribly, but I felt better when I talked to other more-than-qualified folks who also failed.


So, what am I looking for in 2018? I’m a big believer in continual learning; I’ve also built out a half-decent home lab, currently up to 4 hosts (3 NUCs and a white box).With that in mind, I’d like to look into an advanced certification – I’m thinking I might pull the trigger and go for a VCAP or possibly the VMCE-A. I mentioned in my 2016 post that these advanced skills aren’t something that I am likely to use in my day to day job, which is still true. But it is where my passion lies. Advanced knowledge like this will not be a bad thing, and it will hopefully scratch that itch.

Presentation-wise, I want to present again; I love helping folks out, and despite being an introvert most of the time, when I get to talking tech, especially in an area that I know about … well, I can go on for quite awhile. Along with that, I’ll see about submitting talks to at least 3 conferences. I have no idea that that will look like right now, but to keep growing, you need to step up your game.


  • An advanced certification
  • Public presentation(s)
  • Submit 3 talks for larger conferences


Feel free to ask questions; delegates won't bite, unless you say "on-premise".
TFD14 held in Boston, May 2017.

With the goal stuff out of the way, I want to reflect back on 2017. There was a lot of great stuff: VeeamON, multiple Tech Field Day events, HPE Blogger Day, etc.. Not only were these events fun to attend, but I gained so much from them. Each and everyone challenged me in some way. In some cases, it was a matter of grasping new technologies. In others, it was a matter of being in a group of folks, none of whom I had met before. And you know what? Each and every time I found a challenge, things worked out. Sure, things may not go as smoothly as I could hope, but even in a sub-par experience, there are lessons to be learned.

I also found that my social activity dropped off drastically after October or so. This was largely due to increased commitments at work. We all know that long days take their toll on you. During this time I found that I was struggling a lot more with the day to day stuff: I was constantly stressed, most forms of social contact (especially blogging) dropped off, and overall I just haven’t been happy. Very recently I wrapped up one of my final “big” commitments for 2017, which was a sign to me that I need to turn back to my blog and catch up on some missed posts. I’m not sure what that means for me yet, but I suppose I am posting that as a warning to others. Beware of your commitments, don’t live to work. Don’t get me wrong, things have to get done. But, if you over do it, you aren’t doing yourself any favours.

I definitely need to tweak something career-wise in 2018. That isn’t to say that I need a job change (not that it is ruled out), but more so that my current status quo is not working. I would encourage anyone who has made it through this post to do some self-reflection of their own. Ask yourself if you are happy. If you aren’t, why not? Maybe there are some small tweaks that I can make that can go a long way.

6 thoughts on “2017 – A Personal Reflection

  • Great post Matt and kudos to all the work you have done and the outlook looks great for you. Lets make 2018 EPIC πŸ™‚ Hope to connect with you more often in 2018. Take care, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • Thanks Angelo! We definitely need to catch up soon, and more often. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

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  • Hey buddy! You sure did well this year! It was a thought year and you did very well. As @AngeloLuciani said, let’s make 2018 EPIC. I can say I had memorable moments with you this year and hope to do the same next year! I can’t regret about this year. It was AWESOME to me. Lot’s of up and downs… but was a awesome year. And just to make you feel a little better… I’m too fail miserable in VMCE exam (shiiiiiuuu – don’t tell anyone – and you are way smarter than me πŸ™‚
    I wish you all the best my friend! Merry Xmas and happy new year!


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