Mobile Jon Hits the Road with the Microsoft MVP Program

Mobile Jon Hits the Road with the Microsoft MVP Program

Microsoft, Soft Skills, vmware
Mobile Jon Hits the Road with the Microsoft MVP Program

In the past, I have written extensively about my start in the evangelism world in becoming a vExpert. In 2017, shortly after VMware bought AirWatch I started blogging. Remarkably, we fast-forward 6 years later and I have had some strong successes writing about all sorts of things. Today, we’re going to talk about my amazing luck that got me into ::checks notes:: the Microsoft ::confirming I’m not crazy and rechecks notes:: MVP Program, which I thought was a complete pipedream. Yes, the person synonymous with Workspace ONE and VMware is now a Microsoft MVP for Windows and Devices for IT! Since, I wouldn’t even believe me, here’s the notice:

Today, we’re going to talk about a few things. First, we’ll discuss why I decided to diversify and grow into this area, secondly, we’ll discuss my journey to Microsoft MVP, and close things out with my hopes and dreams (as maniacally optimistic as they may be) for the MVP Program. Let’s get moving!

Why is a Synonym for Workspace ONE Becoming a MVP?

Largely in my career, I am famously (or infamously, depending on who you ask), known as a Mobile Guy. From being ridiculed in finance for “just an AirWatch guy” or people frequently asking if I work for VMware, it’s what I am known for. At VMware Explore last year, the conversations were rampant about a few different things (outside of pure tech):

Among various experts and members of the vExpert program in general that I talked to at the conference the main consensus is not knowing what is going to happen with EUC. Honestly, there probably could be a dozen different scenarios that could happen, but I had one main realization:

Its time to diversify!

VMware’s Current State of EUC

On a serious note, the VMware EUC suite of services is great. I would agree that VMware needs to pickup the pace of certain products like Freestyle Orchestrator, which they appear to be committed to doing so after largely re-architecting the backend infrastructure that powers much of Workspace ONE.

You can see the focus of that re-architecture below:

With all of that in mind, there is still uncertainty of the future of things that I have hitched my wagon to. I determined it would be a good idea to try to diversify my skillsets and not just be someone who writes about Workspace ONE (which has been harder with the staggered features). As someone who wrote 1 article a week in 2021, it was REALLY hard to find stuff to write about.

They’ve done some good things as of late, which I wrote about like:

They also have all sorts of things coming down the pipeline like their Windows 365/Horizon integration, deeper integrations with vGPU and Teams Optimizations. Overall, I think VMware is positioned well, but they do need to pickup steam and get back to the things that made their UEM platform special like same-day support of new OS’ vs. giving people custom XML profiles deployed. I would also like to see some of the VMware Flings that are crucial to UEM to be integrated directly into UEM like Policy Builder and the dearly departed Forklift.

So Why Microsoft MVP?

In my organization, we have a deep Microsoft footprint leveraging all sorts of products (e.g.):

We dabbled a bit with WVD/AVD as I’ve been trying to find a way to deliver a great solution for small business VDI for our pharma company. Inevitably, I landed on Windows 365. Windows 365 is an area that I hit the ground running and decided this was my opportunity (given that it is fairly new) and people like Christiaan Brinkhoff were looking for help in this area. When you have ADHD, writing is a great way to learn and this was an amazing opportunity for me to learn everything possible about Windows 365 and boy did I learn:

As you can see, I found quite a bit to write about mainly because of inspiration from other MVPs and watching release notes constantly. Windows 365 was the first product that I found in a long time that was a great fit for me and it has enabled some great workflows at our organization. I had finally found a great way to open the door to potentially becoming a MVP!

Honestly, this is only one of two or three different ways I have worked to diversify myself in 202. I also am focusing heavily on Okta and achieving a few certifications, which is super hard for someone with ADHD.

How Did I Become a Microsoft MVP?

This is really a great question. Primarily, my Microsoft writing started back in 2020 with a little article comparing Workspace ONE and Intune.

Like with all good things, it started with a few friends who helped. To even be considered as a MVP, you need someone to sponsor you.

The great Aresh Sakari was nice enough to sponsor my application. Once I was sponsored, it was on me to do the work. Christiaan Brinkhoff provided really good guidance on what I would need to get accepted so I ramped up my work like crazy.

Inside the application portal, I had to basically apply for a job. Everything that I have done had to be accounted for within the last 12 months, from my numerous YouTube Videos, speaking engagements, blog articles and more. It was a crazy experience in general seeing the actual data behind my videos (which ones had a ton of views, which didn’t etc.)

For context, my TouTube channel is here and amusingly has more followers than my Twitter. It was amusing (to me at least) that I had stuff with 5k+ views. Once that was done, I had to work with their support so I had an accurate application.

It was just that simple! Someone backs you and you make a case. Luckily, I had done the work and shown my efforts in the community, which is half the battle. Now, officially I can say that I AM a Microsoft MVP. Honestly, I thought I would be shooed away, but they are very helpful.

My Hopes for the Microsoft MVP Program

As someone who works closely with the VMware vExpert program, I want to see more double threats. To my knowledge there’s only a few of us who are in both groups. The cross-pollination is crucial to growing the platform.

People in general have strong feelings about one or the other. You have Intune fanboys/girls and Workspace ONE wall defenders. The same exists in VDI or any other technology. The salient fact that many of them forget is that competition is what fosters innovation. Microsoft has emulated a number of concepts from AirWatch, which is a major influence in t heir new Intune Suite.

My goals in 2023 are to be present and vocal at as many Microsoft events as possible (e.g. Build, Ignite, etc.) and possibly bring something to the table. I already know that I will speak at a number of non-Microsoft events, but it’s time to contribute more.

Microsoft has structured their MVP channels in Teams really well to help foster collaboration. As someone with ADHD, it can be a “bit” overwhelming as I try to digest a ton of content, opportunities, engagements, etc. Many of us can’t find the time to contribute in these arenas, but that sacrifice is worth it to usher in a new generation of engineers and technologists to pickup where we left off.



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