2019 has almost turned to 2020. This year has been one of the very best in my life, for a multitude of reasons. I’ve spent time with my family, and with my extended family more than I could have hoped for. I’ve met amazing people, and many I can now call friends. I’ve had more energy than before, and I’m enthusiastic about the future. Then again, a lot of heavy lifting and work were required, and stars needed to align just so.
Since April I’ve been on extended leave from work. By September I completed the business transactions with my previous company and started to search what the future would hold for me. I lost count on how many meetings, lunches, coffees, and calls I did after summer. I needed to reflect, ponder, consider, and think about what I wanted to achieve in life next.
When I was 20, I decided the next 10 years are for me. My first son was born just when I turned 31, and that changed my outlook for life. With my 3 boys, I’ve set certain goals for their wellness and future, and I trust they will do well in life in whatever they eventually choose to pursue. This year I’ve had a chance to wonder and ponder what’s important, and what invigorates and excites me. I turn 43 next year, yet I feel I’m just getting started with my future ambitions.
Turns out, watching Netflix at home can only take you so far. I spent one afternoon in September watching a few episodes of Orange Is The New Black. I quickly found myself drifting back to my home office, researching what would be interesting to do next. I cannot list names, but I’m indebted to so many people representing many companies for the options, offers, and ideas they’ve offered over the course of the past ~6 months.
I had long and enlightening discussions with my brother, and I wasn’t sure whether starting a new business would feel exciting now. I think I was able to give my very best in the past 11 years building a business and I’m not sure if I have an itch to scratch or a hill to climb in bootstrapping a new company just now.
So, while I was practicing my deadlift form at the gym, I came to the realization there might be a place for me, that I feel is both exciting, a little bit intimidating but also something of a passion.
I’m joining Microsoft mid-December, and within the Western Europe region as an Azure Developer Product Marketing Manager (Marketing & Operations, Azure Business Group). I will be driving the local professional developer community in Finland.
I’ve entertained the idea to go back to Microsoft over the years a few times. I left Microsoft in 2009, after moving back to Finland from Dublin, Ireland. As we’re nearing the end of the decade (yes, I’m one of those people who cannot distinguish dates very well, so December 31, 2019, for me is the end of the decade), it felt fitting to start with an exciting new opportunity!
I’m beyond happy that Microsoft had an open position that felt very fitting for me! I get to work within the Azure space, both in Finland and in Europe. This also means I will no longer be a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), or a Microsoft Regional Director (RD) after December. It’s bittersweet; having been an MVP for 6 years, and an RD for 3 years I felt my journey on these fronts wasn’t finished yet. The decision was made easier for me with my new role at Microsoft, as I get to work with the amazing community, the MVPs and RDs, other influencers and the people at Microsoft sharing the same passions.
I hope to make a positive impact in the coming months and years, and as my focus will continue to be Microsoft Azure, I’ll make a concentrated effort in reaching out to the communities and amazing people I’ve yet to meet. I will also continue publishing content through my blog, and we’ll continue with our fun podcast Ctrl+Alt+Azure with Tobias Zimmergren.
I work with Azure and frequently write about my experiences. I’m a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, ex-MSFT. Based in Helsinki, Finland.