Don Jones

Tech | Career | Musings

Figured I’d share a bit about what’s been happening with me, and a bit about what’s just ahead.

I recently passed the four-year mark in my employment with Pluralsight. That’s notable because I’ve never worked anyplace longer than four years, but I’m really loving the company, still. It’s one of the few places I’ve worked where I really feel like I’ve made, and can continue to make, a positive contribution. I work with great, friendly people, and I feel like we all have a lot of genuine respect for each other. I’ve gotten to watch most of my original team (based in Chicago) be promoted into new positions, which is incredibly gratifying.

Speaking of promotions, I recently accepted one myself. I’ll no longer be running the IT Ops side of Pluralsight’s catalog, and will instead be Vice President of Content Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. It’s exactly the kind of business-level, strategy-minded stuff I’ve come to love. 

And that business-level, strategy-minded stuff is where I want to continue pointing my career… which means I’ll be steering a bit away from working directly with technologies like PowerShell. And that was always going to happen, which is why I’ve tried hard to build some institutions that can eventually carry on without me. Will Anderson is doing great at stepping into the CEO role at DevOps Collective and PowerShell.org, and is rapidly getting a grip on what it means to run PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit. Along with guys like Jeffrey Bernt and James Petty, we’ve got a strong “next generation” to continue those activities. Honestly, if there’s anything more satisfying than building something useful, it’s building something other people can carry on with.

The same thing happened with DevOps Camp – Jeffrey Bernt, Jason Helmick, and Mitch Kruzel are keeping that going, after I needed to back off after the first three years.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a Microsoft MVP Award recipient for fifteen straight years. While that’s by no means a record (the program’s been around since 1993, I think, and I’m sure there are recipients who’ve been around for much of that time), it’s still pretty freakin’ awesome and I’m proud to have been recognized. I also realize that my time as an MVP will draw to a close as I step away from some of the activities for which I’ve been awarded. That’s kind of saddening, but it’s also just part of life – you change, and you move on. I am planning to attend MVP Summit 2019 as a kind of chance to see everyone again.

So what’s ahead? Well, aside from my actual job, I plan to remain at least decently active in the broader community:

I will very likely cut back my conference schedule almost entirely. Apart from Pluralsight events and PowerShell Summit (see below), I’ll be bowing out of technology conferences in large part. My last will be TechMentor Events this coming December in Orlando. It’s possible I’ll pop into the odd conference now and then, especially ones in Vegas, but these will be a diminishing activity for me.

I’ll continue to work with PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit at least through the 2020 show, although I’ll be deliberately taking a smaller and smaller role in running it, so that it can fully transition to a new team. I will likely continue presenting there as long as I’m asked to, and I’ll always be around to help the leadership team whenever they need me. I’m especially committed to the OnRamp track and its companion scholarship program; I truly feel the best way for us to move the IT industry ahead is to start at the beginning of the career pipeline and do good things there. I’ll make sure those programs have a long life ahead of them.

I’ll continue to blog right here. If nothing else, it’s a great outlet for me, as writing relaxes me and gives me a chance to think about things, rather than just reacting to them. The “just react” is why I dislike Facebook so much.

I’ll continue to writeAgain, it relaxes me, and I enjoy technical writing. I even enjoy short fiction writing, although I’m not terribly good at it. Again, it’s an outlet. I will, however, wrap up some of the “open” projects (like the 4N00bs books) this year, and I’d like to find and mentor folks interested in writing books on their own. I’d like to kind of consult with new or first-time authors, help them organize their outlines, and provide them with what help, publicity, and advice I can. If you’re interested, hit me up. The “4N00bs” series in particular was always intended to be a way for new authors to get into the world in the form of short, entry-level books that would have a long shelf life and strong community impact.

I’ll be less active in the PowerShell.org forums. Honestly, the community has stepped up so much that I’m often the last to the party and find myself looking at questions that already have great answers. That was absolutely the intent. There’s a new trio of folks moderating the forums and helping draw attention, via social media, to questions needing answers. Speaking of social, we’ve now a moderator for the organization’s Twitter feed as well.

I’ll continue with Be the Master, because quite frankly the feedback on the book has been tremendously gratifying. I’m always getting stories of how people have changed their lives in some small, beneficial way, and it’s incredibly humbling to hear from them. In fact, I’m holding a first-ever live workshop around the book the day before Summit 2019.

So this is hardly a retirement announcement, but there obviously are some areas I’ll be de-prioritizing. And I’ll be focusing a lot of my community work around building go-forward institutions, like Summit, that can survive on their own through a new generation of community heroes. I want to focus less on me making contributions, and more on helping other people make their own contributions (which is really what Be the Master is all about). You can let me know if I can help you in that way :).

Anyway – thanks for reading, and I’ll see you Thursday with the next Ask Me Anything post!

 

6 thoughts on “A Quick Update on Me

  1. Gregg says:

    Well, the song Changes comes to mind by David Bowie, though it may not be the best choice. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zbnJo88kuP8 May your journey be well. Your technical prowess will be missed.

  2. Congratulations Don on the transition to bigger things. Your work has definitely been instrumental in my growth with Powershell. Will you be attending MS Ignite next month?

    1. Don Jones says:

      I will not – my schedule doesn’t allow for it this year. But I’ll be at PowerShellSummit.org in April, and TechMentor this coming December in Orlando. That TechMentor will likely be my last technical conference apart from Summit, at least for the foreseeable future.

  3. luisrorta says:

    Definitely reminds me that our careers should evolve and change with us. Very inspired by this post, going to miss the technical speeches and insights.

  4. James says:

    What do you mean you’re not terribly good at short fiction writing? Galactic War is a great read so far!

  5. Rob says:

    Very cool to see the transition to leadership. I enjoy developing technical solutions and anytime I see a leader position, I think that would be interesting….and then I see their calendar. Good luck and your insight will be missed.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: