Category Archives: Blog

A humbling accolade

A year ago I was in Phoenix, Arizona when I found out that my blog, The World According To Mitch, was selected by BizTech Magazine as one of their 50 IT blogs you must read. It was quite an honor to be recognized by my peers.  I was in Montréal, Quebec this year when I was informed I had been selected again for 2012, one of a select few to repeat. Again, I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen. It truly is humbling, and knowing that this year readers were invited to vote made it all the more special.

The world has changed tremendously since I started blogging. In 2001 my blog was actually targeted email articles, to be replaced in 2003 by my first website, www.e-mitch.com. IT was only in 2005 that my writings would be codified into an actual formal blog, although a few peers and mentors had to twist my arm. They twisted harder when I left Montréal and told me that if I wanted to succeed I had to build my brand.

The process of building my brand began then and has continued to this day.  It continues on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and at every event that I speak at.  It is the advice that I pass along to every fledgling IT Pro just starting out – build your brand, it will eventually pay huge dividends.

I want to thank the editors and readers of BizTech Magazine for once again seeing fit to honour me this way.  I hope that between The World According to Mitch and the Canadian IT Pros Connection I will continue to deserve your readership!

A Banner Day!

In 2007 I was asked to write a guest blog post for the Canadian IT Pro Connection.  Over the course of the next few years I wrote several articles for them, many of which were cross-posted to or from this site.  However it was last month when I joined the team I went on a blogging frenzy… until I realized that parts of the job were also a bit of a frenzy Winking smile  I’ll be getting back to that this afternoon though.

For now I am thrilled to see that the site banner has changed.  Both Pierre Roman and I are now officially resident bloggers for the Canadian IT Pro Connection.  As of this morning the banner reflects that.

image

As a longtime follower of this blog, remembering back to the days when Rick, Rodney, and others were resident bloggers, we know that we have some big shoes to fill (and hats!) and we will do our best to maintain the quality and relevance of the content.

As always we are interested in your feedback.  If you have a comment a specific post you can put it in the Comments section; if it is on the blog in general (or the team) then you can e-mail any of us directly – my e-mail address is b-mitchg@microsoft.com.

Oh, and for those of you who are sure to comment that they are disappointed that I am not wearing my hat in the banner picture, I’ll try to post one here later on Smile

Thank you!

Over the past few months I have been astounded to see the growth in this site’s readership.  One of my goals over the past year has been to make this site as relevant as possible to as many IT Pros as possible, and I can tell that it has worked.  The site has received a number of awards, and I have to admit that it is really cool when someone comes up to me in a foreign country to discuss an article that I wrote.

In November, 2010 I reset this site and started from scratch; I did not wipe the content, of course… I ported over as many articles from the original site as I thought were relevant.  Thanks to Cory Fowler The World According to Mitch had a new home on WordPress.com, and all of a sudden all of my comments and statistics were reset to zero.

Building my brand has been an uphill battle, and a rewarding challenge.  It is amazing to look back at February of 2011 and see that the site had 746 hits.  Eleven months later, in January of this year, it had (at the time) a record 4,720 hits.  I was thrilled by that number!  I was however surprised to see as I wrote more and more that the number kept going up, month over month.

This morning I woke up and checked the counter; I was watching it all evening last night because there was a very special milestone that would break either Friday or Saturday.  When I went to sleep last night there were 9,950 hits for the month of September, so when I checked the counter this morning and it said 117 hits I knew we had done it… our first ever month with 10,000 hits!  It is certainly a milestone worth celebrating.

Speaking of milestones, there are a few that I have hit this year, and a few more that I expect to.  For example, sometime in the next week the site will welcome its 60,000th visitor of the year (2011 had 26,487 hits).  That is really exciting for me.  Also, since the reset, the site has had (as of Saturday morning) 88,000 hits, which means that at the current pace sometime in early November we will be celebrating 100,000 hits.  Not bad for a kid from Montreal, huh?

I want to thank all of you for your support; I have enjoyed blogging, and will continue to do so.  However I want to make sure that I am staying relevant, so please feel free to ping me and let me know what topics interest you!  I don’t make any promises, but I am writing this blog for you, and so I want to continue to read it!!

Thanks again… here’s to making the next 88,000 as interesting as the last 88,000!

Where’s Mitch?

As I mentioned last week I am now spending a lot of my time as a Virtual Technical Evangelist for Microsoft Canada.  Part of my duties in that role include blogging, which is what brought you here.  However for the time being I am going to post most of my articles on the Canadian IT Pro Connection at http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/.  Most of those articles will be republished here, but there will be a delay of a day or two.  If you simply cannot wait, I urge you to head over to http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/ and read what I (and Ruth & Chris) have to say!

In the meantime I will be coming to a city near you soon… if you are around I hope to see you at one of my events!  Here’s the calendar for the next five weeks:

  • September 12: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Vancouver, BC)
  • September 13: Introduction to Windows 8 (Halton IT Pros, Halton Hills, ON)
  • September 19-21: Miami, Fl (training)
  • September 27: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Ottawa, ON)
  • October 3: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Montreal, QC)
  • October 9: Introduction to Windows 8 (Silicon Halton – Burlington, ON)
  • October 12-14: SMB Nation (Las Vegas, NV)

I hope to see you at one of my events while I am on the road!

ISP Control Issues

It is amazing what we as IT Professionals come across sometimes.  My colleague Sharon Bennett recently posted an article about what (to me) seems like a combination of laziness on behalf of a technician and secrecy (for secrecy’s sake) on behalf of the Internet Service Provider.

http://bennettbusinessconnections.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/does-your-isp-have-control-issues/

I want to be clear, I do not think that most Bell technicians would do what this one did, although it is clear to me that this particular one dropped the ball either because they did not know any better (poorly trained) or didn’t care (poorly motivated).  I confess it has been a lot of years since I last crimped my own RJ-45 cable, but from the pictures that Sharon provides it is easily apparent that this technician tried (and failed) to do just that.  Had he done it right, nobody would have cared.

The fact is in this day of quotas trumping customer service it is a shame that technicians will look you in the eye and say ‘Yeah, your Internet is working properly.’  Well can I connect to the Internet? ‘I don’t know… I haven’t checked.  But I assume so!’

Lesson? Whether you are a consumer or a top IT professional, never let the technician leave before he is able to show you that your connection is working.  Sharon and I might know to look for loose (or disconnected!) cables, but most people wouldn’t.

As for the cable? It just goes to show you that shoddy work is usually indicative of a job shoddily done.

A Report from the MVP Global Summit

The week before the MVP Summit I got an e-mail asking me if I would be interested in blogging about the Summit for Microsoft Press.  As I was planning on blogging anyways I agreed… and rather than posting several smaller articles here, I sent one giant article to Microsoft; it was published today at blogs.msdn.com, and can be read here.  So you know, I am going to be sending them pictures to add to the article… but they wanted it up sooner rather than later!

An Interview with BizTech Magazine

biztech_badge_300In September I was honoured to discover that BizTech Magazine had recognized The World According To Mitch on their list of 50 Must-Read IT Blogs from BizTech (Sept. 7, 2011).  Several weeks ago I was contacted by Ricky Ribeiro, BizTech’s Online Content Manager asking if I would be willing to do an interview about blogging and the IT industry.  I was delighted to do so.  On Sunday the interview was published.

Must-Read IT Blogger Q&A: Mitch Garvis

Sometimes it amazes me that I have come so far… I remember when I first started blogging, and who was responsible for it (there are two people).  I saw one of them in the cafeteria this past week, and I had drinks with the other in December.  When they told me to start (and then told me to publish at my own site rather than the MITPro site) I could not see the value… but I trusted and respected both of them, so I started.  I see the value now, and every time an up-and-coming IT Professional asks me for advice on how to get noticed, I have the same advice for them that Rick and John had for me… Build your Brand.

As hard as it may be to fathom, I remember starting out wondering who would care about what I had to say.  I also remember thinking that a few little articles would not earn me a lot of credibility.  I was probably right… but I have now been blogging for seven years, and The World According to Mitch (the third incarnation of a blog that was born in 2005) will celebrate its 300th article this week (if my Editor approves the complete rewrite she assigned me on Thursday).  We have had over 100,000 visitors, and a plethora of comments and conversations (many of which, unfortunately, were lost in the numerous moves over the years).  I am amazed every time someone refers to my articles as authoritative, and appreciate every single visitor.

Last week was the first time I ever referred to myself as a professional blogger, but I suppose I am.  I do not get paid to blog, but do get paid to do what I do in part because I blog.  I love doing it, and was not surprised by the envious cries of ‘How do *I* get a job like that?’ The answer is simple… build your brand, build up your library of articles, and most of all make sure that you absolutely love writing (It helps if you are good at it)!  I do… I always have, and thank my high school English teachers for that daily,

If I am the luckiest man in the world it is because I have an amazing family, I get to work with amazing technologies, and have an amazing job that affords me the opportunity to speak to and interact with some amazing people.  If someone were to ask me what are the qualities that make my blog successful I suppose it is the combination of my vast life experience and travels, combined with a love of life, a passion for technology, and an understanding that talking about high-level subjects does not mean you have to talk over peoples’ heads.

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t know enough about it.

Albert Einstein

I often hear from people who stumble across my blog who say “Wow… I have no idea what you are talking about, but it sounds really interesting.”  I do not dumb my articles down, but I do try to explain high-level concepts in clear, concise terms.  I have been asked to explain concepts such as Server Virtualization to non-technical audiences before, and I do… however you also have to know who your intended audience is, and speak to their level.  My technical articles would be useless if I wrote them for non-technical people.

The truth is that most of my articles will be easy to understand by anyone, but without the prerequisite knowledge of the subject matter they would not be able to do anything with them.  Occasionally I hear from someone that ‘Wow, I read your article, and I was actually able to understand what you were talking about!” That is because I make things as complicated as they have to be… and no more so.

I will continue to write as I have, and will aspire to do better.  I will try to continue to write about topics that I find interesting and relevant… that goal seems to have served me well over the past seven years.  Thank you for reading. -Mitch