My New Journey at Microsoft

On May 29th, I began a role as a Cloud Ops Advocate at Microsoft, and I couldn’t be happier! In a nutshell, it is a role I’ve been working towards for the last 8 years (and probably longer). Through my work at the college, with The Krewe, and my professional authoring, everything comes together in one role with a singular purpose:


Support IT Operations professionals in every way possible as they prepare for their careers in the Cloud

This role will allow me to continue doing the things I love:

  • -Sharing my knowledge and love for technology, and helping others skill-up their careers

-Engaging with IT communites via twitter, facebook, and IRL

-Presenting at 1st and 3rd party conferences more. This is something
my previous position did not allow me to do regularly.

-Being a friendly resource at Microsoft for your questions and feedback on Azure

-Building excellent content designed to make you immediately effective

In my role, I am an advocate for IT Ops (aka IT Pros) ‘ In The Cloud’. So what does that mean? Well, first and foremost, I am an advocate for YOU at Microsoft and specifically in Azure. Have questions, want to provide feedback, not sure where to get started? Let me know. I’m here to help you be successful. While I can’t guarantee I’ll have all the answers, I will guarantee I’ll do my best to get you what you need.

Out of the gate, one of the significant focus areas for me will be working in (aka Docs) and getting the word out on this excellent resource. I’ve been singing the praises of docs for a while and will continue to until everyone is using it. It’s a convenient tool all of us will need to use as Microsoft centralizes all documentation there. The beauty of docs is it’s based on GitHub and on the premise of ‘documentation as code’. This allows you to be part of the documentation update process, and provide your real-world experience. Check out my video on docs for more information and how to get started with it.

Another important part of this role is that it is in engineering so I work directly with the product groups. This is great because I can provide your product feedback directly to the groups responsible. That way we can all be invested in the products.

I’m excited about the commitment from Microsoft to put together a first-class team for this initiative. Based in the Cloud Advocate team under the guidance of Jeff Sandquist and Marcelo Bellinaso, I’m really excited to work with some amazing people like Rick Claus, David Blank-Edelman, and Steven Murawski. This is a team built from the ground up focused squarely on helping operations folks. I really excited for the things to come and what we’ll be delivering to our communities.

Since I have a huge learning curve out of the gate, things will be very busy for the foreseeable future. On deck for the next 3-6 months will be:

  • Connecting with all my communities
  • Delivering great content through Docs
  • More Blogging
  • More Car Talks
  • Deep dive into Identity and Azure AD
  • TechMentor in August
  • Ignite in September
  • Figuring out how life in the corporate world works again

Have questions or want to chat about Azure (or other Career Stuff)? Feel free to reach out to me on twitter via @MichaelBender or leave a comment below.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more updates and adventures as I journey through the Mircosoft world.


Talking Community w/ Andy from Altaro

At Microsoft Ignite, 2017, I had the chance to hang out with Andy Syrewicze of Altaro software. We talked about Ignite, Microsoft, Community and getting ahead in the Tech Field. It’s always a pleasure to talk with other community people and share my insight into empowering others to ‘level up’ their careers. Click continue reading to view here or use the link below.

Do you find this valuable? Let me know in the comments below.

Microsoft Ignite…My Initial Game Plan

Greetings True Believers,

So with Microsoft Ignite just a couple of months away, seems like a great time to talk about what I’m looking forward to and how I plan to spend my week. As Microsoft brings together many of it’s major conferences, it will be interesting to see if how everything works out.

2015 for me is going to be a year of learning the cloud, specifically Office 365 and Azure. To that end I’m planning to take the Office 365 MCSA exams at Ignite. While not announced yet, usually Microsoft provides some sort of benefit for testing on site and hopefully we’ll see the same this year.


For me, that is one of the top reasons for going to Ignite (or TechEd previously). The connections I’ve made throughout the year have provided many personal and professional growth opportunities. That is where The Krewe got it’s start and I look forward to catching up with old friends, along with meeting new ones.

For the more social side of Ignite and the IT Pro community, check out The Krewe at We have an active Facebook community that will start buzzing with all the happenings at Ignite, and how to get the most of out your “Evening Sessions”.

Once the Scheduler Builder is available, make sure you plan to have time for “hallway sessions”. These are those times when you just need a break from content and spend time networking with others at the conference. IMHO you can always revisit a missed session, but you can never revisit a great conversation that you cut short to get to a session.


Reviewing the session catalog, it looks like a lot of stuff I’m interested in. I’ll most likely focus on deep dives into Office 365 and try to catch some 200-300 sessions on Azure and Windows 10. Normally I don’t do hands on sessions but may if a topic peaks my interest.

One downside of the current session catalog is that you can only share a session with others. There is no way to mark them for later viewing. Until them, I won’t spend much time pouring through the sessions until I can actually mark them for later viewing. Also, speakers are not listed (which is not surprising). I normally base many of my session decisions off of speakers so expect a post later on my session guide.

Also, I haven’t seen the listing of pre-conferences on Sunday, May 3rd so I’m not sure if I’ll attend one of those. Traditionally, I pass on those as Sunday is usually a busy day preparing for the week ahead.
Updated: I found the list of pre-cons. Looks like some nice offerings. If I was to take one, probably lean towards  Microsoft Azure Cloud for IT Pros. Unfortunately, 6 days of content is just too much for me. As I’ve told the peeps as Microsoft, I’d gladly pay additional funds to be able to access materials and a recording of the pre-con that I could view at a later time. I doubt that will ever happen but you never know.


I am a HUGE Chicago fan. It’s one of my favorite cities and I can’t wait to share all of the cool things in the city with many of my friends visiting for the first time. From Food, Coffee, to Craft Beer, there is some much to offer compared with other conference cities I’ve been to…I’m stoked! May is usually quite nice in Chicago so you’ll get a chance to see the “Windy City” at it’s best. For some great city info, follow @chooseChicago on twitter.

What You need to Know if Going

Knowledge is power and having a game plan is key.  In the current post, my good friend Denise Begley shares some new info about the session catalog and other things. Check out the Channel 9 MS Ignite Blog to keep current on what Ignite is doing, Also, make sure to follow  the official Twitter Handle for Ignite @Ms_Ignite. Also, get engaged on the Channel 9 forum for MS Ignite

And save some time on will take place on February 3rd at 11 AM Central Time for  an #IgniteJam . The Ignite team, speakers and other conference attendees will be there to discuss all things Ignite. Great time to catch the wave and get engaged!

Not Going?

Well you should. If you are a Windows IT Pro, it’s a great place to continue “leveling up” your career and get much needed training. Also, it’s a great way to make professional contacts. If you need to convince your boss, check out this.

Can’t wait to see you in Chicago!


Information on The Krewe Blog Challenge…

Welcome to the Krewe Blog Challenge 2014!

The purpose of this is get more people into blogging. With the popularity of twitter and facebook, there are many important things that get lost in the noise of the Internet due to the volumes of content being created every second. Our facebook page is a great example. There are a number of great posts related to fixing specific issues or things people have done. Unfortunately, there is not an effective search mechanism for finding these and they get lost in the every changing timeline. Blogging fixes that. By posting a fix to a problem on a blog, it get’s crawled by search engines, indexed, and is ever available. Also, blogging is a great way to increase your reach and brand if you are looking to build a bigger presence on the web.

So How is this going to work? Well, here are the rules…

1.       Anyone is free to join. To participate in the prize portion of the contest, you need to blog a minimum of 1x a week through August 24th, 2014.

2.       Send you blog feed URL to, and we’ll add you to The Krewe RSS feed.

3.       Talk about the challenge on twitter with the hashtag of #KreweBlogChallenge

4.       We’ll be promoting all blogs posted to The Krewe Bloggers feed on twitter, but you should make sure to promote yourself on twitter, facebook, or wherever else makes sense.

5.       Hopefully, we can create some blog bling for your blog site.

6.       Just post…

Prizes??? Yes…we will have prizes. I’m still working on what they are and how many we’ll have, but we should have some good stuff. Everyone will get something, just not sure what at this pointJ

Questions…Feel free to ping me on Twitter via @MichaelBender if you have questions or wonder how to start. I’ll be happy to help as well as many other bloggers in the group.