Episode 092: Azure Architecture with Thomas Maurer | CloudSkills.fm

In this episode we dive into Azure Architecture with Thomas Maurer. Learn about Enterprise Scale Landing Zones, Azure Bicep, the Well Architected Framework, and more.

Thomas Maurer works as a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. As part of the Azure engineering team (Cloud + AI), he engages with the community and customers around the world to share his knowledge and collect feedback to improve the Azure platform.

In this episode, we talk about…

  • Thomas is working with Azure Architecture to make it easier for clients to operate cloud tech
  • Azure Architecture is made up of three main parts
  • Reasons that people have not heard about Azure Arc
  • Cloud Adoption Framework will assist those looking to build their company with Azure
  • Enterprise Scale Landing Zones help plan and set up Azure environment
  • How the automation for the Visio landing zone operates
  • Azure Bicep makes it easier to write and write ARM templates
  • It is still very early on in the development of Azure Bicep
  • Microsoft Learn helps people learn all about Microsoft, not just Azure
  • Microsoft Build provides a 24/7 video platform as a learning resource
  • Advice for those that want to get into content creation
  • Collaborating with others is incredibly important for growth
  • Well-Architected Framework vs. Cloud Adoption Framework at Microsoft
  • It never helps anyone to act like a jerk; be polite
  • Even bad advice provides value if you look at it correctly

Resources from this episode:

Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list at cloudskills.io/subscribe for weekly updates, exclusive training, and advice on how to amplify your career.

Full Transcript:

Mike Pfeiffer:
Hey, what’s up everybody. It’s Mike Pfeiffer and you’re listening to the Cloud Skills FM podcast.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Hey, what’s up everybody. It’s Mike Pfeiffer. I’m here with Thomas Maurer from Microsoft’s. Thomas, what’s up, man?

Thomas Maurer:
Hey Mike, great to be here and talk to you again, really appreciate your time. I’m doing great. We just had Microsoft Ignite this week, so you can imagine it was really, really busy. But yeah, can’t complain. A lot of things, a lot of great announcements, a lot of new things, so always happy to learn. How about you? How are you doing?

Mike Pfeiffer:
Doing good. Yeah, trying to keep up to date, trying to stay on top of all this stuff just like everybody else. It’s kind of a fire hose of information as usual, but I like that, I like having to keep up with stuff. But yeah, so I’ve been watching what you’re doing. And you’ve been on this show a bunch of times, so welcome back. We’ve always gotten such great feedback from the episodes we’ve done in the past together. And I noticed you’ve been sharing tons of stuff, as usual, so maybe we could get into some of that stuff. Like what you’ve been working on lately, what you’ve been putting out. I saw some awesome stuff you’re doing at Azure Architecture and stuff like that. So what’s been going on lately?

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah, there’s a couple of things. So our team, not just me but our team, we are working on a couple of different things. As you said, I’ve worked on I would say three main topics. One of them is, as you mentioned and I think that that is a good point to talk about, is the Azure Architecture stuff, where we have the Cloud Adoption Framework and enterprise-scale. That’s something. I also did a lot of work around obviously hyper topics, like hyper Cloud topics like Azure Arc. I think we talked about that in one of the video when it was announced.

Thomas Maurer:
And then obviously try to help people learn about Azure and Cloud technologies and stuff like that, so same things you do. I think that is the main things I’m currently working on. And I’m really happy about what we did with the Cloud Adoption Framework and the changes we have there, and the new announcements with enterprise-scale to make it easier for our customers to actually get their landing zones ready for Azure deployments.

Mike Pfeiffer:
That’s good stuff, man. There’s a ton in there that I’d like to get into. So number one, Azure Arc, we talked about it a lot in a previous episode, like you mentioned. And to be honest, dude, I haven’t heard a lot about it since Ignite and since we talked about it last. Where are we at with Arc, and kind of what’s going on with that?

Thomas Maurer:
So Arc basically has, well when it was announced, we have basically three parts, right? We have the server management part, we had the Kubernetes Management part, and we had the data services part. And for the server management part, it really allows you to manage servers wherever they are running using the Azure portal. And we got a little bit further there, in a way that it wasn’t private preview. That was the first service you could actually go and just try it out. And we added a couple of features, or better the team added a couple of features there. At the beginning it was just Azure policy, right, to do guest configuration policies and logs. And now you can, for example, also go out and control Azure update management, inventory, and stuff like that, as well as you can start using some of the VM extensions we have for Azure VMs against your On Prem VMs as well.

Thomas Maurer:
And then for the Kubernetes part, that one went actually from private preview into public preview. And that was also very interesting, because a lot of people wanted to have that management basically for the Kubernetes clusters, not only when they run in Azure but also when they run On Prem or even at another Cloud provider. So that was really exciting for a lot of customers.

Thomas Maurer:
And then the data service part, we extended there a little bit. It’s not just now Azure, SQL, and Postgres, it’s also now the possibility to, for example, manage existing SQL server and attach them using Azure Arc. And then use, for example, security centers to scan vulnerabilities of your SQL server far more than just a stand alone SQL server. And I think the reason why probably people did not really hear about Azure Arc is because it’s really just a bridge, really, to start using more Azure services for stuff, which is not in Azure. Azure Arc itself, I think it’s good that we advertise it and we make people aware of it, but at one point it will become like the normal thing. Like I will just onboard resources using Arc, so I can start using these fantastic Azure Management services, for example. I think that is where it’s going.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Got it, that makes sense. And so obviously we’ve got a long way to get lots of people that are still just doing On Prem stuff into Azure, so it’s going to be a long road. And so that sounds cool though, and a lot of awesome capabilities there.

Mike Pfeiffer:
The other thing that you touched on earlier was the Cloud Adoption Framework, right, which is insanely good. I’ve been talking about for a long time. Anytime I do like an architecture workshop or something like that, I’m always like, this is one of the most underestimated resources, because it’s just full of insanely good information. And I saw that you were doing like some kind of event on that. And so curious about your thoughts on Cloud Adoption Framework, how it’s been received by the community and customers.

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah, so for those who don’t know the Cloud Adoption Framework, I always tell people, hey, if you start with Azure in your company and you want to build your environment, go out and check out the Cloud Adoption Framework. Because as you mentioned, it’s kind of like most people, when they go out and they want to migrate or build services or like modernize their infrastructure, they’re looking at architecture in a way that, okay, how do I architect that application. Which services do I put together? However, there’s much, much more, as you know as you like teach as well, to the architecture principles, right? So you can be an application architect, and you can do all of that, but you also need to prepare basically the Azure environments for governance, security, auditing, and all of that. And then also have migration strategies or deployment strategies. Think about not just about how do I design it, how do I implement it, but then also how do I operate it.

Thomas Maurer:
And bringing that all together, that is basically the Cloud Adoption Framework. And what is really interesting, and we did in the last couple of parts, I was talking with the team there, and the event is also about that, is called the enterprise-scale landing zones. So one part of the Cloud Adoption Framework are the landing zone. So that is basically how do I set up my Azure environment, how do I plan that? Like different subscriptions, and like base set up, and how do I architect my, for example, also networking. Now it turns out that this was obviously a lot of effort, or it’s still a lot of effort, for a lot of companies when they do that. And what happened also, what we could see with some customers, they started with something and then at one point they realized, hey, I cannot build on this anymore. And then it becomes very difficult. They kind of have that showstopper, because they did not think about the future too much.

Thomas Maurer:
And so the team went out there and built the enterprise-scale landing zones, which are on two ways. One is like a predefined architecture, how your landing zones can look like. So you get the Visios, and you get how should you do your subscriptions, and how do you set up, which service goes where. But the other thing is also that they added some automation to this. So instead of just then going manually or build all the automation for yourself, they used basically a Azure policy to set up these environments.

Thomas Maurer:
And so you can just go to get up and take one of these repositories, change the configuration files as your set up should be, and then go out and deploy that through your Azure environment. And then that will create the management groups, and that will create the subscriptions and all of that, deploying the different services and so on. And when you want to make changes, it will also just be like infrastructures code. You will just make the changes in these files, and it will also do that for you. So if you say, hey, I need a new management group, it will automatically go and deploy that. So that is, as you can see, makes me very excited right now.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Yeah, totally. Like I said, tons of gold in the Cloud Adoption Framework. I have to echo what you said about people kind of going too fast, and missing some of the guidance in there. Especially I ran into this a lot when I was doing more consulting. Haven’t been doing as much consulting lately, but especially like earlier this year and before all the pandemic broke out and all that, and then last year. A common theme that I would always run into is coming to a customer and they have no naming policy, because they weren’t really thinking about that.

Mike Pfeiffer:
They have no naming policy because they weren’t really thinking about that at the beginning. They were really thinking about subscription design, so everything’s in the same subscription, and just all those little things that, when you’re going too fast, you forget and you miss, and so I would always take them back into the cloud adoption framework, be like, “All right, let’s start over.” Especially the readiness section was always like just tons of gold in there, naming standards and tagging and all the placement of, to your point, management groups, some people don’t know what that is. But the landing zone stuff’s cool, and the one that you mentioned, I just was looking at that Visio the other day. It’s kind of intimidating, man. It’s really robust, right? I’m curious, how was the automation for that? I haven’t spun it out, so was it just blueprints or a combo of ARM templates and stuff like that in Azure policy, or how is that done?

Thomas Maurer:
It currently doesn’t use the blueprint mechanisms. It just uses policy and different set of ARM template and deployment stuff, which can basically trigger, but most of it is just controlled by policy itself. It’s built very natively into Azure, if you will. It’s also funny, when I spoke to people building this, as you can imagine, there are many, many opinions, and as you know, from the cloud adoption framework, there is like… Look, if you have this, we recommend doing this, but you can also do this and this and this. Or if you have that, you can do this and that. For a lot of people, there’s a lot to think about, and that’s why they built these.

Thomas Maurer:
I think there are three architectures right now. One is really the large scale, deploy me basically everything, make me ready for everything, but then you also have to have two other ones. One is like an architecture. The smallest one is like, “Okay, I’m, for example, a startup. I don’t even have on-prem connectivity. I don’t need the whole networking part to be ready in that sense for on-prem connectivity, I can just use that.” But it will still step me up to be ready to move to the next stage. Right? It’s nothing lost. It’s not that if you choose to go through the smallest one, you can not go to the biggest one. It’s really built on top of each other.

Thomas Maurer:
I think where people will do the most is the middle one where we actually get the base layout plus networking. I think that is very key and you can imagine that there we have a little bit more opinion on it. It’s really, okay, this is the way you should do it, and there was not just one team inside Microsoft building this, they actually went out, took a lot of learnings we had from customers, MCTs and MVPs, from the product groups, from the engineering itself to make, okay, this is how it should look like. Right? This is actually the design it should be, and I think that… We have some, obviously, some changes to that as you know, but you get more or less a thing which works for most of the customers.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Makes sense. I had that experience as well. I like that you guys are doing prescriptive guidance, because when I worked at AWS, anytime I tried to write a white paper or build an architecture reference, if we would give people too many options, they wouldn’t use it. Right? If you gave them 10 templates, like, “Hey, pick this one or pick this one, or maybe you want to do this,” no one would use it because they’re just like deer in the headlights. They’re like, “Well, I don’t know what to do.” I love that you guys are giving me very prescriptive guidance because people need that to get going. Even though there’s lots of opinions out there, we want to know from Microsoft what’s the official way and things that we should be thinking about, so I love that.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Now, one of the things that you touched on there, ARM templates, people love to have opinions about infrastructure as code tools, right? One of the big things that’s being talked about is flexing those biceps. Azure Bicep? Is that what it’s called? Is that the new thing? Could you tell us a little bit about that? Because I don’t think most of us have really had a chance to dive into it.

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah, absolutely. This is actually a super interesting topic because this is just something we really that grow out I think a couple of weeks, and basically gave it out as an open source tooling. What it actually is, or what we try to address is that, as you especially also know from writing a lot of ARM templates, it takes a lot of time and it’s not that easy, and ARM templates can get very complex. It can be a lot of code you actually need to read. It’s not that you look at it, if you add a couple of resources in there, it can get very long template.

Thomas Maurer:
Now, what Bicep tries to achieve and the team really looked at different options how to do that, is basically making writing ARM templates easier as well as make sure that the template itself is easier to read later on so you can actually see what’s going on. It’s still based on top of ARM. There’s not another abstraction layer going on or something like that. That was very important to the team, and especially also to the architecture team within Azure, which designs the whole Azure solutions. They didn’t want to have another abstraction layer or something like that. Right now, it’s really about making it easier, and so there are a couple of tools you install for visual studio code and then you get some really cool tools and you write basically your Bicep’s file instead of the ARM template, and then you build it. You build basically the ARM template, which you then can fire against Azure.

Mike Pfeiffer:
That makes sense because you guys have made massive investments in ARM templates. There’s just so much automation out there. When it comes to not just doing basic automation, but doing marketplace work, and if you’re an ISV, it’s important. It’s cool that those investments are still valid, and so the Bicep, I don’t know, we call it a framework, that just gets people in the game a little bit easier than having to learn all of the JSON and the friction that comes with ARM template development. Right?

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah. Exactly. There are so many things which were important for the team, and obviously the focus really making it easier. That was number one concern was, okay, ARM is great, and obviously Azure Resource Manager is a fantastic tool we have, but again, writing these templates is difficult and that is what Bicep tries to address, or one part that it tries to address.

Thomas Maurer:
It’s also not, again, I can’t stress this enough, it’s not something which the team was still looking at, like what kind of different solutions are there, what can we use, what should we reuse? There are some things which people think of. Again, one part was very important, that it’s not another abstraction layer or anything. You don’t have to, if there’s a new feature, which is then obviously in Azure Resource Manager already available, you don’t have to wait until a Bicep update ships. It will be immediately available for you in Bicep to write. That’s a very important part.

Thomas Maurer:
The other thing, which I get a lot of questions on, is Bicep designed to go out to basically and do other things too, right? Is it designed to then suddenly manage multiple clouds or whatever? Or is it to manage other resources? For example, similar things as Terraform is doing, and that’s clearly not the case, right? It’s really making it great for, if you work with Azure on creating infrastructures code, that is what it’s intended to do.

Thomas Maurer:
However, when the teams that says that, I always think, "Okay, if you then think about what our hybrid story is, if you use Arc and things like that, you could actually go out and, since we use Azure Resource Manager as a control plane for other things outside of Azure, you can actually use ARM templates or then Bicep as well, obviously, to write this configuration for other things, too. But again, that’s just the thinking. It’s, again, not out there to just let you go on-prem and you just use Bicep or something for your own prem resources. That is not the idea. It’s really, again, to make Azure Resource Manager better.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Yeah. Very cool, man. I love the name, too, because it feeds right in off that ARM concept. It’s very cool. We’ll have to keep an eye on that. Is there going to be more detailed shared? If the people are listening to this and they’re like, “Man, I got to catch up on Ignite training videos or whatever sessions.” Is there going to be more revealed about Bicep?

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah, there is definitely more. It’s very early on, right? You can go to a GitHub repository, so we made it open source so you can actually see what’s going on, and the team has certain milestones to deliver more and more features. We also want feedback very early on so we can actually learn and say, “Hey, what do people like, what they don’t like,” because we don’t want to make a lot of breaking changes later on in the stage. We really want to do them as early as possible. That’s why the team made it available. We did not do a big announcement or anything. I think there was no blog post going on or something like that. The reason for that is we don’t want customers to use it also in…

Thomas Maurer:
The reason for that is we don’t want customers to use it also in production right now. It’s really a preview very early on available for people to try out and provide feedback, but don’t build something in production because there will be no support right now and the chances are high that things will break. Well, not high, they’re basically guaranteed that some things will change in the future.

Mike Pfeiffer:
At the end of the day though, high-level configuration language, it’s easier to read and write, and that’s going to compile down to just give you a JSON ARM Template at the end of the day?

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Very cool. All right. So switching gears, I think a lot of the people listening to this show that are paying attention to Azure have seen your certification study guides, you’ve got so many awesome blog posts in general, but the study guides have been insanely useful. Certification is a big topic in our community, obviously it’s one of the training focuses that we do over at CloudSkills, and so I’m looking at your shirt, it says Microsoft Learn. I’m curious, I understand you guys are working on a lot of stuff, but is there anything you can share about what’s going on in that front to help people study? I know that there was big plans for Microsoft Learn, and stuff like that.

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah. Yeah, so Microsoft Learn is really a free learning platform where you can actually go out and do learning paths depending on… Not necessarily on a certification, but on different technologies or different skills you want to learn, and not just limited to Azure. Really, it’s about all Microsoft in there. You have different modules, and you can filter them, and you can do them, and the great thing about it is you not only get texts, in some of them you get a little bit of video. You also get these things called Sandboxes so you can actually go out and try out Azure basically without having an Azure subscription or without needing a credit card or anything. You get that Sandbox for I think two hours a day or something, you can use it so it can [inaudible 00:19:54] use it, but you can use it.

Mike Pfeiffer:
That’s huge, man. That’s a hard thing for a lot of people, especially when they might not have a credit card to set up a trial or get a subscription of their own, they might not have it at work. That’s really cool. I didn’t realize it was two hours a day, that’s awesome.

Thomas Maurer:
I think it’s two hours. Maybe it could be even more, but again, they have certain limits to the tech people who try to abuse it in certain ways.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Yeah, right. Yeah. That’s always good. You’re always going to have that, right?

Thomas Maurer:
Exactly, exactly. I think some people tried to do Bitcoin mining and stuff on it, and that’s clearly not the intent of this platform. Yeah, so this is great, and what we also can see is that obviously you can go there by yourself and try it out, but I also see it as an extension. If you have, for example, your trainers, you do stuff with them and you want to go in this topic a little bit deeper or have a recap for yourself, you can actually go out and try one of these modules and see if you got the information, and then you could go back.

Thomas Maurer:
Basically what I do when I train or try to train some people, I tell them, “Okay, you go out try this, and then you come back with your questions and we work on this together.” It’s extending actually the learning, it’s another opportunity to learn for people. What we also have recently, I think we launched it at Microsoft Build, it’s called Learn TV, and what that is is basically a 24/7 live stream of videos. It can be learning videos, can be interviews, can be live streams, for example, I think our developer friends they sometimes do a live stream on deploying certain things or creating certain things. That is also something we recently launched, and we’re working on to make it better so people can actually go out and watch that as well.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Very cool, man. Awesome resources. Following on that though, I have something I’d like to ask you because I think, just in my experience of dealing with so many people in this space, knowing your background, a lot of people… And I always preach this too; absorb the information and then apply. Apply what you’re learning, go out there and then either implement it hands-on, or even teach it. I think teaching it back is also a great way to just wire it in. You’re obviously a big proponent of that, and so in your experience, maybe some tips for folks that might want to get into that game of maybe doing a blog or maybe doing a YouTube channel, you mentioned live stream, any kind of stuff like that. You’ve done so much content creation, any tips for people that might be brand new to that, that want to get into it?

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I still try to figure it out, as you know, it’s always something. You learn on the go all the time, you need to [inaudible 00:00:22:38]. From my side, and again, I’m sure you have actually the same experience because you also do a ton of a lot in that space, I think what is important is that you have fun with it. It needs to be something you actually enjoy doing. It’s not always going to be fun, but it should be mostly fun and you should be able to be consistent. The big challenging part really is about being consistent. What I mean with that is that if you say, “Okay, I’m going to start a blog,” don’t just write three blogs in the first week or first month, and then don’t do anything for the next three months or something like that.

Thomas Maurer:
You should set yourself a goal like blog every week or twice every week or maybe you say, “I will do every month,” or whatever, but try to be consistent in what you’re doing. Be aware that it will take some time until you see the success of it because the [inaudible 00:23:38] people they started, then they think, “I have now written eight blogs, and now I should blow off, the numbers should go out of the roof,” and things like that. Well, that’s not how it happened to me. I remember I just looked at statistics a couple of days ago and I saw that my blog basically for the first two, three years, there was nothing really happening. A couple of people reading it, but really low numbers, and then suddenly over time you get that reputation.

Thomas Maurer:
Again, when I speak about blogs, you can also do other things. For example, YouTube is very interesting, doing videos, LinkedIn obviously, or just taking all the social platforms. However, I’m always a big fan of owning the platform my content lives on because then nothing really can happen to it. That makes it also sometimes a bit difficult. Again, if you start a blog, you will not have many people finding your blog at the beginning. If you go on YouTube you have the algorithms may be helping you, and you have people already on YouTube consuming that. Those are things I tell people when they ask me about what they should consider when it comes to content creation.

Thomas Maurer:
Now I really want to also highlight the part where collaborations, try to collaborate with others. That can mean share other stuff, do linking, link other resources, make sure if someone has great content help them because it’s not going to be like, “I sent that person to this guy, and now he’s just following that person and he doesn’t care about me.” No, no, not the case that will happen. It really helps if you promote others, they will also start promoting you and you will grow in that space. I think that is also something very important people need to think of.

Mike Pfeiffer:
I agree, man. Those are great tips, those are insanely good. Consistency, and especially the last piece you were talking about. All of it was good, but man, you just reminded me of what I’m supposed to be doing. I appreciate that, that’s awesome. Really good advice. Especially the last part about collaborating with other people because I’ve ran into a couple of things lately where people are getting a little us versus them, or… What am I trying to say here? Not celebrating somebody else’s win. If somebody else is winning, you should be happy for that person and then collaborate with them, not making it a divisive thing because the more reciprocity that’s in the mix, just to your point, it’s only going to amplify whatever is you’re working on. So, awesome advice. Own your own platform is a really good thing too, I love that.

Thomas Maurer:
It’s the same thing you do, right? You built this platform with the videos and the live streams, you invite others and you give others a chance to take on your reach and get out of that, but then on the other hand they hopefully also again come back and they promote your live stream as well. It definitely helps, and again, there’s enough space for everyone to create something awesome. As you said, I love that one, celebrating the wins of others. I think that is important, not be jealous, but really help others because again, I heavily believe in karma, whatever you do it will come back to you. If you do good things, you will get that as well. If you bring traffic to others and help them to get the views, it will do the same for you.

Thomas Maurer:
… to get the views, it will do the same for you. And again, you’re creating awesome content as well so I always appreciate it. I try to … I think it’s always or very often on Fridays I try to tune in. Is it correct, right, the live stream?

Mike Pfeiffer:
Yeah, we do live streams a lot of times on Friday. It’s been a while since we’ve done one, but I appreciate that. And I would say the same to you. Countless times we’ve shared your study guides and stuff with the community at large, but also our customers, and it’s been really well-received. Keep doing the good work.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Let’s switch gears, though, because I have something else I want to ask you. Going in a little bit of a different direction, coming back to the cloud adoption framework, one of the things that I saw, and I was talking about this recently on a talk, it was just an architecture talk. I was talking about cloud adoption framework and the well-architected framework that you guys recently started publishing.

Mike Pfeiffer:
The reason that really hit my radar is because we had that at AWS, and now you guys have got the same kind of guidance, and I actually like the competition between the platforms and the similarities that pop up because it gives people a reference point, because if I saw that at AWS, now I see it over at Microsoft and it clicks for me. But I’m curious, how is the well-architected framework different than the cloud adoption framework at Microsoft?

Thomas Maurer:
That’s always interesting. And I also agree, again, I had not much to do, or I have not a lot of involvement in the well-architected framework. The thing there is as you said, but that’s great that use the same names, right? And in this case, again, I think it made it easier for people to understand what it is in a certain way.

Thomas Maurer:
I would say on a very high level, and I’m not sure if I’m really taking the marketing part out of it, if I do it to what marketing would say, but for me personally, when it comes to, for example, the cloud option framework, it really is not necessarily focused on designing certain application types or scenarios, right? It’s really to build this cloud foundation and prepare the landing zones and get some operations in it and all that, not really focused on what you’re actually going to deploy on later, right? And for me, the well-architected framework is more focused really on, okay, how do I do the right architecture for this specific application or service or design? That is kind of on a very high level how I see it.

Mike Pfeiffer:
That makes sense. That was kind of how I was thinking of it was the well-architected is more theoretical and maybe cloud adoption framework’s a little bit more tactical. It’s got some theory, but it’s also got some stuff to help you implement, so that’s awesome. I actually remembered what I was going to ask you. I’m going to go back to that. What’s the best career advice that you’ve ever gotten?

Thomas Maurer:
Oh wow. That is very difficult. I got so many great advice during the thing. I never really thought what was the best one. I would say the best recent advice I always get is … I don’t think I should use the words the person said it in, but basically don’t be a mean person. I use different words now, but-

Mike Pfeiffer:
I think we can understand what the other person said. Okay. I get it.

Thomas Maurer:
Because again, you’re not helping anyone, even though if someone does something bad, right, and that happens a lot and people are also going to be mad at you, I mean, you run the platform, you know that you sometimes get bad comments as well and instead of reacting in a bad way back, I always tried to be very polite, even though obviously I take it very serious and I’m also like … but that is I think something we can all have together is like, okay, try to be polite to everyone, try to be not working against each other, that I take really … Just be a nice person, because as we said, if you do good things, good things come back.

Thomas Maurer:
I think that is what really makes sense in career life, because then also what happens with that is also you don’t burn bridges, right? You don’t go out and I don’t know how it is in the US. It’s probably, because you’re a larger country, it’s a little bit different. But in Switzerland, Switzerland is so small. The IT world is even smaller, so you see each other in IT in Switzerland, we always say, “You don’t see each other twice. You see each other at least three or four times.” When you get a bad reputation, then this will follow you at one point. And I think it also makes your life easier. It makes you much more happier than if you’re mad at others and show that, right?

Mike Pfeiffer:
That’s solid advice, man. And I agree a thousand percent. Treat people like you want to be treated. It’s a golden rule. Well, we know that, right? And so sometimes we need a reminder though to do that, so I love that. Now, on the other side of that coin, what’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten career-wise?

Thomas Maurer:
I knew this was coming and I was trying to think of what … To be honest, I always say to myself I don’t get bad advice. Even if the advice is bad, I will figure out that it’s bad and we’ll use it as something not to do, right?

Mike Pfeiffer:
That’s actually a great takeaway though, just turning a negative into a positive, looking for the upside in every situation. That’s a great hack for somebody to take away from someone like yourself that’s super successful. I love that.

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah. Oh, thank you. But yeah, no, I was always thinking, I got back, I got a similar question at one point from someone else, like, “From who did you learn the most in your career?” And I spent then a couple of hours later after the interview thinking about it, who actually did what to me and were there people who did more for me than others.

Thomas Maurer:
And at the end, I was like, even the people who did silly things, they were also helpful to me because I could see also the things not to do, right? At the end I could learn from something from everyone. I learn all the time from someone, not just technology part, but also behavior and things like that. And I think that is also most importantly for me is to have good examples, right? I’m someone who looks at others and takes them as an example and some parts are good, some parts of probably not so good and then try, okay, okay, I learned something without … If something happens to you, then you’ll learn something, right? But if something happens to someone else, you can also see and learn from that as well, right?

Mike Pfeiffer:
Yeah. I love that, man. Great advice. As we wrap this up, where should we send people? We know your blog’s out there, but what’s the blog? Where else should we send people? And also, we know Ignite’s going on. Anything we need to look for and add to the show notes?

Thomas Maurer:
Yeah, so absolutely. People should definitely go to ThomasMaurer.ch. That’s the URL of the blog. And then obviously follow me on Twitter. I think that is the most interactive place I am is if you go to just my Twitter handle is @thomasmarer, but then you can also find me on LinkedIn and Facebook as well if you want to. And then for Ignite, I think just join. You can go to the platform. You can also watch the recordings from Ignite. We’ll see some fantastic sessions. You can enjoy some new features, but we have a lot of other sessions as well, a lot of community-driven sessions and table talks. I think that would be a good place to go as well.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Awesome. We’ll link it up in the show notes. Thomas Maurer, as usual, man, really appreciate the chat. Appreciate what you’re doing out there. Thanks so much. We have to have you back sometime.

Thomas Maurer:
Thank you very much, Mike, for having me. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you. Again, also one of the person that I always learn a lot, so keep up the good work and hopefully see you another time.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Likewise, my friend. Take care.

Mike Pfeiffer:
Hey everybody, if you want to keep up with what’s going on in the cloud, we have a weekly email newsletter called Cloud Skills Weekly, and you can subscribe for free by going to cloudskills.io/subscribe. Every single week, I’ll send out my five best tips and resources that cover what’s going on in the cloud. We’ll focus on Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and more. Topics will include things like cloud architecture, application developments, containerized applications, dev ops and automation, certification strategy, career tips, and more. If that sounds awesome to you, head over to cloudskills.io/subscribe and join the Cloud Skills Weekly Newsletter today.

Subscribe to the CloudSkills Weekly Newletter

Get exclusive access to special trainings, updates on industry trends, and tips on how to advance your career in the tech industry.