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LOPSA East 2014 Review

LOPSA East 2014 wrapped up a few minutes ago and I wanted to record my thoughts while they were fresh. This is the first LOPSA East that I have been to, as in the past there wasn’t enough content geared towards me (Windows admin) to warrant a trip down from Canada.

This year I checked out the schedule pretty early on and I saw more Windows material as well as a lot of business-related workshops (presentation skills, management, business navigation, etc.). With the various tracks and recognizing the names of some of presenters, I decided to try it out.

By the end of the first day I was convinced that I made a great decision. I was able to attend Tom Limoncelli’s ‘Evil Genius’ class that focused on dealing with difficult people. The tips he provided within a context familiar to Sys Admins made so much sense. Tom was very interactive and open to any questions or comments the room had. Plus we all got our Evil Genius certificate of completion : )

For the afternoon track, I went into Scott Cromar’s terrific talk about making the transition from techie to manager. We discussed many different issues including delegation, role changes, discipline, as well as how to do deal with being promoted and being your ex co-worker’s boss. I have a copy of his book that I plan on digging into shortly. On top of that, I was fortunate enough to sit next to him at lunch today and we were able to get a literal round-table discussion going on best management practices, and discuss some challenges that others at the table faced.

The second day (today) was filled with a great in-depth primer of Active Directory on server 2012, delivered by Mark Marra. This was a great ‘overview, but technical’ class where we reviewed the core features of Active Directory Domain Services and what each component does. Mark was fantastic at taking questions and making sense of situations where seemingly stupid rules might apply.

After lunch I was able to grab a talk on Meraki hardware (which turned into a great peer discussion), and a talk about presentation skills for technical employees. I made plenty of notes during this talk and hope to put them to good use very soon.

To cap the talks off, I was able to grab Tom’s 5 Time Management Tips talk followed by an exclusive preview of his upcoming book, The Practice of Cloud Administration (due out later this year). He was gracious enough to give us a sneak peak at the content, as well as to ask for our thoughts and opinions on the cover and title. You can let him know what you think about the title by visiting everythingsysadmin.com.

All in all, this has to have been one of the best conferences I have attended. The amount of skill and passion that everyone brought, along with how easy it was to have productive talks with anyone, made this whole conference great. Can’t wait until LOPSA East 2015.