Dec 31, 2021 5 min read

Pondering over past and future: 2021 edition

Looking back on my life & work in 2021, and what might come in 2022.

Pondering over past and future: 2021 edition

2021 came to an end, and just like I did in 2019 and in 2020 it's time for a reflection on what has happened and what might happen in the future.


I re-read my 2020 recap, unfortunately most of it holds true for 2021 too and the ongoing pandemic had a major role to play in this 😐.

I'm still running Qubix and trying to make it the best company it can be. Unfortunately, the pressure stays and might even have gone up a bit. We are now responsible for 10 amazing people (up from the 6 from last year), and I really want to do right by them in every way.

We're a family of four now, the youngest will be 2 years old soon (yep, right about the age of the pandemic too) and the oldest is 4 (and a couple of months). This comes with its own set of challenges, and it for sure has an impact on everything I can do. They aren't made to stay inside, and the last 2 months have been a bit too much of it: bad weather, I caught COVID, the youngest caught COVID, a prolonged Christmas vacation, closure of all the fun/special things a dad wants to do with kids during vacation, ...

2021 got me my third Microsoft MVP award in the Office Development category, which was a lot less exciting this time as it was a blanket renewal and all MVP's already knew months before that they'd get renewed. It was a nice gesture from the MVP Award team due to COVID and the struggles the community was dealing with, but it did take away some of the renewal excitement.

My public community contributions went down a little:

  • Only 14 blog posts, also 6 less than in 2020. I'm still hitting my average of once a month, but I missed blogging in June, September and November. It's not about the lack of ideas (17 unfinished drafts proof this) but there is less uninterrupted time, and it's shorter.
  • I was Chief Debugging Officer and Chief Emotional Support for ProvisionGenie, being on the side lines cheering on Luise and Carmen with their amazing project (and occasionally also contributing something).
  • 7 conferences, 8 sessions (7 unique ones). 5 online, 2 in-person. I missed CollabSummit due to COVID infection. It made it clear that virtual conferences don't work for me: I am less excited, there is less interaction, it feels like "all the work, nothing of the fun". The numbers are less than 2020, but they feel more healthy for me.

Commsverse and SouthCoastSummit were THE highlights of my community year. Commsverse was the first in-person conference I got to speak at in so long, I met amazing new people and it was a much needed energy boost! The weather was great (sun in England!), the location was special (Mercedes-Benz world, with a racing track) and I also delivered two sessions 😉.

SouthCoastSummit was the second (and last, it turned out) in-person event: amazing road trip with Luise, Carmen and Michael (and we picked up Tomasz from the airport too), we participated in a hackathon, delivered our sessions, got reprimanded in a British sauna (😉), and hung around with so many people we had to miss for so long! Also, I got to finally meet the wonderful Dona Sarkar!

I compensated the decline in public contributions with more private contributions in Product Group Interactions, private meetings with Microsoft Program Managers and giving all over feedback to whomever wants to listen. I learned that I'm described by others as "having no fucking filter" and "glad you speak up, when you are finished I often think that I should've thought about that". I'll take it as a compliment, although not everyone appreciates my candid, direct and unfiltered ranting as an honest aim to make things better 🙂.

My personal health took a backseat to it all again: not enough exercise (averaged 4703 steps a day), not enough relaxing with things not related to my day job or community, not enough me-time.


2021 was supposed to be the year that all went back to normal, and we all know how that turned out. Last year I had hopes that 2021 would be better, now I don't even dare to hope anymore. It's a very sad realization, because for without hope, what do any of us have?, but I cannot deal with the disappointment of yet another plan crashing and burning.

So, not too many big plans yet:

  • Qubix has its targets, of course, and let's see if we can get there. We might be sharing some amazing news very soon already!
  • Again no personal goals this year. I bought a smartwatch so it can shame me every day for my lack of exercise. Let's see if this will bring change or I will just throw it out after a couple of weeks.
  • I will keep doing the community things, both publicly and privately, at my own pace. And I will take EVERY in-person speaking gig I can get, I want to travel again desperately.
  • My family is healthy (again), we're still standing and the goal is to make it another year.
  • We'll take on a big home improvement project, putting some effort in making the garden an actual nice place to be. We're currently in the "we want this, now let's figure out if we can afford this"-phase of the project 😀. It looks like we'll be home more than ever so it better have everything we want, right?

Every nice thing that happens on top of this, plans that do work out, people I can meet and great times that happen are an extra and I will treat them as such.
May 2022 bring what 2021 failed to deliver, and hopefully more!

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