Heather Newman: Hello everyone. Here we are for another episode of the Mavens Do It Better podcast where we interview extraordinary experts who bring a light to our world, mavens in our world today. I'm super excited to have a wonderful colleague on, uh, Maarten Visser who is coming to us from, are you in Den Hauge in the Netherlands? Is that right?
Maarten Visser: Yes, well actually very close to the Hauge. It's just this, you could say like a server. Yes. The Hauge, the Netherlands.
Heather Newman: Yes. I've actually been there, believe it or not. So, um, I took a driving trip on a site visit and I drove there and I went to Gauda or Gouda as we say here, the place that makes the yummy cheese. So I know your area very well actually.
Maarten Visser: That's good. Yeah. Well, I'm, I'm super excited to be here in your show and, uh, have a, have a nice conversation.
Heather Newman: Absolutely. Yeah. Uh, Maarten and I have known each other for a long time now. Um, both working in technology together in SharePoint land together. And, um, I would say digital transformation land together, uh, seeing each other at many events. Um, I can't, I'm trying to figure out when we met, it's been awhile. I'm trying, I was trying to think about that and I know it's at some event, but it must've been somewhere in Europe. I'm sure. So yeah.
Maarten Visser: But it could also be like a SharePoint, um, a SPC event in the US, that, that, that might also be one of the first acquaintances.
Heather Newman: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, so yeah, so, and, and something else to announce that's really fun, uh, is that Maarten and I are both, um, community reporters for the upcoming Microsoft Ignite Conference, which is the largest conference for IT pros in the world. And that is coming up, uh, starting on November 4th and Maarten, will you tell everybody what, what the community reporter uh, dealio is? Will you tell everybody about that?
Maarten Visser: Um, you mean like what the story is about us being called Ignite community reporters? Yeah. Well. Um, I guess we're, we are part of the live stream, um, where, uh, it's multi day and we will be interviewing people about certain, uh, technologies and, and, and certain things happening in the community or specific Microsoft events happening. And, um, we are out there doing interviews with Microsoft employees and MVPs and getting some quality content out of whoever we're talking to.
Heather Newman: Yeah. And attendees and sponsors and all as well. I believe. So it's, it's sort of a, we'll, we'll have, um, scheduled things that we're doing, uh, during the live streaming and, you know, catching sessions. But, um, it's also, um, part of the community reporter charter to, you know, capture as much content and talk to as many people as possible. And, uh, uh, Maarten and I, uh, so gosh, I think that was SharePoint conference maybe when you brought your kit. And we were at, uh, Microsoft Teams mixer and, uh, Maarten grabbed me and said, Hey, do you want to be on a video? And I said, sure. And I was so impressed with your setup, um, and how you do things that you made it look effortless. I thought. So how long have you been doing video and that kind of thing?
Maarten Visser: Uh, well I've, well if we go back down that road, I would like be an 11-year-old getting a camera from my father. And uh, just, um, back then when I was 11 the video cameras were the size of uh, wow. Uh, like the, of the, almost the same size as the professional ones now that you have, that you're using TV. So, so as, as an 11 year old, I would hit the streets with my friends and we, we put stickers on the camera from a famous TV show, uh, locally. And then we, we, even then, it was so funny. It's, so I'm talking early eighties here. Where we were interviewing people and they actually thought that we were the real deal, uh, interviewing them for the show. Because it was also a [inaudible] show and just walking the streets with a big camera made you look authentic and being from TV. So it goes back that far. And then when I was a teenager, I, I was always the funny guy who was traveling with a video camera when we actually went, even with that, like for parties or, or specific events. So I have a long range of, of videos that are, I was doing. We were also making fun. So like we're, we're like recording sketches and these kinds of things, but regarding video like doing videos and, uh, recording videos for, for Microsoft events. It started in 2015 when I took that, I started to, to, to trial and then do that seriously. Uh, but, um, I, I tried some, some stuff, but it didn't really took off and I, I ignored it again. And then about three years ago, um, yeah, it was it or two, two years ago when, when LinkedIn video was announced, I thought, this is gonna be my platform. Um, two, two years ago, and that was like Ignite 2017, uh, then I really started doing that actively and since then I am also having a weekly or monthly videos or, and when there's an event or was something an important announcement happened, uh, I started doing the recording. So, yeah, more seriously for the past two years.
Heather Newman: Yeah. That's super cool. Yeah. My dad had a VHS camera that he would carry on his shoulder and he recorded all of my, you know, plays and you know, musicals in high school and I give it up to that man and I, it's probably the reason his shoulder hurts him to this day. Oh my goodness. I know what you're talking about. Yeah, yeah. That's super cool. Yeah, I it, it was just, it was neat to, it's always neat to see how other people, you know, do capture and set things up and whether you're podcasting or whether you're capturing, you know, videos and, you know, the, I think in, in marketing and in the world, like these bite-sized videos are de rigueur, if you will. Um, you know, just to grab some awesome content and put it out there. Um, that's, that's super cool. And, and your background, um, you were a communications major in business, back in the day as well, right?
Maarten Visser: Yeah, that's correct. Yeah. So, I, as like I told today to some, uh, I was at the Microsoft Teams Airlift event today, the first day here in Amsterdam. And, um, for some reason I started chatting with one of the mics with one of the employees who is responsible for the design of Microsoft Teams and all the interaction, UX, and, and, and for some reason, I also started talking about my, my original university that I went to. And, um, the funny story there was that the year that I got in, uh, was the year that that HTML and World Wide Web basically, uh, was announced when it was, became available, HTML 1.0. Uh, so that, that was related to, so, so that's, that's a long time ago. But communications like the first year I started to do that, that, that at, uh, the university. It was a very modern school and, and they changed, um, the module about, uh, developing video texts systems. I don't even know if that would resonate in the US. But these were these systems we could, you could have on your TV or you could dial into them with your modem and you had the number system to navigate to pages. And that, that, that first year they changed that to developing HTML pages. So I always refer to myself as like 50% geek, 50% businessperson, so, so that, that will never leave. So I, I love technology and then finding the boundaries and what can be done and achieved with cutting edge technology that the I, that, that will ever go away.
Heather Newman: Yeah. And you started in SharePoint land, what, around 2001, 2003? I'm not sure. When was your start in the SharePoint world?
Maarten Visser: Uh, actually 2000. Yeah. I, I my, so my first job was in 1999, uh, when I left school and I started to work at, um, a Microsoft System Integrator. And actually my, my first job there was to develop their internal intranet. And so I, I digged into what do I have with this Microsoft technology that I can use to build an intranet? And all through some months we, we build the system or I mostly build the system using site server and web access like 5.0 or something and I combine those two. And then at that some point, uh, I became a, well, I, I business consultant, technical consultant uh, building, uh, these kinds of things like workflows on Outlook and, and, and, and portals using this. And then in 2000 like a year later, I got my hands on the Tahoe, the SharePoint 2001 BETA. And then that's when it started.
Heather Newman: Right. And you've been deep ever since.
Maarten Visser: I do really have like every imaginable role in the SharePoint project. Uh, and from, from, um, mostly of course the most value I can provide as a, as a business consultant, really transforming organizational needs to, uh, to, to the, to the technology that could be used to, to support those needs. But I've done deep IT pro, farm, multi-farm, clustered sequel installations. I've done project management, I've done, um, solution architectures, migrations, any possible thing. Um, I stopped doing most of those because yeah, like most people, some things you can do pretty well and some you're not that good at. Um, but yeah, it's been a while and it's been an amazing journey. Most of the time it was not feeling like work, but just building cool stuff with, with nice technology. Um, of course we are surrounded with SharePoint workflows or InfoPath, uh, there's, there's always multiple loads attached to it, but yeah, SharePoint has been the North star in almost everything I've done for the past 20 years.
Heather Newman: Yeah, I hear ya. It's definitely been a star in my life as well, for sure. So, and you and I have a, a mutual love of music, dance music specifically. And I was seeing that you were building an eCommerce platform for dance music. What was that all about?
Maarten Visser: Yeah, so, so I was talking 1993 when I had my first year of my, uh, a communications, communication systems, uh, major, uh, after doing one year of marketing, commercial economy. Uh, which, uh, I didn't like because I also had to do business administration and that's not me. So, um, so in 1994, um, we had this, well I was reading Wired and, and, and, uh, getting all psyched up about this global village and what we could do with it. And, and back in those days, I was part of the, what we called house music. Um, when I was like 15 years old, house music here in the Netherlands was, was, was really like the underground, uh, movement that just really like, it had the feeling like it was like an alternative movement. And it was, was a great time to be as a teenager where we were, we had these, uh, illegal raves and we had these big first parties.
Maarten Visser: Uh, and, and of course I had these beautiful computers sitting at home. I, I was a Commodore guy. So, uh, back in those days I had a Commodore Amiga and I was listening to that music since 1988 when first we had a New Beats coming from Belgium. And then we got these, For the Vibes from Chicago. Uh, yes, so much great music. So that, that's the music I loved and I grew up with. And of course when I was like 15 years old, I go to my first parties. I was hooked from the start. Um, but then of course you had these trackers, these, these, these, uh, uh, sequence, uh, where you could load in samples on your, on your Amiga and you could start making music with them by, uh, sequencing those, uh, those beats and making your own samples. And of course sampling all the records and the old hip hop and all those kinds of these kinda things.
Maarten Visser: So, um, at one point we, I think, I think it was like 15 years old and we had this party at school and, um, I, somebody said, I heard you talk about doing music with your computer, could you make like a theme for, for, for the school party. So then I, well got a little bit more serious about it and I made this, this, this track, this, this well house music track on with some samples, Mellow Yellow about the name of the party and some funny things. And, um, and then they, of course, they played it during the party and everybody was like, wow! And you, wow, you have to do more of this and the good. And well, OK. So then, um, at some point I start doing that more and more and that, uh, people were dragging me to clubs and with these tapes, you know, the old, the real TDK, um, well, what is it?
Maarten Visser: Cassette tapes. And we, we get those two DJs and at some point, yeah, I even landed a record deal and that was like, yeah, I was in this industry for a couple of years doing techno music and then later you like the, the harder, I actually had a one song which is, but at some point in 1994, um, we were like looking at how hard could you make this music? Like what are the limits, how much BPM can people take? And we were, we were heading to this like 200 BPM, which was like hardcore house music or gabber it was called. And um, I had friends of mine really got into that and then I also started experimenting with it and actually the track I'm most famous for is really a hardcore track. That's funny. That's a funny story.
Heather Newman: That's hilarious. That makes sense to me knowing you and when we are at these events that we definitely enjoy a dance floor. So yeah. But I didn't know the whole backstory. That's amazing. Wow.
Maarten Visser: Yeah. I have a lot of friends who are DJs and it was very bad for, for, for, for my, the 1994 I have failed school miserably, uh, because I had all these, uh, DJ friends and they, I got like, like from, from Thursday to Sunday, I got calls like, Hey do you want to, join us at this party? I have free tickets or come and join me to Germany or Austria. They have to play everywhere. And they're always like, do you want to join me or have some fun? And that's pretty hard to say no when you're a 16, or 17 year old by then.
Heather Newman: Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah. No, I, I definitely, um, yeah, I've been to my fair share of those parties and raves myself. So yeah. But yeah, I think my, my, I think my influence definitely was the deep house that was coming out of Chicago cause I went to high school just outside of Chicago. And so I was exposed to that music fairly early too and just loved it, you know. Um, I think, uh, so Miguel MIGS was here recently and Mar, um, is it Mar, I think you say Marquez Wyatt. Um, he was here as well playing, so yeah, I, uh, they're resident DJs here, which is kind of amazing, but you know, that's kind of Los Angeles if you will. But uh, yeah, it's super cool. Um, wow. I didn't know all that. Thank you for sharing that with everybody. That's cool. Um, you know, I always like to ask folks about technology and obviously we've been talking about tech anyway, but I think, um, what is something that like, uh, I don't know, maybe, and maybe we should talk Teams for a minute because that seems to be the hot, hot new thing, um, that's coming out of Microsoft, but, you know, what is it that you really like about Teams since we're sort of all up in that right now as is it, is it, what strikes you as the best thing about it?
Maarten Visser: Well, can I, I'm going to say three things just to, because yeah. Um, so, so the first one is always being into SharePoint there's this, there were user adoption limitations to SharePoint due to the fact that like the average user had serious problems navigating multiple sites, through the web browser. So, one of the success points of Teams is of course the ability to have a desktop app with, um, a, a more clear way of navigating multiple collaboration environments. And now that people are used to, uh, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and navigating multiple group threads and, and, and, and conversations, they, they got this, this, this, um, way of navigating, uh, multiple contexts, a context to collaborate in their school context or work or family. Um, so that, that grew over the past years. And there's, there's, there's volumes of people on both Facebook and WhatsApp, so it's like everybody in the Western world at some point has now currently has a smartphone and is using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp or maybe a similar, if you're in, in China, it's, uh, one of those, uh, Chinese platforms, WeChat, I think is very big there. So everybody knows how to navigate group conversations now and now we have this brilliant desktop app which allows us to, to, to navigate those, those collaboration environments. And of course these are still in the leaf. Everything is SharePoint. All your files are stored in SharePoint. Then of course you have a persistent chat put on top of it, which is great. So, but that is a very important from a UX perspective that that brings a lot of adoption and that's, that's why it's the most successful application ever for Microsoft regarding growth. Basically due to this number one fact. And I'm really was naming the second point I want to point out which is mobile. So the fact that we haven't or have this, this, this application in our, in our pockets and we can do the same quick navigation and jump towards a specific collaboration context and, and, and, uh, open a document, have a conversation. I, that's extremely powerful. And sometimes even, um, not being given enough attention, how important it is to have this great mobile app that that does it. So, and the third thing would basically be the fact that we're now able to, to collaborate into contacts, which is project contacts or a campaign or a department or a knowledge area to have those key collaboration dimensions basically and have everything like chat and files and applications in that context.
Heather Newman: Yeah, absolutely. I agree with your three points whole heartedly. Yeah, I do. I love it. I, I, it's one of those where, um, I was, I was having that, that fatigue of trying to figure out who was communicating to me where, because you know, there's just like, you don't know who uses Skype, like desktop, versus Facebook or I used to use Skype desktop for so much because I could, you know, you know, talk to someone like you that I, we weren't using our cell phones to call, right. So we could get each other on Skype and people were talking to their families or, you know, people from far away. And then WhatsApp came and totally helped that. And, but I, I mean, I get business conversations happening on Facebook Messenger, on WhatsApp, uh, you know, all over the place and, and used to be messenger and all of that. But I love that the, even like sort of, I, I tend to push people into Teams because that's what I, what I use. And even folks who are sort of fairly, you know, say Google centric or other things, like they're willing to join a Teams as a guest, you know, and interact with me there and have the chats there. And it is the mobile experience for me as well. I mean, you, you're a consultant and I'm, I run a consultancy and a software business and for me, when I travel, I try to do as much as I can on my phone. I have a Surface Pro 6, but which I love as well. But to me, if I can run my business mostly from my iPhone X, I'm very happy, you know. Uh, what do you travel with when you go, um, traveling? What's, what is, what's your, what's your phone and what's your, um, like laptop?
Maarten Visser: So, my, my laptop actually is an HP Spectra. Um, and I, this is actually my third one, I think. Yes. Um, I like it. It's, so it's a 13 inch. Um, currently it, I know it's always the i7 and, and 60 gigs of Ram and that, but it's, it's, it's very, I like it also for the looks. So I'm also like the geek who chooses his devices sometimes based on the looks. Um, but of course it's also splendid, very reliable machine because the last one, if a laptop last for almost three years, that's special. That's, I, I, I in the past, I have laptops that were done in, in, in, in well, uh, one year, one and a half, but for, and of course what we do to do our office DOSC, um, with current, um, chip technology, uh, it, it's makes more sense that they last for three years. But, um, yeah, it's very valuable and I liked them. I have a black one with, with copper on it. It almost looks like Rose gold, but it's copper. Uh, so, uh, yeah, that's my laptop. And currently I'm actually carrying with me two iPhone devices. And, and that's, that's that of course that, ooh, that's actually an interesting story to share. So I have the iPhone X, iPhone 10, for two years now. And uh, two weeks ago I got the iPhone 11 Pro Max as a new friend and of course I took that for, for the camera abilities mostly being, so it's having this great camera in your pocket. And I nowadays always travel with um, um, like, um, what's the name? So I a thing, a rake that I can put it in my camera with a tripod, so I just carry now a tripod and a, and a rig that I can put in there and start instantly record whatever I'm doing. And of course having this camera is great to do so.
Maarten Visser: And now I have a bigger screen, so bigger view finder because a lot of videos that I've done was just using the front face of the camera, which if you're doing YouTube videos at a thousand ADP, that's most, that's fine enough. Or for LinkedIn that's, that's good enough. And having the viewfinder, like, like you said, like I liked your setup because it looked so easy, is that one of the things that I have been doing through trial and error is, is finding a setup, which if I just hit record, it would work. So within one minute I haven't timed it, but in one minute I can put my phone in the rig, put it on the tripods, uh, put in, uh, uh, wired lever to put on my, uh, on my coat and it will work flawlessly. There's, there's not so much things that can go wrong and I can see myself on, on the screen. So I know my positioning and I'm off to go. So in a minute, two minutes, three minutes, I'm ready to, to go and have a semiprofessional recording. Uh, and that's, that's important. That's why I also use these, these phones. But the funny thing is, of course, I was planning to replace my old iPhone with the new one. And, and pretty quickly after a couple of days, I felt like, no, I don't want to let go of this one. I want to keep both. And, uh, one of the funny reasons is the app that I'm using to do recordings, Filmic Pro also allows to use a second phone to do a secondary screen. And I've been doing that with an iPad, but then I have to get out my iPad and now I have just the phone, which can also be the viewfinder. So I can use the, the camera on the back, which would even have more quality and use the view finder on my, on my second phone. The second thing is that I'm starting to use the big one, the Max, the 11 Pro Max as a, as a PDA. So in the past I have always been traveling with a phone and a PDA that even goes back like, like 25 years, maybe even longer when I had this Scion 3a. Um, which, which was like this foldable, uh, device that allowed me to do note-taking and have my agenda and contacts in it. Yep. And ever since I had it at some point I had these were replaced by Microsoft mobile devices. So I had, I had multiple of these, these Microsoft, uh, mobile devices to do the same workload and like taking notes. And at some point they had pens and I did writing on it or, but mostly it's just note taking and agenda, uh, which was pretty crappy in the beginning days. Of course, if you had a traditional Nokia phone, these agendas were very crappy and forget about note taking. Um, so of course we, we with iPhone, uh, at some point you could do note taking there. But so, the interesting thing that's happening now is that I'm traveling with two iPhones and I'm usually using one primarily as a PDA and a camera.
Heather Newman: Right. Wow. That's so interesting. Yeah. You just, I'm like Hmm. You just made me go Hmm. Cause I, yeah that 11 does look pretty sweet. So yeah, we'll have to see about that. But um, no, that's super cool. Thank you for sharing that. Cause I think we're always sort of looking for the better way. And I know that, you know, I, I haven't really dug into the whole Microsoft Surface announcements that came out, but all of that was really exciting as well and puts another beautiful wrench into, um, what we all have, I think coming into the holidays for sure .
Maarten Visser: For sure. Yeah. And I can imagine that one of these phones will get replaced by the Neo or Duo that does make sense. So yeah, probably one of these phones is going to be replaced next year by the Surface Duo.
Heather Newman: Yeah. I, yeah, I know. I can't wait to kind of get my hands on some of that stuff too. So. Well, and so one of the other things that Maarten and I were talking about and kind of going back to our positions as community reporters is, um, you know, we, he and I both I think have been talking to other people who've done in the past and watched other friends do it in the past. And, um, it's a, it's a job where you're running a lot, uh, during the week. And, um, we decided, we talked the other day and, um, we said, hey, you know, we're both doing this and we both enjoy each other's company. And so, Maarten and I are gonna do some teaming up, um, for the community reporter, uh, positions we have and see if we can help each other and, you know, with setups and, and, you know, interviewing people and all of that stuff. And I'm really, thank you for saying yes to that I'm really excited about it, by the way.
Maarten Visser: Me too. Yeah. I'm really much looking forward to it and, uh, whether it's just one primary goal in this is to make it a good show. Right? And that's a, also having a buddy to, to, to do some, uh, psyching up before the interview. Yay, you can do it! Go Wild! So that's kinda fun for sure.
Heather Newman: Yeah, I'm excited about that. And working with all of our community reporter buddies. There's 10 of us, by the way. And, uh, if you follow myself or Maarten on social media, we've posted, um, lots of information about the other community reporters and there's actually a Twitter list on my, uh, @creativemavens account, so you can just easily follow all the Ignite reporters for 2019 if you are a Twitter person. So that'll be kind of fun. If you want to catch us all, they're all 10 of us in what we're doing and people are starting already. There's interviews up, already on many folks YouTube channels and, and people are catching them at both the Teams airlifts that are happening, the one that was in Bellevue and the one that's in Amsterdam this week. And there's probably going to be more content coming out before the show as well as live and at the show as well. So that's going to be really cool. Um, you know, Maarten, the last question of all of our, uh, podcasts, um, is talking about sort of looking at, you know, your career and you're a consultant and gosh coming up in the music scene and all the things you've done. Um, I'm wondering if you would share with our audience something, uh, someone or an experience or you know, that really sparked you or inspired you to get to where you are today with us.
Maarten Visser: Yeah, I gave that a little thought when, when you mentioned that you would be asking this question. And actually the funny thing is here that, that I've, I've been, I'm getting sparks every week. So, so the funny thing is I was thinking about it for a minute when you, when you mentioned this and there, there was no particular occasion or person that came up, but I get inspired by people on, on a weekly or a monthly basis. So when I was doing music, it could, could be like Underworld as a, as a UK band that I was seeing live for the first time and was amazingly inspired by the music they were producing live. And I just said like, wow, these guys understand how this is done. I want to try to go closely to whatever they were doing. Uh, and I was very much inspired by, by their music.
Maarten Visser: And when I was at my first Microsoft conference, I saw people speaking about a certain technology and I thought, wow, these, these, these people really know how to give a quality presentation. I want to learn how to do that. And, uh, so it, I, I'm not like having a real particular hero that I, that I had, but I had multiple mid-level heroes throughout my life, which sparked my, my energy to, to push myself to, to the next level in, in, in whatever, I felt like that was something that I wanted to, to do or be, become better at. Um, so it would also be books, just this authors of great books who helped me become aware of certain things since I like, yeah, this is the way that I want to lead my life or, or change certain behaviors or, uh, so, and, and that, that, that's funny enough. That's a certain period, uh, where, where that's like a center and at some point something becomes a habit or doesn't or I changed direction. Then it could be the next thing. So, so that would be my answer. So I've, I, I've picked my influencers and, and, and I throughout my life and, and, and many of those have decided certain change points in, in how I approach life and behave during the day.
Heather Newman: Yeah. Sparks and inspiration all around and as they come, I love it. That's great. Awesome. Well cool. Well Maarten, thank you and thank you for being awesome and being such great friend. Just personally, appreciate that very much.
Maarten Visser: Right back at you. Yeah.
Heather Newman: Thank you. Thank you. So, um, Maarten and I, Maarten and I will be community reporting and um, soon and starting up some more of our own stuff, probably preshow and then definitely at the event. Um, he's on Twitter at M V I S S E R and I'm Hedda, H E D D A N E W M A N. and uh, yeah, we're gonna go have a really good time in Orlando, Florida and uh, help each other, um, make some beautiful content for everybody. So, Maarten, thank you for joining us today. I really appreciate it. And sharing with our audience.
Maarten Visser: I was very, very happy to do so. And I'm very much looking forward to, to the Ignite show.
Heather Newman: Awesome. Awesome. Well, and say hello to everybody there in, uh, In Amsterdam for me, give them a wave. Give them a Heather Hello if you would. So that's great. Cool.
Maarten Visser: I will. Good.
Heather Newman: Awesome. Yay. All right, everybody that has been another episode of the Mavens Do It Better podcast. And we are coming to you from many different channels, your favorite podcasts. Uh, go check it out. Please give us a follow. We love five star ratings on iTunes, if you happen to feel so moved, and here is to a, another beautiful day on this big blue spinning sphere.
Maarten Visser: Oh yeah.
Heather Newman: I love it. We're out.