2023 a Year in Review

Tuesday, Jan 9, 2024 5 minute read Tags: year-review

Would you look at that, I’m early this year (well, compared to my 2022 post)!

Admittedly, part of my was somewhat apathetic towards writing this post, mostly because I’m not sure that I have much “interesting” stuff from 2023 to share. But given that I’ve been doing this style of post consistently since 2017 (and sporadically prior to that), I figured I’d just start typing away and see what comes out.


Over the past few years I’ve had a decrease in the number of posts I’ve written here, partially because I’ve been burnt out (see below), but partially because I haven’t felt that I’ve had much “interesting” stuff to share.

There were 22 posts that I wrote last year (ls -l | grep -c "^2023- did the count, thanks GitHub Copilot CLI 😜), but generally speaking, they are part of series that were either ongoing (9 about my smart home journey and 2 about GraphQL) or a new series that I kicked off around Generative AI.

I’m not entirely sure if this is something I expect will change come 2024, maybe I’ll move away from the large (or as my wife would say meandering) blogs that I tend to write and do more short and sharp ones about narrow problem spaces. Or maybe I’ll just get GenAI to write more posts for me, that’s one way to turn the content wheel!

Presenting and Conferences

With the way my role is currently positioned conferences aren’t as big a thing as they once were, so with that I’ve been very selective on what events I’ve been submitting to, and as a result I only gave three talks last year at conferences, with the one I was most proud of being the keynote for DDD Adelaide in which I shared my career as a public speaker and the role that DDD had played in that.

Me presenting the keynote

Image from Lars

I’m a bit sad that this talk wasn’t recorded because it’s probably the talk I’m most proud of giving for a while, but maybe I can convince the organisers of other DDD’s in Australia that it’d be a good talk to have 😜.

Recovering from burnout

Before I wrote my last year in review post I wrote a post about burnout. That was a post that I wrote somewhat spur of the moment, didn’t review and just hit publish - it was just something I needed to get off my chest.

The response I got from that post was very heartwarming. I had dozens of people reach out publicly and privately to offer their support and share their stories. It was a very humbling experience and I’m very grateful for the support I received.

I’m happy to say that I’m in a much better place now than I was when I wrote that post, and a lot of that I credit to the support I received in Cloud Advocacy to tackle what I wanted, which was to move to the .NET team. After I wrote the post our GM reached out to me to discuss next steps (I hadn’t told any of my management chain that I was writing that post, I just did it - maaaaaaaybe not the best move but it was still what I needed to do), and we agreed that I’d move to the .NET team.

And while, as I noted in last years post, there is a bit of irony that managerial change was a large factor in my burnout and my solution was to get a new manager, the decision was very worthwhile. I’m now working with a team that I feel is a better fit for me, and I’m working on things that I’m more passionate about.


Would it come as a shock to anyone if I said that AI was something that became more and more important to us at Microsoft throughout 2023?! 😜

In the first half of the year our team was trying to work out just what would it mean for the .NET on Azure CA team to be involved in AI and our manager was looking for who would lead it. I very much said no, I’ve seen enough fads come and go and I didn’t want to be on the AI hype train.

Well, I’m now leading the AI efforts for the .NET on Azure CA team 😅.

So, what changed? Well, we had a talk that needed to be given as a “Beginners guide to Generative AI for .NET” and I found myself with a bit of bandwidth to do it and I figured that I’d give it a go. With that I started digging more into it, we had some more asks come up from partner teams, and over the next six months I found myself getting more and more interested in it.

I’m still not sure if I’m on the AI hype train, but I’m definitely on the AI train and I’m enjoying the ride. I’ve had the opportunity to build some really fun demos, and I’ve got a few more projects in the works for 2024 that I’m really excited about.

And with that, let’s bring on 2024.

Only some of this post was written by AI - GitHub Copilot + Markdown is awesome!