Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Darrell Webster

Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter


Darrell.jpgDarrell Webster - MVP and Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Connections. That’s me in one word. I make them between people, productivity tools, communities and ideas. I’m a Business Analyst and Change Management practitioner for “Adopt and Embrace”. I am also a co-founder of RE:Office 365, a collective publication, live-streamed discussions and stories about life in Office 365.


Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, I believe that distance and time zones don’t have to be barriers to contributing to a technical community. I was inspired by a talk given in 2012 showing me how little I really knew about Microsoft Office. But I know how to learn, document, work with and learn from people. Most of all, I know how to encourage community. I followed my long-time interest in cultivating team productivity and joined a couple of online communities. Here I am. Darrell as a Service, at your service!


You can find me on:



Q&A with Darrell:


If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting their career in IT, what would you tell them?


Darrell: I would start by asking them why they started a career in IT. Some of us gravitate to this career because of our interest in technical things. I am the guy that my family looks to with questions about their computer. But I’m also a guy who likes to talk with people. Starting my IT career, I needed to realize that I cannot and will not know everything. But if I focus on what interests me and do a few things well, I will grow. The path of my IT career hasn’t been solely a technical one. It is also a developmental journey in learning how to communicate. My advice is to focus on skills that you enjoy and challenge yourself to communicate, present, and facilitate discussions. Make sure you develop your technical AND communication skills in parallel.


Tech communities are incredibly active. What role do these communities play in your career?


D: I believe technical communities are a vital channel for learning and keeping up to date. Particularly in the Cloudy world of technology. Sure, you could take an online course or read a book. The difference between an online course, books, and a community is that you’re learning from interactions in a community. Books and courses, you’re receiving, practicing and applying. In a community you’re asking, exchanging, refining and applying. With a course, someone must keep that material up to date. In a community, conversations keep you up to date.


Technical communities are vital to me. Over the last 3 years, I have worked remotely from my team members. We use tech to keep in touch. But I have also learned and been inspired by conversations in the community. The connections I have made with people are so varied and valuable, I would find it difficult to keep motivated without them. There are sometimes periods of time when I’m too busy to check into a community and chat. But when I do make time, I never regret it. So, make time to be part of a community, a user group, social network and connections. Find a few sources and check in at least once a week.


What is the most challenging part of your role?


D: There’s a constant battle to balance where to spend my time. I can very easily fill up our day with meetings, or working reactively. I can look back on a day and realize I haven’t been in touch with my team members. It’s very easy to let technology, change, and requests from people determine the activities of your day.  I must discipline myself to plan at the beginning of the day and work the plan. I’m the kind of person who can follow inspiration while it’s flowing. But when I make time to step back, reflect, and plan, it keeps me in balance. When I work on a task, I like to try to have more than one purpose for the outcome. If I’m in the middle of a task, I might occasionally be inspired towards a dual purpose for the output of the task. But I’m more likely to see those possibilities if I step back and evaluate.


Outside of the sessions, what part of Microsoft Ignite 2017 are you most looking forward to?


D: I look forward to the discussion that is “ignited” from the sessions. I will watch a few videos of sessions I have missed. But being at Microsoft Ignite in-person, I enjoy talking with others about what they have learned and what reactions, thoughts and ideas they have from attending the conference.


How do you go about building your schedule for Microsoft Ignite?


D: I have been slow to build my schedule. I usually take a greedy approach and fill it up with everything that looks interesting, regardless of double bookings and lack of a teleporter to get to sessions across the huge event.


Why should people follow you for Microsoft Ignite coverage?


D: Microsoft Ignite is much more than sessions and announcements. I’m going to be talking with conference delegates and sharing their conversations. I’m teaming up with fellow reporter and REgarding 365 contributor, Alistair Pugin. Together, we will be doing our best to bring the Microsoft Ignite attendee experience to you. If you join live via Periscope, we’ll get answers to your questions, taking suggestions and showing you what you ask to see.


There will be interviews with some recognizable personalities in the Microsoft world. We’ll deliver our REgarding 365 Live webcast from the Microsoft Podcast Studio at the conference. There will be some Live blogging within sessions and follow up interviews with speakers and attendees. We’ll also catch up with others from REgarding 365 team to get their perspective.


The ideas keep coming… stay tuned. No really. Follow @REgarding365.



8 Replies

Re: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Fantastic work Darrell. Proud to be a contributor to Re:Office365. Look forward to continuing to conversation at Ignite.

Re: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Thank you @Simon Terry. The prep and ideas are taking some long hours. But I can sleep on the plane home :)

RE: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Congrats. Looking forward to hopefully meeting in person Darrell.

Re: RE: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Thanks Graham. We definitely plan to visit your booth and thank you for your support, providing the meeting room to multi-cast to our live audiences.

Re: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Congrats Darrel. Looking forward to meeting you in Orlando. :)

Re: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Congratulations to you. Hope I get to connect with you in Orlando

Re: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Great job covering MS Ignite, Darrell. Fun to see you at the parties!

Re: Introducing Darrell Webster – Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Thank you David. It was an amazing experience. I learned so much from the Microsoft Live Show team, and the Podcast team. I met some smart and interesting attendees who shared their thoughts and stories with me. I had so much fun with the other reporters and the REgarding 365 team. 


One of my highlights was running a very succesful Tech Community Meetup. It was a basic format, but attendees got involved, making new connections with people at their table. We all learned more about keeping up with change in Office 365. To top it off, my attempt to live stream the experience was a success, using Pexip, Surface Hub, Skype4B mobile and Periscope/YouTube. 

If you want to read more about it and view the archived Live footage, I have updated my session page -