The Tech Community, from zero to hero (100,000 users) in 12 months


I’ve been involved in the Microsoft community for the better part of 10 years, with my first engagement being that of the first SharePoint Saturday on the African continent, in South Africa, back in 2008, run by my old friend Zlatan Dzinic. Since then, I’ve had a sordid love affair with community.  From running the SharePoint Usergroup in South Africa, to assisting other countries in Africa launching theirs, it’s become part of my genetic existence.


Enter: The Microsoft Tech Community


With the advent of the internet, 6 degrees of separation has been brought down to 2 degrees of separation and this is at the pinnacle of the engagement you will find in the Tech Community.


Not only are you able to interact with fellow users of Microsoft technology, you are also able to engage directly with the product and engineering teams, and also industry experts and influencers. No other technology platform provides people with that level interaction, across the board.


Now that I’ve positioned my love for the Tech Community, I had the fortunate opportunity to be involved with the Tech Community at this year’s Microsoft Ignite as a Community Reporter.





That’s the only word that comes to mind, to sum up what the experience was at Microsoft Ignite this year. As a community reporter, we got to experience what goes into putting together a live show, Day 1 and then inside the mind of Anna Chu as to what she wanted to achieve with the reporter initiative for days 2 through 5. Now what everyone sees through the live show, and the YouTube channel for Tech Community doesn’t even begin to show what really goes into it. Firstly, there was hours and hours and HOURS of prepwork, calls, session updates, interviewee scheduling, reporter kit decisions, location layouts, etc, etc, etc, which all culminated during the week of Ignite.


As a reporter, getting to know the lay of the land, understanding the distances between shoots, which way to stand, what hand to hold the mic, where to look, when to be cued in, listening to yourself speak, as you speak’ so that you pause instead of saying “Erm”, all while maintaining the subject matter and being able to drive an interesting conversation at the same time, takes well, a LOT!


I really enjoyed the conversations with people that we interviewed. My take home was the excitement of everyone involved. Not one single person was not hugely excited to be involved. The viewpoints of the people we chatted to was great as it gave us different insights into not only the conference but also what people thought about the announcements, Microsoft’s direction and the overall event itself.


I’ve been running a podcast, 2 Guys and SharePoint with my co-host Rod Modlin (we did a live show from Ignite in the podcast center) for just over a year now so moving into video streaming and media was an interesting shift into how content is put together, what video shows require, and the type of audience that consumes video content. Content consumption in today’s fast paced world has changed drastically from the days of pure blogging alone. I’ve found audio and video to be a more expressive medium, which people enjoy over having to read traditional blog posts.


Also, being able to keep up to date with what we are terming a “3 week” release cycle opposed to a traditional 3-year release cycle is proving to be the most challenging part of my career. By subscribing to podcasts and shows on YouTube like Regarding365, I’m able to stay current. My suggestion to IT Pros out there is to:

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to follow so please check out peeps on Twitter, Facebook, Medium and other platforms that provide amazing content in various forms.


As a Community Reporter and Microsoft MVP, my passion is Learning Through Sharing. Being able to assist people through the concept of inclusion is what we practice in South Africa as part of the larger Microsoft Community.


There is a Xhosa/Zulu word;


ubuntu (no, not the linux distro) that means: “a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity”.

South Africa is regarded as the rainbow nation and we have an amazing culture of inclusion in the Information and Communication Technology industry.  We practice ubuntu in our daily lives and I believe that, in doing so, we are able to engage everyone more effectively.


In closing, my message to people reading this post, in today’s world, approach what you do like this.


Be cool my ninja’s, See you next year people!


Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
8 Replies

Love the enthusiasm and passion! I'm a massive fan also of the Microsoft Tech Community, with how it's grown and become rather special.  I know that hasn't just happened by accident, a lot of work and energy has gone into building such a space, as well as new resources like the Tech Academy, with I'm sure more to come. It won't be too long until we start talking about 200,000 members!

Thanks Cian. Its been a great journey!

/me wonders how long the homepage will take to load with 200,000 members.

@Anna Chu @Steven Collier


I certainly am, at the time of writing we have 93,913 members. With Microsoft Tech Summits coming up I expect us to exceed 100,000 members this year (possibly before the end of November). For me its not just about collecting members though and so we are working on a number of projects to improve Ideation (the Idea's boards), Ranking and Badges, social interaction (FB, Twitter etc.) and ease of use, to name but a few.


One of the first parts of that was to make the site load quicker and so we have halved the time it takes for the slowest pages on the community to load. This will be an ongoing project as we evolve to ensure we keep all pages loading as quickly as possible, while still providing a compelling reason for you all to come back! 


Our team of Community Managers, myself included, read every comment in the Info Centre will always endeavor to respond.


I love to hear your feedback on things you would like to see improved or added, the best way to submit your feedback is via the Tech Community Idea's board.

Thanks Allen for the update. It's great to hear the work that's happening behind the scenes to make improvements and add features. It would be great to get ongoing updates as this work progresses.

@Cian Allner,


We post updates, which will include changes to the community, to the Tech Community Blog.


If you have any questions or anything you would like to ask then please feel free - as I know you do - to ask in the Tech Community Discussion board.