Last week we shared the first of our 2017 Microsoft MVP interviews,
Today’s featured MVP is “Mr. OneDrive” himself, Hans Brender.
With an impressive career as a technical expert and community expert, Hans now represents BitTitan in Germany as an enthusiastic member of the Field Marketing team.
[CB:]Tell me a bit about your area of expertise as an MVP.
[HB:] There is no official title as a OneDrive MVP but people around the globe know me as “Mr. OneDrive.” I’ve specialized a little there, but it’s about communication and collaboration for me.
Collaboration is fun and it can help people save time, but is only functional if the product is functional. I have done Microsoft workshops for midsize and enterprise companies to help them improve collaboration and understand how it works.
In the past, it hasn’t been so easy to store a document. Today, if I have written something on my BitTitan computer, it is available on my Surface as well, even offline on an airplane!
[CB:] What other big changes in technology have impacted and surprised you?
[HB:] Automation is one. It can be very powerful, but sometimes people don’t know if something is real or a machine. I have some young students from Microsoft who followed me on Twitter during a presentation, and they got an automated response. I’m standing in front of them, nothing in my hand, so one asked, “How did you just thank me for following you?”
Not everyone realizes you can automate this stuff — really, if you know what you want to automate, you can do it. In Germany, we call this “the fourth digital state” and some people think we are going to be replaced by robots, even as far as to make political decisions. I’m a bit angry by the idea that robots could manipulate people.
I’m a sci-fi fan, so I also think about old scenes and the technology that looked futuristic — and now it’s here! Have you seen the beginning of the original Star Trek Enterprise? There’s all this electronic equipment and now, after 30 years, we have it. I can access things from my smartphone just like that.
[CB:] How did your career path evolve to get you where you are today?
[HB:] A long time ago I was a programmer at a company of eight people, working on database solutions. Microsoft became interested in me as a vendor for pre-sales consulting, which I did for over ten years. I learned a lot and grew as a leader.
My first contact with BitTitan was at a SharePoint summit in Brussels where I presented about OneDrive and met Jethro Seghers. Later, when I spoke with a BitTitan recruiter, he even greeted me, “Hello, Mr. OneDrive!”
Now, I’ve transitioned from a Technology Strategist because I’m at an age to reduce my workload. I joined the marketing team so I’m not fighting against Exchange Servers anymore. Now I fight Marketo! And I am producing content in German for marketing campaigns.
[CB:] You’ve built quite a reputation! What are some of your proudest moments in your career?
[HB:] I have two. They’re less about my personal growth, but more about special moments I experienced.
First, I had a good, trusting relationship with a partner — a midsize company. Their CEO called me with a favor, asking for a solution that he “needed yesterday.” We had a couple meetings and I had to tell him that the timeline was too tight, but he was willing to work with a beta. The best part: we never once discussed what the solution would cost; he just trusted we would deliver him the right solution.
Secondly, I was very proud to get my red badge at Microsoft. I can go and access different things, but I’m no longer paid for my work. As an MVP, it’s more about the community.
It’s also fun to mention — did you know I helped get Darrell to BitTitan? I saw we had an open position and knew Darrell from the MVP summit, so I Tweeted at him to look into it. In only 140 characters, I got him on a call so I could tell him more. Social media works! And I had learned about the company from a partner that posted about BitTitan on Facebook!
Follow Hans on Twitter: @HansBrender