A warm welcome to Victor Estival, Microsoft Dev PMM for Spain as he joins us for ‘Voices of the Azure Community’.
We hope you enjoy this insight into the work Victor carries out to support the Azure Community.
Please tell us about your own role as an Azure Developer Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft for Spain? How did you become a Dev PMM?
My role is amazing because I am the person who interacts with developers and communities in Spain. And by communities, I mean not only the “traditional” concept of community, but a much broader one: communities within customers, partners, online and pretty much any kind of community you can think of.
I became a Dev PMM in a very interesting way: I started my career as a sysadmin. Then I evolved in a more pre-sales kind of roles and about 4 years ago I landed in technical marketing which was such an experience. During my whole career I’ve talked to developers, and even devs and sysadmins were considered as enemies but, specially during this tech marketing role I talked to so many amazing Product Managers, Engineering Managers and developers that thought a lot, and one of the most important lessons is that today, in one way or another, we are all developers. And let me elaborate a bit more here: the tools are sometimes the same (who doesn’t use GitHub these days, or some Trello like app) but with concepts like Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and of course the super powerful DevOps) the borders between roles are thinner and thinner, so when the opportunity came, I felt like I had to pick this amazing role. I also knew the person who had this role before me, I ask him, and he said: it is so amazing! And… here I am 😀
Could you describe what your working week entails?
I will do my best here: it varies a lot from week to week, if I am honest… but it is a beautiful mix of:
– Engaging with local communities, understanding what they are doing, if they need any help, if I can contribute somehow, etc.
– Maybe execute / run an event
– Learn. This is a great part of the job since we can learn so much about the technology, what we do
– Meetings with the team: we are 12 members on the team and it is also great to learn what other people is doing and how you can improve in your area, or to provide some guidance to other peers.
Would you outline what you find to be the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of your role?
I would say that the most challenging part is to pick which events do you sponsor / support since quite often they look so interesting but at the end, resources, time and money are limited and therefore we need to prioritize.
The most rewarding aspect is when someone comes to you and say thank you for your support with something. It is so wonderful!
We understand that through your role you support and sponsor local Azure events. Would you outline the criteria and process to receive support?
As usual there are many aspects that we take into account, like how inclusive the event is, if they have a code of conduct, how many attendees they are expecting, how relevant the technology is and so on and so forth.
Can you describe the growth of the Spanish Azure Community and your hopes for its progression?
The Azure community is growing so fast! We are adding so many members every day and they have a lot of different backgrounds and preferences. And what I really like is the relationship between Azure and Open Source, where we can find a ton of OSS enthusiastic members joining the community. My hope is that the momentum continues, and we keep making Azure more and more open and inclusive.
To date what has been your proudest accomplishment in this role?
If I am honest, the official launch of Azure Heroes in Spain. The program itself was launched in Europe late 2019, but we officially launched it in Spain in April 2020 and we have 77 people already awarded, and that means that we have a super valuable community here.
In your opinion what is the most exciting thing about working with Azure?
I would say that the fact that is adapting so quickly to the latest technology and trends, which is great. Although I really appreciate the fact that our Product Managers are trying to keep everything under control and not add so many services (or even redundant ones), I also value the fact that we’re including the latest technologies like Edge or IOT.
What is your favorite Azure Product and why?
Wow! It is really hard to pick only one, but I will say…. Cosmos DB. The first thing I used when I started with the Public clouds (PaaS) was a Database as a Service offering, and I am a huge fan of the NoSQL databases and we add all the announcements we just made during MS Build 2020… yes, it is my favorite product!
What in your opinion has been the biggest advance in Azure in the past 18 months?
Here I am split between Azure expansion and how is adding regions so quickly and the improvement made in the cognitive services, AI and ML. The first one is critical to provide a better service, but the second one is really helping customers and partners to improve their own technology and services.
Would you describe the ‘Azure Heroes’ Program? How has it been received by the community?
Azure Heroes is a great way to recognize people that is valuable for the community. Yes, we also have the MVP program, but to me, Azure Heroes is similar to microservices: sometimes you don’t have the time, or commitment or need to qualify as an MVP, but you do contribute a lot to the community creating content (Content Hero), or being a Mentor for others, or organizing things (Community Hero), and this is our way to recognize this.
If we add this recognition to the current situation with COVID-19, then Azure Heroes is also a way to motivate people to keep working and contributing to the community… Everybody knows that devs are usually crazy about stickers… well, these are like digital stickers, but cooler.
So, the community loves it! And there is yet one more thing: this is a practical implementation that anyone can use and understand of blockchain, which turns something that for some people is a “buzzword” into something real.
Could you describe what the unique spirit of the Spanish Azure ‘Community’ means to you?
I am so impressed about how collaborative the community is. I really mean this, since I am not traditionally part of Microsoft communities, but they made me feel like I am part of them since forever! And it is not only that: there are a lot of small communities all together, collaborating, some people are part of multiple communities, they try to improve every day and add more people to the community. And this means a lot to me!