My very first public presentation – preparation

I’m writing this a bit ahead of time, as I plan to write a follow-up to compare what is planned against what will have happened.


As the title suggests, I will be hosting my very first public session on the 21st of April. I am taking part in Global Azure Bootcamp , a worldwide community event where experts from around the world gather locally to share their experience and knowledge on Azure. I would probably have preferred to be involved in an event in France, however I am in Seattle that week, so my event of choice will be directly @Microsoft in Redmond.

This will be an occasion for multiple first times for me : first time on my own as a public speaker, first participation in Global Azure Bootcamp, first time presenting fully in English, and first time presenting in Redmond of course 🙂 So, big step far out of my comfort zone.


The aim of this post, as stated above, is to record what I did to prepare for the event, and afterwards, write down what have gone right and wrong, and how I can progress and do better.


I have chosen the topic of containers & Kubernetes on Azure for two reasons : first I am rather comfortable with the subject, and second a colleague, Jean Poizat,, did already build a slidedeck and demo  which I could expand from.

Obvious first then : I have a chosen familiar grounds and existing material, to limit the amount of work needed. This however presented a challenge : start from slides which I did not write, and get familiar with those, before rearranging & completing those to my purpose and comfort.

A word on how I got out of my comfort zone : a nice kick in the back end! I saw on some social networks few friends and colleagues getting ready for GAB in France, which prompted me to start collaborating, at least to give a hand. Once I realized I would be in Seattle at that time, I contacted the local event owner Manesh Raveendran,, to offer my help, in broad terms. It took me a while to be able to suggest the session I will be presenting, and I almost chickened out a few times. But once Manesh wrote me in, that was it, I had to make this work!

The next step was to get very familiar with the presentation and with the associated demos. I started presenting to myself, but out loud and standing. This allowed me to work my speech, content and speed, and fine tune the slides. I also quickly incorporated the demos, to work out how to time things, and how to work around a failing demo.

I started 10 days before the set date, with the slides & demo mostly ready. I allowed a minimum of a deck run every two days, that I would then adjust depending on my comfort and accuracy.

During these dry run, I would keep a piece of paper next to me, to write down whatever thoughts/questions or clarifications were needed. These would affect either the speech or the slides, and even the demo.

In between these runs, I would review the slides as much as I could every day.

I did not spend as much time reviewing the demo, as Jean had provided me with a solid script that would mostly run by itself, on my cue. The few manuals demos were quite simple, and worked every time.

I was also lucky enough to meet with several architects during that time, who were kind enough to give me their feedback on my slides, and even to let me rehearse in front of them, and give me their impressions and advice. That was a big help, and a great comfort as showtime loomed closer 🙂

I am now a few hours from the actual session, I will submit this post and start writing the follow-up right after the session.

Stay tuned!


PS : the program for the Redmond event is there :

IoT everywhere, for everyone

Today is another tentative to explain part of the Microsoft Azure catalog of solutions.

As I did write about the different flavors of containers in Azure, I feel that it’s time for a little explanation about the different ways of running you IoT solution in Azure.

There are three major ways of running an IoT platform in Azure : build your own, Azure IoT Suite and IoT Central.

There are some sub-versions of those, that I will mention as I go along but these are the main players. I have listed those in a specific order, on purpose :

There you have it, I actually do not have to write another word 🙂


Alright, some words anyway. At the far end of the figure, you have what has always existed in the cloud and before. If you want a software stack,  you just build it. You will probably use some third-party software, unless you really want to write everything from the ground up. Let’s assume you will at least use a DBMS, probably a queuing system etc. You might go as far as to use some PaaS components from Azure (IoT Hub is a good candidate obviously, along with Stream Analytics). Long story short, you will have complete control over the stack and how you use it. But with great power… etc. It is a costly solution, in terms of time, money, people. And not only upfront investment, but you will also have to maintain all that stack, even provide your users with some kind of SLA.


Let’s say you are not ready to invest two years of R&D into your platform, and want to be able at least to get your pilot on track in a few days. Here comes Azure IoT Suite. It is a prepackaged set of Azure PaaS components that are ready to use. There are several use cases fully ready to deploy : Remote monitoring, Predictive Maintenance, Connected Factory.  You can start with one of those, and customize it for you own use. Once it is deployed, you have full access to each Azure component and you may evolve the model to suit your own needs. There are some very good trainings, with devices simulators, available. You can start playing with a suite in a few hours, see the messages and data go back and forth. You still have to manage the components once they are deployed, even though they are PaaS, so the management overhead is rather limited. But it is your responsibility to operate.


At the other end of the scope, we have Azure IoT Central. IoT central is a very recent solution to help you start your IoT project. We have been lucky enough to discuss the solution early on and I have to admit I have been convinced very early on by the product and the team behind it. So, the point is you have a business to run, and you might not want to invest millions to build and run something that is indeed not your core business. Start your IoT Central solution, configure a few devices, sensors, users and applications, and you’re done. Pilot in minutes, production in a few hours.

And like a good SaaS solution, you do not operate anything, you do not even have to know what is under the hood.


To conclude, I’ll say that the SaaS, PaaS and IaaS subtitles on the figure were here to remind you that the same choice principles apply here as anywhere in a cloud world : it is a choice you have to make between control and responsibility.