MVP Insider – Q & A with Shane Perran


Shane has been designing online user experiences for more than a decade. A strong passion for visual presentation, web standards and usability has paved the way for a successful transition into the SharePoint Products and Technologies space where Shane has become well known for his customization efforts within the community as well as professionally at Infotech where he is the user experience lead. Shane's SharePoint Customization Blog, has become a popular stop for customization experts across the globe.

What does being an MVP mean to you?

Being a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) means you have been recognized by some of the worlds brightest for a particular technology as being a front runner.  It also means that you have a responsibility to give to the community in a very selfless way for the better of a product/technology that you believe in.

If you could ask Steve Ballmer one question about Microsoft, what would it be?

I once devised a pretty elaborate plan to try and get Steve Ballmer and or Bill Gates to come speak to our little .NET user group in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  The plan was to create a website advertising the cause and hope the idea was able to create enough buzz online that the word got back to them and they came out to visit.  It was one of those “Do you think it’s possible”, type things.  So my question is, what does it take to get Microsoft’s attention?  What is it that really makes you stop, think and act/respond?

What do you think the best software ever written was?

This is difficult to decide as I depend on so many pieces of software every day but the one piece of software that I open every day without quesiton and have for many years is Outlook 2007, so I’m going with that.  From being able to connect to our SharePoint environments, to managing my calendars, to interacting with people, to having access to information via my phone while on the road, this is an invaluable tool for me.

If you were the manager of Windows Server System, what would you change?

This is a difficult question, changing a server system with as much reach as Windows Server is likely equivalent to changing the number of months on a calendar.  It's so embedded globally that any small change can potentially cause havoc. One thing that is becoming more and more common though is the need for virtualization so embedded virtualization technolgy would be on top of the list to ship.

What are the best features/improvements of Windows Server System?

One of my personal favorites is certainly Windows SharePoint Services.  Being able to download and utilize this for free is great.

What was the last book you read?

Oddly while I do read a lot, I don't read many books.  I read a lot online, from blog posts to news articles to biographies.  I do have a book in the living room I've been wanting to read, it's called "People who changed the world".  Bill Gates shares the front cover with other people such as Mother Theresa.

What music CD do you recommend?

Anything by Bob Dylan because he has written his own musical language which he shares with anyone who takes the time to listen.  A language understood socially the world over.  If I really have to pick one CD though, I suppose I would say "The Essential Bob Dylan", or "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan".  It’s also hard not to mention Johnny Cash simply because he is more of a genre than a musician.  Then there's one of my other favorites, Ray Charles.  Ray is strictly for the love of music.  Anything by these artists is worth it's weight in gold.

What makes you a great MVP?

I am not really sure how to answer this question.  I guess the fact that I am often willing to spend my time which I consider very valuable helping people to better understand SharePoint Products and Technologies without any real gain myself.  I am not an independent consultant and have no need to leverage my position to gain business (not that there is anything wrong with that because there isn't).  I do it because I enjoy working with the technology and the community.

What is in your computer bag?

A (Business Class) HP nc8430 Core 2 Duo + 4GB ram which I use as my working machine. A MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo + 4GB ram which I use as a my personal machine. A Microsoft Presenter Mouse (Thanks Lawrence Liu) 250GB USB Powered Portable Drive IPod Video (Classic)

What is the best thing that has happened since you have become an MVP?

I got enganged since becoming an Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), so that outranks all professional accomplishments.  In terms of big accomplishments professionally though, the release of my book with Amanda Murphy, “Beginning SharePoint 2007” is something I am pretty proud of.

What is your motto?

My motto is to keep things as simple as possible, but not simpler.  Ok so that was Albert Einstein's motto but hey, it's one to live by and one I definitely believe in and try to follow.

Who is your hero?

Wow, another great question.  The more I learn, the more this changes.  I admire a lot of people, from Nelson Mandela to Warren Buffet.  A hero though, that has to be someone life changing, someone who's message lives on long-past their physical existence.   In the lighter sense of the word however, I would say Wayne Gretzky, not only because he was the greatest hockey player ever, but because he did it with such pride and handled himself with grace from start to finish.

What does success mean to you?

Obviously, one of the biggest misconceptions we have as a society is that money or material possessions = success.

At the end of the day though when it's just you and your thoughts, you outweigh all superficial measurements and will be the final and only judge on your own success.

When all is said and done, being able to look back on life and feeling happy about how you have spent your time and who you have spent it with, that is real success – all the money in the world won’t buy back your youth.

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