2022 in review

Well, 2022 has probably been the craziest year for a long time! I'm currently sat at my dining room table, wondering when I am going to get my last few Christmas presents boxed off (the wife has literally done EVERYTHING else, even before December started)… so rather than face it head on.. I'm writing this post.

Home Life

The beginning of the year started off with the birth of my third child, and first daughter. We are now a family of 5! As you can imagine, it is always a big shock to the system when a new baby joins your already chaotic routine, and this was no different. Going from 2 under 5s to 3 meant the wife and I had to divide and conquer. Obviously, the spare time that I had for the gym, learning and blogging was taken up with getting to know our girl. Wouldn't change it for the world though!


Once the dust had settled, I started being able to focus more on Yobah, the cloud security company I'm building. We have gone through various iterations over the past few years, and decided that this year, we really had to push and make something of it. After a directors meeting, we made the decision to make some key hires (we now have dedicated techies and business development peeps), which lets us focus on some more strategic activities. It also meant we could invest more in the business development side of the business, so some new software, content and processes in place.

You'll be seeing an awful lot more you Yobah in the coming months, so i'm excited to see how it goes down.

Personal Consulting

My other consulting business (which is mostly me, freelance), has also gone through some significant change. I decided back in 2020 to move from a typical contracting model and moving to a true consultancy model. This was critical for me, as to be able to focus on things that matter, I had to stop selling my time for money, and selling the outcome. Even though contracting gave me flexibility and scoped engagements, I was still having to be dedicated to a single project/customer at a time.. and as such couldn't scale. It also stopped me being able to build on the Yobah dream.

Therefore, I started to move to an outcome based model. My last traditional contract finished in June, and I started to pick up two types of work. The first is 'associate led' model for other consultancies. I am on the books for a couple of busy and growing cloud/security consulting businesses, where I am called upon for various of their customer projects. There are no commitments to getting work, and I am very much free to pick and choose what comes along. I also find the work is exciting, with some really complicated challenges for me to help their customers overcome.

The second is my retainer model , which lets businesses hire me for strategic engagements to assist with their cyber security roadmaps.

Exams and certs

You may have seen, that at the back end of 2021, Microsoft decided to make significant changes to their partner model. which ditched the well know Gold/Silver competencies, for a new solution partner model. It makes sense to move this way, however in true Microsft fashion, it looks as though it will screw over smaller partners (like us), and with very little time to make the transistion. - I'll write a blog about this at some point.

What has this got to do with exams and certs I hear you ask? Well, a requirement towards each accreditation needs multiple people to have a raft of certs. This basically gave the team 12 months to complete a shit load of exams. As I hadn't really pushed my exams for a while, I decided to just smash through them.

I completed 9 certifications in 7 months, which if I'm honest, nearly broke me. However, it also got me back into learning and finding out about some of the other technology I don't usually see day to day (as an architect, this is vital). So it was a positive I reckon.

Now I just need to keep on top of the renewals, or have to start again!

Whats next?

As 2022 comes to a close, I like to get a high level idea on what I want to achieve in the next 12 months. I rarely kick myself for not sticking to it, but a goal always helps set me up. Therefore, there are a few things I really want to achieve:

  • Focus on family time more. We had 4 great holidays this year, which I rarely do, and it was amazing. A key goal is to be closer and more present for the family.
  • At the beginning of last year, I was the fittest I had ever been. I felt great, my mental health was top notch. Therefore, I need to get back into keeping in shape.
  • Help more people by producing more content. Whether this be helping people get into tech, learn more or generally hear my (albeit whingy) insights... I need to get it out there.
  • Go to way more conferences/meetups/user groups. I miss it, and used to love it. So i'm sure you will see me around. (Might even try a Vegas event!)
  • Transition my consulting to full outcome based consulting - This needs to be more flexible and cover the outgoings, while I have the flexibility to live my life nad be present for my family. This is a critical one for me, so fingers crossed!
  • There are a few vendor agnostic exams I really want to get under my belt, and dig deeper into the world of Cyber Security. These include my CISSP, CCSK and CCSP.
  • The final goal for 2022 is to transition into Yobah.
So thats it. I hope you have a wonderful New Year, and i'll look forward to speaking with you all in 2023.
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Paul Sanders

Hi, I'm Paul Sanders, and I'm from Manchester, UK. After many years working in the IT consultancy industry, I decided to setup on my own. Now an independent strategy consultant.
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