Frequently Asked Questions

What is your recommended order of watching your videos?
There is not right or wrong answer. Some people are looking to learn some specific technology. If you are starting from zero then I created https://learn.onboardtoazure.com as a curated path to learn Azure and important surrounding concepts.

What are 5 videos everyone should watch?
Again, I think it really depends on the person however in terms of technologies I think everyone needs to know:
- Staying safe online
- Subnet masks
- RegEx
- Using Git
- Zero trust

But there are also sooo many other areas like DevOps, identity, cloud governance, architecting applications for resiliency etc.

Is it true you make no money from the YouTube channel?
Yes, all advertising is turned off on the channel and I don't use it to upsell to some external training or consulting.
Revenue from channel picture

As part of my core principals it's important to give back and I believe helping others learn to improve their own lives is a way I can give back the most, hence the channel. I have this sign (that I had made) in my studio and in my games room to always remind me of the things that are vital to succeed.
5 rules of life
Any money from my T-shirt store goes direct to Cure Childhood Cancer. https://johns-t-shirts-store.creator-spring.com/

Creating the videos also helps me learn as it forces you to think about things differently when you are teaching others so I benefit as well.

The channel is completely separate from my day job at Microsoft and I don't get paid to maintain or create the content. It is just my hobby.

What software to you use to highlight things in your videos?
Zoomit from https://learn.microsoft.com/sysinternals/downloads/zoomit.

My comment never showed up on YouTube, why?
As I point out in the video descriptions and have posted on the community as the channel has become more popular so many people post questions it is no longer possible for me to respond. There is also huge amounts of spam from people on the comments and so I have moderation enabled. Therefore I have to review the comments before they show. Again, because of time I only skim them and only approve regular comments, people passing certs etc. With regard to why not enough time this channel is my hobby and that hobby time is spent creating content, not moderating comments. I have family, a day job, my fitness training and sleep that also have to happen. 😁

What is your routine?
I did a video on my routine on the channel but high level I get up at 3am every day, train for about 2.5 hours, work on my channel for a little bit, work from 8ish till 5, evening with the family then sleep by 8pm. Weekends I sleep in till 3:30 🤣 and do longer training on Saturday then family time, while Sunday I work on my channel till about 10:30 then family time.

What is your setup?
I update it a little but at a high level:
- Custom PC I built with a 3090 GPU for the encoding during recording and a bunch of m2 nvmes
- Dell 75inch interactive display
- 3 additional 24 inch displays for notes, preview, control purposes
- Nikon Z5 camera connected to elgato 4K60 capture card
- Sennheiser Pro Audio MKH416-P48U3 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser microphone connected to Elgato Wave Wave XLR for the XLR to USB
- Elgato Stream Deck v2 for scene selection during recording
- OBS Studio for the recording
- Microsoft Whiteboard and zoomit and Edge primary tools
- Have curtains all round the room to absorb echo and reverb
- PowerDirector for final editing (very minor) and encoding to MP4 (separate desktop machine)
- Inkscape and Gimp for the title and thumbnail creation
- To plan my content I use OneNote on Windows 11 and the Freeform app on iPad Pro with pencil

I did a video a while ago which is a little out-of-date but gives you some idea over at https://youtu.be/4iPEGIEhPiA.


Why can’t I connect on LinkedIn ?
A connection on LinkedIn is a bi-directional relationship where each party sees updates about the other. I do connect with people I know so I can see their updates. If I accepted connections from everyone who wants to know about new content I create then my feed would be flooded and I wouldn't be able to see data about those I know. Therefore I enabled content creator mode on my LinkedIn so people can choose to follow me to see new content.

Why didn't you congratulate me on my LinkedIn cert where I mentioned you?
This sadly is a no win situation for me. It's like the man, his son and the donkey going to market.
- If I do congratualte the many people every day that kindly mention me in their certification acheivement then I flood all my followers feed with certification information on people they don't know. I was told this was very inconvenient and that people follow me primarily to know about content I create.
- When I don't congratulate anyone people complain they like seeing some people's success as it motivates them.
I previously tried to randomly congratulate a few people as a compromise but then people have said I "blatently discriminate" against them for not congratulating them 😔 This is not the case and is just bad luck. I didn't focus on anyones name, job, country. I just randomly picked one or two at the top of my feed when I happen to look. For 2023 however I've decided to just not interact at all anymore on Twitter or LinkedIn. I'll just post content announcements for awareness.
If you really want me to say congrats and not using LinkedIn mentions to try and further your own reach just reply on the YouTube channel to the video that helped you. I make an effort to always moderate and allow those comments through and try to respond to everyone one with a "congrats 🤙".


What resources do you use to learn?
I tend to learn best by trying to use the technology, reading the documentation and just troubleshooting when things don't work the first time.

Why don’t you take suggestions or requests?
The channel is my hobby and I create the content I want to create. I think of it the same way if someone's hobby is painting they likely don't want to be told what to paint. Many of my videos take a lot of research so I want to create content about topics I want to learn or I'm working on as part of my day job.

Additionally if you consider the number of unique visitors I get a month (100's of thousands) then the desire of any individual is statistically irrelevant as to content the general population may want, soooo, I'll just create what I want. 😉

It's pretty horrible for me to spend a lot of time creating content and then have lots of comments "create a video on x", it feels very ungrateful. If you made someone dinner and they sat down and asked "when are you making lasagna", "pizza please", "waiting for steak" I doubt you would appreciate it.

Have you done a video on x?
Search the channel. If you don't see the search use the right arrow in the menu bar on YouTube to scroll all the way to the right.
YouTube Search in menu bar


What’s your favorite Azure feature?
I really enjoy identity. I think it's a fascinating area but I do enjoy learning about many different things.

Do you really not edit your videos?
All my videos are generally a single take. If its some 4-hour video then likely at some point in the middle I break to use the restroom and have a snack! If I make a mistake I generally will just correct myself in the video. I'm human, I error! If its a huge problem like a demo fails then I may redo the demo and edit out as that would be wasting the viewers time.

How do I become a Cloud Solutions Architect?
I don't have a magic formula for this. My career just evolved over time but I think to be a true architect you need to understand fundamentals in application design, infrastructure resiliency, networking and latency impact, identity, DevOps, security etc. I think it's very important to have a grounding in technologies around the cloud at bredth so you understand the options and understand how they interact and work with each other. Ideally you have some application experience so you understand the factors involved in application design and operation, impacts of latency, state management on the application components.
If possible start off as potentially a technical specialist in one area then as part of that try to get engaged in larger projects, observe how the complete architecture works, try and participate in the larger architecture discussions, gain experience, try and shadow someone. May just take a little time but keep at it. Set yourself side projects to gain experience on areas your current role is not testing you on.

Future goals?
At this time my key focus is making sure my family is secure and I've achieved many of my career and life goals. I still love learning, being challenged and that drives me to keep pushing my own boundaries which hopefully will continue to drive great content on my channel.

At this point I'm looking forward to learning how to bake bread!!! For some reason I really want to learn to bake really good bread :-) I'm also focusing more on weightlifting again after finally taking part in the Kona Ironman World Championship. For my hobby I continue to just try and make my channel as great as possible to help as many people as possible.

What was the other psychological test mentioned in your keynote?
The other test was "you are walking down a path and a monster jumps out in your way. What do you do?". My answer was "kill it". This is supposed to represent how you approach problems and it's pretty accurate, when there are problems I'll attack them and remove them. Keynote can be viewed at https://youtu.be/5KhdPCfddZY.

Favorite superhero?
Superman!

Favorite meal?
That's a tough one. It's either pizza 🍕 or steak 🥩 with twice-baked potato 🥔. Both please! 😋

What video are you most proud of?
Would have to say my Master Git video and my Verifiable Credentials video. Both were HUGE amounts of work to research, learn and prepare but I was really happy with both the learning I got to experience and the end result.

Will you speaking at event x or will you speak at my event?
Probably no. I try to avoid speaking at events. Speaking at an event is a big time commitment (especially in person with all the travel etc) which I generally just don't have available. I also try to avoid time away from my family and routine. I've spoken before that I'm a big introvert and don't really enjoy social interactions which are always part of speaking or attending events. Covid made me that much worse 😆 I would rather spend that time creating content for my channel that a wide audience can enjoy. I did record a keynote that you could watch and obviously I have lots of technical content on the channel.

How do you plan out videos?
Typically I'll start out playing with the planned subject. Then I'll rough out in OneNote what are the main features, why do you need it, how does it work, how should it be used. Then I'll start moving things around, working out good demos, how to build the knowledge to make it consumable to the audience. Then on my iPad I'll draft what a whiteboard may look like. Then I record. I never practice the recording and only ever record one take. I think a few mistakes is OK and keeps the recording "fresh".

What are you most proud of?
My kids and how awesome they are. For my personnal achievements my first Ironman was very tough but made me proud.

Hitting 100,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel was always a goal and it was great to hit that at the start of 2022.

Also in 2022 Microsoft created a new "Distinguished Pinnacle" award for a singular person as the very highest achiever who was chosen out of the 30 Pinnacle Platinum (formally Chairman's or Bill Gate's) award winners from the company and I was lucky enough to win that! I did then have to go on stage and give a speech which was terrifying as I had no idea it was happening and for the first 30 seconds my brain was not functioning and I said the word Amazing 7 times in 30 seconds. 😅
 Distinguished Pinnacle win 2022

I don't see a way to contact you.
Correct. Every time I've tried to make some form of contact form available people ignore all requests to not use for 1:1 help, feedback, consulting requests etc and spam me. So, removed it. There really is no legitimate reason to need to contact me. My channel is about creating content for people to hopefully enjoy and learn but it's a one-way communication flow.

  Copyright 2022 John Savill