Tracy van der Schyff on The MVP Show

Tracy van der Schyff on The MVP Show

Tracy van der Schyff
Microsoft Business Applications MVP


  • A conversation about Tracy Van der Schyff’s life – family, hobbies, what she does for fun when not working. 
  • Tracy’s story about getting into IT  
  • How did Tracy get into Microsoft 
  • A discussion about Tracy’s journey into becoming a Microsoft MVP 
  • Talks about Tracy’s Blogging, YouTubing and TikTok 
  • Tracy’s involvement in strategic consulting and her day-to-day job 
  • Talks about Tracy’s SharePoint background 
  • Tracy’s experience in writing a book 

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Thanks for listening 🚀 - Mark Smith


[mark]: today's guest is all the way from johannesburg south africa she's an office three six five coach and catalist at the guild is that the guild stuff it's the

[tracy]: it's the good stuff

[mark]: good stuff it's the good as felt a very unique way there i love it i love it currently on a fifty year as an nvpceofcrushing it she loves fast motor cycles and owns two kat she also has a hundred and one tattoos eight of which are microsopht logos so she's competing with chris hunting for as another south african who loves this does she did oh yeah you've got to check out she

[tracy]: i have to go to that

[mark]: african who loves this does she did oh yeah you've got to check out she did a crazy challenge to write and publish a blog article on video per day on microstoff three six five get this for two years so all those people out there that complain about doing it for a month which is i suggest as a good process to get into it for two years check it out the show so you'll see linked to her profile as like linked into the blogs et cetera welcome to the show tracy

[tracy]: thank you very very much so yeah so the good stuff if i knew how many people would get my email wrong i would have chosen a different name

[mark]: i love it i love it something a little unique though a hundred and one tattoos yes

[tracy]: yeah so in the middle of that should i get another one or is that enough and the thing with tattoos is once you start with another one because i wanted to do my other sleeve then it all you think about you know that's the only thing you think about you wake up on a saturday morning and think we woke up ten minutes earlier what can i do oh that's right i can go and get it to you you know so yeah definitely and excuse me for

[mark]: i love it love it you can never have enough tattoos so so yeah yeah

[tracy]: interrupting you and i have three kate bought another one for cape town yeah ya

[mark]: wow so tell me what's special about a k d m ye

[tracy]: wow that's no one's ever asked me that that's a very good question so i've always been a b m w go all my life and i picked up some back problems a couple of years ago and i pretty much good most upright writer like other bias than jess and i saw a guy on a duke and i was like that kind of work and that so i got into a for life so


well well there's a rain of mvps in the bizeps community i can think of at least one to three offhand that are all into motobiexbig time maybe for i can think of actually

[tracy]: i i think it's a thing i think it's related i don't think there's a lot of people that realize how creativity comes into the it space you know and being a drenlanjonks i suppose is very much linked to that personality time

[mark]: just two weekends ago did another bungy jump um my second bungy jump and it is funny how a drillin goes hand in hand with a lot of what we do i t

[tracy]: well i think we need it i think it's the way to kind of flip the brain to just find some balance i call it balance m

[mark]: nice nice anyhow tell me a bit about you before you get into the technology story and how you became an p and all that type of stuff tell us about family food and fun in south africa

[tracy]: Family food and fun

[mark]: i could have put i could have put four fs in there but i thought three fs were enough see that

[tracy]: so family i think the first thing i'd like to say about family of course we have the one that we connected to by birth but but i think also

[mark]: yes

[tracy]: very important to me is the microsotf family i think that's pick one thing about being an m v p that was the most valuable to me is becoming part of the most incredible family in the community so definitely have a strong community down here as well and but also the way it extended my microsot family across the world it just opened doors and it broke down barriers and it connected as on a family front that's something that i would have wanted to say um fun of course

[mark]: m that's cool

[tracy]: like i said i'm an adrenal and junk and other cycles and i had to crazy stuff sky diving and deeps diving haven and thus for a while but i mean i was going to visit new zealand a couple of years ago and we had a problem with my visa i couldn't make it for the conference but i wanted to do those things in the plastic balls where you rolled off the mountain i don't know what i want to yes so i'll have to come back and

[mark]: yes yes the sobs sobs they called they called sobs yes nice a

[tracy]: go and do that and then i don't know food i'm going to have to go and say in the food range i'm goin a think of fruit and then i'm going to go straight to wine because africa makes base wine so i'm going

[mark]: nice nice good selection

[tracy]: to like in my food range i'm going to go straight to wine and say i'm sorry everyone but south africa does make that best wine in the world and challenge accepted

[mark]: wow okay so here's the thing before you said that and just went into my mind i'm like i can't even remember a south african wine and so tell us about the the wine landscape there oh

[tracy]: well of course i flew down to cape town yesterday and i'm now in the most beautiful like grid beautiful wine finds i'm right in the middle of durban ville where a lot of the base wines come from by the way but i think i've had lots of south african wine overseas because sometimes it's cheaper than whatever it is overseas that's not nice placing so i definitely like my dry wines and yeah

[mark]: nice

[tracy]: don't know otherwise we're gonna just talk about wine so i think we need end up that a

[mark]: so what is what is your story of getting into into IT and then ultimately into microsoft did you always go to microstoft from the get go as an that was a community you ended or did you come by another path into tech you

[tracy]: so you're going to have to i'm looking at the clock right now tell me how much time i have to explain this because then i'm goin a have to culture the story slightly

[mark]: you can take out of how much time you want

[tracy]: so so quite an interesting story and i love telling people this because i do think it inspires people as well that thinks that we have the structured way to think it inspires people as well that thinks that we have the structured way to get into a career and that's not true so i started working quite young about fifteen okay finish school quite early and didn't at that time i didn't have the opportunity to go study i just wasn't it wasn't something that was even considered there wasn't money for it you just started working and and the kind of jobs you get when you don't study is normally a receptionist especially as a receptionist or away i call it goal fridays you do wages and you make the guys coffee and you're a receptionist and that's how i kind of started whatever desired to do to earn money to pay for my living and etcetera end always been a problem solver so wherever i went in life i would always spot things that people struggle with and i always try and help them whether it was and most of the time it wasn't part of my job you know so so right from get go ninety percent of what i didn't include what i got paid for you know it was always about helping people i've always had a passion to help people so i kind of moved from that you kind of evolved i eventually became a bookkeeper okay i mean i shouldn't say this on radio people would laugh if they hear that they would never imagine that i'm super geek about numbers and things like balance but i think it's that ocdenus that we have as well you know that kind of a thing it's got to have be controlled and stuff so became a bookkeeper eventually and

[mark]: oh yes oh

[tracy]: then i had a driving school okay for years i gave driving lessons a fifty three told people how to write cars i loved it i mean it was just it was one of the most fun things i've ever done because the rennell and janketicked in of course cause you couldn't do anything to scare me i loved every

[mark]: yeah

[tracy]: moment of it okay so i had a driving school and then i had some point i opened a art shop and i sold supplies and then i started giving out class is and then i started designing furniture and kitchens and then i started building furniture and kitchens i had a big day course and and then eventually you

[mark]: wow

[tracy]: know life goes through cycles at that stage i got divorced and kind of like

[mark]: yeah oh h

[tracy]: all the business has got closed and everything and moved back to jahannasburgh and started bottom again you know that's just that refreshing site and started at a company and within seven months they called me in but also just as a receptionist or whatever you know because if i didn't have papers you know i didn't have the opportunity to just step in a job a decent salary you know it was always about proving yourself first for peanuts and later that called in and hey you've been promoted i'm like what an apply for a job they said while you're systems administer it now for some system like what and they said i don't know i'm sure you'll figure it out because the kind of nwmebyythen knew that i would put my head to it and figure it out and seven months later i don't know that's why seven became my favorite number i suppose seven months later my bask me and again i say trace believer or not you've luckedon't have your job any more you have another job but i'm like what do you mean and he said i don't know he says you're the internet manager now and the management rep agree okay and i said really i'm like what is all of that and he says i don't know our gonna figure it out he says it's on share points i was like what what's share points and that's exactly market thought and so that was quickly i add this up i say about fifteen years ago sixteen years ago he said you've got a long week end it was actually over like these long weekends in march he says you've got a friday or monday with a long weekend to figure out what ship on because you take over on tuesday okay no hand over just the craziest thing ever the best thing that ever happened in my life basing and that of thing ever the best thing that ever happened in my life basing and that of course a lot of us stepped into a other three exchange or through share point and but i came in from the business side so i think that was very valuable for me because i could solve problems and i could train people and i could build solutions both compliance solutions and the just escalator became in footpath and shape design and like a mix of lintics in there sometimes and and that escalated straight escalated into office six five of course luck twelve years ago go that's that's where so zero education that led up to zero thoughts stas behind saying one day i want to be this on this i just took every day and made the best of it and try to solve problems and loved what i did and that's how i kept on moving and now i think people look at all those jobs i say trace how on earth does all of that come together and i'm like how can you not see how it comes together having an art school and designing things solving problems making things bad all that is what i do today so it's like

[mark]: yes

[tracy]: i actually had a three year degree in life that kind of led up to what i'm doing today so that's the kind of this end of the long story

[mark]: i like it so what are you doing today what's the point end of your day today nowadays oh

[tracy]: so i definitely i've gotten a much more involved on the strategic consulting if i can put it that way because i've got quite a big mouth in the industry and customers know they can get me in you give them a straight story so i don't sell licenses and i always tell customers i don't sell licenses what i tell you is not motivated by anything okay it's motivated by me continue to succeed so a lot of customers will get and either much lighter when i have problems already so i've got it already for two years than not seeing the orianedinsid thrice please come and help us sort this out or if if they kind of like up front and after get me involved right in the beginning so change management adoption training but also on the strategic side of helping them with their own maps with planning the future with mapping to the technologies be so building intrrnates and doing what we call citizen development so a bit of everything but definitely on both sides you know on the technical side as well which i absolutely have

[mark]: nice so how did you get into microsoft's radar from the m v p perspective how did that journey happen for you

[tracy]: it was the challenge for sure i'm quite convinced it was the challenge i never i never did that challenge to prove anything to anyone else but i was i was quite because i think that wasn't twenty sixteen so not so many years ago but i was still in the learning cove you know officer six five was a completely different thing of share point where you knew exactly what you were doing on that version until the new version came out you know it was a very soon place i know exactly what i was doing and then ffithresixfive got added and every day was new i mean every day a button moved a new feature got added something renamed and it was a different thing so i kind of like decided at some point i had to push myself harder to learn i wasn't learning fast enough because you know we put things down and you know it's another week and you've not got into that because life happened you know and i thought to myself because because i'm quite competitive even against myself right and i thought to myself maybe i should challenge myself to say that every day i want to learn something tackle something learned and then also i help people by sharing my learning journey with them so that was always the point that was never to blog from an expert this level was never share my learning journey and that's how i started so but then i've had some experience already but there was a light that i still wanted to figure out so started this thing of course no good story starts with green said okay so i did start with wine in my garden okay and that's the problem is the stuff you think out when you drink wine okay and it was so it was the twenty ninth of far but i've got a crazy little i think about numbers so i was sitting ten on lip having a glass of wine just like having a reflecting moment about life and it's a special day that happens every couple of years and i was like wow something special today and then i of officer six five and i don't know how that happened but it's the first time that i that three six five meant all year around you know today and i thought of a story that i used to watch as a kid called de dies around the world think it was a traveling little and i went like oh how cool would that be around the office three hundred and sixty five days and that's why after couple of glasses of wine and then dreamed up i always start with graphic so i designed a log first i always do that or my idea starts with so i designed this around the office in three six five days longer and i was like that's a that's what i'm going to do every single day for three six five days i'm going to try and learn something figure it out practice it ment ferret and of course that first year that i did it i wasn't into Youtubing yet okay i didn't do videos every day to do this four hours every day so that was me for a whole year every night four

[mark]: well

[tracy]: hours i would write an article and as a blogger as well i think a lot of people struggle with that we want to write the whole book you say oh today i want to share with people how to change the theme on share point and then you go but wait i've got to first show them how to deploy it or i've got to first show and then it becomes a book you know so that wasn't from yours to take a step back and to do bite size so i had to bring that down because it was hectic and every single day i still thought i wasn't going to make it isn't it amazing our self esteem every thought i wasn't going to make it i was con and when there was seven days left i still thought i was going to slip up because for me i had to publish one every single day and i was writing i didn't have time to write a couple for the week and i couldn't believe it learned so much and i mean people would say traced you have time to write a book i'm like oh hell no but in that year i wrote a book of about a thousand five and two and a half thousand pages i mean that's what i wrote and then and then so by then i've already picked up street create like a lot of people started getting to know me i'm online which was never the point i didn't think people would read it was more my document in my journey you know remember dan home reached out on to it and i say wow trace that's amazing he says are you going to do another one and i'm like are you crazy i'm never going to write a blog again in my life i'm done i've written more blogsanwaever right in their life i'm done and then obviously two months later microsoft laughed microsoft three six five because it was of three six five two months later microsoft three six five and i was like wow now i can include windows

[mark]: correct

[tracy]: and all types of other stuff because before i just focused and then i went like let's do it through it again but by that stage i dropped into starting doing more youtube videos as well which then shortened that curve you know it became like an hour a day something to taste something small until documented so i do think that that's how i came most probably got to know more people if that makes

[mark]: nice

[tracy]: sense i've got a couple of mvp friends but you even say that when i got nominated it wasn't a big thing for me to be part of that long day i don't think it was some way yea and you have a different perception about things you know i was like i've never been someone who does things for the sake of having a badge so that kind of annoyed me about it you know there good sides and bad sides about everything and i said to a friend that i be that person i don't want people to think i'm doing things to be an m v p then i'd rather not be an m v p and i'll never forget a good friend of mine and as by the way he's moved to US now he said to me try if you've got such a problem with it why don't

[mark]: good good good good good

[tracy]: you become one and change it you really well up to challenge me like that so so that it happened and i don't know what you said in the beginning i'm sure you used the wrong yours but i think i've been a p for about six or seven yes now and then i've been a deal nvpsbut six seven i've been a deal vp for three years so i was first office five and

[mark]: nice

[tracy]: then business as came with three years

[mark]: so you should be according to this you'll be because world and renomination cycle at the moment you're going to your seventh year as an peter sound about

[tracy]: i think so if i remember it correctly because it's now in july he somewhere

[mark]: right

[tracy]: in july that bomb drops again or something i don't know

[mark]: so so twenty sixteen right was when you got your first one that sounds right yeah yeah yeah i was just looking on the nvp award site well this

[tracy]: i think so i suspect that it's my contrivumen

[mark]: is such a cool story and so how did you i'll finish with this question how did you find that transition between blogging and then you tube because i see that youtube is really the way a lot of people are creating content these days over the traditional lot of it folks came from the book and then book writing kind of faded out and writing blogs became the big thing and it seems now you tube and even people are playing with tik tok and things like that in the space so what what was that big transition to you tube for

[tracy]: yeah i think and again it's a self esteem thing i think in the beginning wouldn't put my camera on for youtube but i really struggled with that and then i realized that it makes it more personal for people that makes it more relatable and i also didn't like the sound of my own voice i really hated those first

[tracy_van_der_schyff]: recordings i couldn't stand because hey let's face it in my head i thought i

[tracy]: sounded like bonny tyler man of in a bit you are like wait that's not bonny tyler but i think i think what a big learning curve for me was i like still documenting the story blogs that i do document rather the funny thing is i prefer reading blogs than watching videos because it's easier for me to get all to find the word that i'm looking for sometimes to in place so it depends on what it is that if it's a very technical thing i then go and find a video and if it's short enough i watch it so this i'm saying i don't know who started from you now it works with famous saying someone who really said it but let side was insane said that if you can't explain something simply perhaps you don't understand it well enough and that's something i experience with you

[mark]: yes

[tracy]: tube is because you can't go that long and into so much detail you have to actually change the way that you explain something that's got to be shorter so that the second cycle that i did those blogs went into flogging them because i actually was running out i just was i wasn't getting to everything and i was just too busy and that's a being vireos and then the last part of it went into a challenge where i said and i think can be longer than five minutes it's the most difficult thing i've ever done most difficult thing i've ever done is to be able to put out meaningful content five minutes on under so that's quite a big challenge that i think anyone can take on because it changes the way that you think it changes the way that you explain something to people and how clear you are about things also next things for me so so when you do shorter burst like that it makes you start putting collections together which i think is different with that so saying that over the next twenty one videos i'm going to cover this and this and this with you now the tiktok thing is interesting because i've already created tiktok account but i've been too scared to open it created one a couple of months ago because i'm definitely moving by that next but i'm going to have to change the soft way that i use and everything it's definitely a different it's more of portrait type of video and the lent so there's that mis mictolfi don't know how to pronounce his surname mictodoes the education video microsolf it's broad brilliant on tito and following in i'm like i think i'm going to move there because we all think tiktok is just dancing elephants but there's a massive audience out there for people that wants to live so that's why maybe i should make

[mark]: massive audience massive totally agree

[tracy]: that a challenge because once i challenge myself i feel accountable and i have to be accountable like that day when i sat i got in drinking wine i woke up that morning and i went to was thank goodness i didn't commit to that but i did i woke up with a lot of went on linking face book and twitter and i said this is what i'm going to do from tomorrow that was a mistake but so then i was accountable so i think i should do

[tracy_]: that with tiktok because i think that learning curve will be quite interesting

Tracy van der SchyffProfile Photo

Tracy van der Schyff

Facilitating the Evolution of Human Capabilities: Tracy van der Schyff 's passion is empowering people; therefore, training and change management lies close to her heart. Her Mission is to positively impact WHAT and HOW people create, as she believes that what we design / create, designs / creates us back (Ontological Design). It is about enabling others to serve themselves better, expand their possibilities, increase their capacity to learn, act more effectively and better design their future. This is why she endorses O365, as it delivers a platform to support and grow digital literacy and enables users to achieve more and be more.