Community, Newsletters, Power Platform, Power Platform Weekly

Power Platform Weekly had a chat with MVP Guido Preite

Without Guido Preite there would not be a Power Platform Weekly, at least not in the same format as it is today. Guido started Dynamics Weekly on December 4, 2017 and ran it to October 5, 2020, creating #149 valuable issues. When he said goodbye to it and announced he had created the final issue, each one of us who today run Power Platform Weekly (Daniel Laskewitz, Ed Gonzales, Magnus Gether Sørensen and me), thought to ourselves; Dynamics Weekly will be deeply missed and there will be a gap which needs to be filled.

Now that we have run the Power Platform Weekly for a year, we wanted to feature Guido as part of celebrating one year with the newsletter. Me and Magnus had a chat with Guido and asked him if he misses Dynamics Weekly, what he’s up to nowadays, life in China and Italian travel tips, among other things.

An Italian in China

Guido is born in Italy and if you ask him for travel advice and what not to miss if one would go to Italy next summer, the answer is of course Bologna, which his Guido’s hometown. He was born in the south of Italy and mentions that a lot of people visit the north of Italy but not that much often the south.

Today Guido lives in Wuhan and in November this year he will have spent 2 years in China. Guido works as a Software Architect/Developer within Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. He mostly spends his workdays writing plugins and integrations and he thinks the most interesting part is to figure out how to implement something. During his two years in China Guido has been working remotely for a company based in Finland.

The PCF Gallery inventor

Creating PCF controls has not been the primarily focus area for Guido at work. He is the one behind the PCF Gallery though.

I created the gallery with the main goal to organize the work of others

Guido provides a platform for gathering PCF controls but he has also created one of the controls in there, mostly because he thought he should be in there too as a tool author, he mentions.

We discuss around using open source components as part of customer implementations. Guido mentions he once got a question if you can use a certain control at work and after that Guido added a license indicator to the controls presented in the galley. It does not say the exact type of licensing, the tool authors can add what license they want. Guido releases his PCFs under MIT, to give the most freedom, he says.

License indicator in PCF Gallery

Currently re-imagining a tool

Guido still runs PCF Gallery. He is also currently working with something new, or rather he’s re-imagining something which has been here for a while. It’s a tool. It will be a managed solution and be released on his GitHub account, public and open source.

It’s not something new, it’s a re-brand of something else. It’s one of my daily tools that I use

This tools needed someone to take the tool to the next level (like adapting it to unified interface and fix bugs). Keep an eye on Guido’s GitHub account and you can count on Power Platform Weekly to remind you of it when this new version of a tool has been released!

We talk about taking over project from others and that if you find some source code of some tool it might be difficult following other people’s code and that different developers have different coding styles. Guido mentions that when he created his Dependent Option Set Manager, he tried to think about adding comments and e.g. all the functions have a title which explains what the function does.

Dynamics Weekly

Guido started Dynamics Weekly with the purpose to get a list for himself to be able to go back to and to force himself to keep up with the latest and what’s happening around the platform.

We ask Guido about his process of putting together the draft. At Power Platform Weekly we are four people but still interesting to hear the Guido way of working. Guido mentions that some weeks he prepared during the week and sometimes he rushed it. He says that sometimes it was hard to find three good videos and that he could spend one hour on YouTube just to find good videos from the past week.

Sometimes I was really rushed, I did some newsletters like one hour before the release time. I was very strict on the timeline, it was 8 in the morning, European time

When we talk about the subscribers, Guido mentions that when you run a newsletter you get a lot of feedback from different people. We also talk about how during Christmas one can get your inbox filled with Out of Office responses, using a real e-mail address when sending out the newsletter. We talk about the type of feedback you get and Guido mentions people contacting him e.g. about articles they had found and read which were very interesting and to say it was exactly what they had been looking for. He also got a lot of feedback from content creators, e.g. when he added someone’s content for the first time.

I got some very warm feedback from subscribers

Guido mentions that when he started it, he did not expect that he was going to continue with it for such a long time. We talk about procrastination and how it is easy to procrastinate and do things just before deadline. It seams Guido learned something about himself during this time, that he is disciplined for sure, keeping a newsletter alive for three whole years.

I did not know that I was able to keep it running for so long time. I did not expect that, I expected maybe one year or one and a half

Picking out content

We talk with Guido about the content he picked out and how he did that. As already mentioned, he created the newsletter mostly for himself and it was the same with the content he added. He mentions that if he put something in the newsletter, he did it because it was of value for him.

It is always up to me, I decided what was inside the newsletter. If I put some article on the top it was because I thought that was very interesting for my experience. It was not something I created for others, it was for myself. If you found an article on the top it was because I did not know about that stuff

He also mentions that well written content that he already knew of could end up in the “Other interesting articles” section and he talk about how if someone wrote articles about very basic stuff from this persons point of view in a very interesting way, Guido had no problems adding it on top. We talk some more about finding content and how the platform has evolved over time.

Power Platform is very big right now. When I started, I was a bit worried about the content. I did not know if it was enough for each week. The platform grew up in the time I did the newsletter

A lot happened with the platform, but Guido decided he did not want to do any re-branding of his newsletter. He talk about how he remembers that in one introduction, he wrote that he will not change the name of the newsletter (even though the platform had grown out of being Dynamics only).       

Three years went by…

Three years after launching Dynamics Weekly #1 Guido found himself thinking it was tiring and simply did not want to do it anymore. It was time consuming and no meaning with adding articles if there was no time for reviewing them.

If I don’t read it, there is no sense for me to include it. That is probably one of the reasons that I decided to close it, I knew that my time was not enough to continuing doing a good work

Guido mentions that he did not want to hand it over to someone else and people to feel pressure to use the same name or put a burden on someone else. He also says he never had any problem with someone having another newsletter (lucky for us!), even on the same topics. He also mentions the other newsletter, which his focused more on pro developer content, Power Platform Developers Weekly, by Danish Naglekar. It was started when Guido still ran Dynamics Weekly and they talked about it before it was launch.

Does he miss Dynamics Weekly?

We talk about if Guido follows the news around the platform in the same way as before. He mentions that he does not do it as often as before and that the sources he uses are mainly newsletters (Power Platform Weekly, Power Platform Developers Weekly) and Twitter. We’re happy to hear he is reading our newsletter!

When Guido is asked if he misses Dynamics Weekly, now that one year has passed the quick and simple answer is:

Not to do it!

Guido is always welcome to do a special guest curator edition of Power Platform Weekly at some point if he should come to miss it. But it seems this is a closed chapter in the Guido book.

Some people asked me to continue, but I really consider it as a closed chapter

Three years is a long time and the community can be happy he ran it for such a long time and did it so well. We at Power Platform Weekly have him to thank for the inspiration! 

The moment I started the newsletter I had no ambition to make it as big as it got

The three final issues of Dynamics Weekly

Power Platform Weekly

As mentioned in the introduction to this post, no Guido and Dynamics Weekly, no Power Platform Weekly. We ask Guido what he thinks about Power Platform Weekly.

It’s something that the community needs

Guido mentions he was happy to see that we did not do it exactly as he did. Then we discuss around subscribers and how you can tell by the number of the subscribers that this is something the community needs and he also brings up that there probably is a “dark” number here too. We talk about how the number is important in a certain way, but who small numbers are good too. If 50% of your subscribers will read the newsletter, then we make a difference for 500 people.

You can see by the number of subscribers. I think now you are over 1000 subscribers. The number can look smaller. But I’m quite sure there are many people who are not subscribers but still read it

We asked Guido if he has some advice for us and our newsletter. In general, it’s to do our own thing. He also gave us the tip to keep an eye on the new MVPs who get the award every month, since they usually have a blog or YouTube channel with content for us to pay attention to.

I want people to find their own approach. You should not be forced to do anything. If you like it and still have subscribers, keep doing it. In the end it is your decision how you want to run it

We discuss around featuring our own content. Guido mentions he often put himself in the bottom of the list, he did not want to promote himself. Since we are four people it is easier to feature our own content, we can help each other to lift us up together with other community content. We then talk about what Guido refer to as “superstars in the community” and he mentions that as long as it is good content it’s no problem to feature it. We’re not Scott Durow, but you will probably see some of our content included from time to time anyway, somewhere in the list.

Let’s imagine that Scott Durow was running a newsletter. If he put one of his articles as number one I would not mind, of course it would be good quality

When we talk about Power Platform Weekly, Guido says something about the newsletter and this can be applied also to his Dynamics Weekly according to us.

It’s a wonderful thing to do a service that people actually enjoy reading

Events and local communities

When Guido is back in Europe, he will look at attending events again. He has spoken at some events in the past, even though that is not his focus area when it comes to community activities. A lot of people talk about the imposter syndrome he mentions, but that is not the case for him. He says if he finds a topic, developer stuff and knows the area he can talk about it. We discuss around how it’s normal to find people knowing more than you regarding the same topic and how that does not mean you are an imposter if this happens. 

Favorite travel destination that Guido would like to visit again is Japan, where he has been 4 times. There is also a massive Power Platform community there he says, but of course it is focused on the Japanese language. Still, he would like to go and visit such an event in combination with visiting Japan as a tourist again. You can find their site here.

There are no user groups in China that he knows of, sadly, he says. There are some Chinese MVPs though. If anyone of YOU readers know of Power Platform communities in China, let us know!

Big Power Platform Community in Japan

Community and being non-native English speaking

We talk about local communities and how the language might be a problem. Guido mentions that when he entered the community, he pushed himself to use English, e.g. write English blog posts. He prefers to blog in English to catch a wider audience. We discuss around the fact that most of the content in our community is made in English. There is also a big Spanish community, even with their own newsletter. However, with local language groups, like Italian or Chinese, it is difficult to find the number of people you find in the English community, Guido mentions.

The first thing Guido mentions when we talk about spare time is that he usually watches many TV series. We talk about how TV series helped Guido with the English language. The people who work with dubbing in Italy are very professional and many series are dubbed he mentions. For instance, the first TV series he saw in English was Smallville.

Smallville, the one with superman when he was young. It was many years ago. The problem was that the Italian TV they showed the episodes 1 year after the US release, so you had to wait 1 year to know what happened in the show. I could not wait for that. So I watched the original. First with Italian subtitles, then I switched to English subtitles. I improved my English, it was very essential to improve my English

We talk some more about the English language and Guido mentions that he is well aware of the fact that he speaks English with an Italian accent and that he tries not to be too much ashamed of it. Every nonnative speaking English person in the community can learn from Guido here! Not to be afraid to create content in English, both written and to talk. It can be hard sometimes, but it’s essential for us to be able to share our knowledge to a wider audience.   

Thanks to Smallville, Guido started to improve his English! (Picture from here)

Life in China

We talk about what Guido do in China, when he is not working, creating tools for the community or doing other community activities and not watching TV series. He mentions he plays soccer when he can, usually five-a-side (5 people against 5 in a smaller field). At least that is how he usually played in Italy, where he lives today in China it is more common with seven-a-side (7 against 7), or simply as many as they can gather for a specific day and time. About the 5 against 5, we learned what that is called in Italian.

In Italy it is very common. It’s called calcetto, everyone play that

As an Italian, of course he also enjoys food, and he mentions that he is very picky. He has both Italian and Chinees dishes on a regular basis at home in China, but he miss some of the Italian dishes from home.

Of course I enjoy food and I’m very picky about food actually. Real authentic Italian food is something that I miss

Life in Wuhan, the view from Guido’s apartment!

Italian travel tips

Guido is originally from Apulia, (Puglia in Italian), in the south of Italy. He mentions that t usually, the south is not something that you visit. Many people visit the Como lake, Florence and Venice, which of course is nice he says. When asking Guido about what to not miss when visiting Italy, the answer is Bologna (which is his home town). He mentions you can visit Florence and Venice in 1 day from there and what to see in Bologna – Medieval Center.

There is a river in the middle in Florence and the city is following the river. Bologna is a center, a circle. In center of the circle you will find most things of the medieval times. Was a very big city during medieval times. Many churches and towers

Bologna, picture taken from here. Who does not want to travel there?! (And to many other places in Italy too!)

After the interview

After our interview with Guido, we came to think about a few different things.

Guido started Dynamics Weekly mostly for himself to save different community work and have a place to go back to. When we started Power Platform Weekly it was because we had enjoyed reading Guido’s newsletter and enjoyed being featured in it. We have different motivations for running a newsletter.

Another thing we noticed was that when we asked Guido if he had any advice for us, the answer we got was mostly to do our thing and structure it the way we want to. That it’s our decision how to run it and other feedback (i.e. feedback from Guido) should have little use and importance. Both structure and content. He mentioned that subscribers need to understand that a newsletter might not be what they wish but it is as they receive it. That was also the approach he had for Dynamics Weekly, after all he started it for himself to have lists to go back to. We have a slightly different approach to feedback and would probably consider more what other people suggest. But again, we started the newsletter with the mindset that Dynamics Weekly will be missed, and we wanted to provide a similar “service”, not for ourselves primarily but mostly for others.

Another thing to mention is that it was Guido and Guido alone who ran Dynamics Weekly. He has mentioned in an article on his blog that he had some help by Jonas Rapp sometimes, but mostly I imagine it was Guido alone with the responsibility to create a newsletter each week. We are four people and could potentially cover for each other some week (we usually all edit the drafts in collaboration all week though).

It was really great to have a chat with Guido, we thank him for taking his time and jump on a call with us. Isn’t it amazing with this community, that we can jump on a call with people from different parts of the world, talking about development, code, tools and life as well as getting traveling tips!

Don’t forget to keep an eye on his GitHub account for that re-imagined tool!

How to get in contact with Guido Preite

LinkedIn: in/guidopreite
Twitter: @crmanswers
GitHub: GuidoPreite
PCF Gallery:

Really nice “seeing” you for this chat!

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