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Interview with Daniel Berg

Daniel Berg is one of the most devoted and skilled .NET developers you will meet. He’s very business oriented, a great consultant and a good guy. I’ve had the pleasure to work with Daniel for a year and to know him better. I also had the chance to interview him before his final days at work in Stockholm. I recommend reading Daniel's blog and following Daniel on Twitter.

Daniel Berg, .NET consultant

So, Daniel, you’re going to Thailand on vacation very soon, how does that feel?

It feels well deserved; it’s been a long year. I’ve moved to Stockholm and have worked with a new company – it’s been quite intense one could say. It feels good going to Thailand with my girlfriend for a couple of weeks. It’ll be great just relaxing on the beach, drinking coconut drinks..

Have you been in Thailand before?

Yes, I and a couple of friends went backpacking in Cambodia and Thailand a couple of years ago. I also went to Thailand during my early years, since my father was one of them who introduced Thailand to Swedes.

Can you tell us what will happen when you come home?

When I’m coming home, I’m moving to my apartment in Helsingborg. I will also plan a bachelor party and I will begin working with consultant firm Sogeti in Helsingborg (Sweden) (link in swedish).

So, you’re going from one consultant firm to another?

Yes, an organization which is a bit different though.

You’ve been with Hallvarsson & Halvarsson for a year, how do you feel your time have been there?

It’s been fantastic and fun. Hallvarsson & Halvarsson (H&H) is an interesting bureau because there are so many different competences around. The consultants within every service area are very capable in what they do. Even though there are so many competences, the project groups are relatively small, and because of this the project members must be the ones best suited for the task. This means everybody is very skilled in their profession.

Do you have a single project you’re very satisfied with from this year at H&H?

Yes, a platform for social media integration in a news room, where I’ve been an integral part of the team. This social media platform is very well built and has been fun to develop. It’s even more fun to see it being used and to see the satisfied clients. There has really been a demand on the market for this type of product.

When working as a consultant, what would you say are the most positive things?

Oh, there are many. That you’re able to take on many different roles. That your work isn’t the same from day to day. To travel and meet new people. That you always evolve and learn new things.

I also think most consultants have a curiosity many other employees don’t possess. As a consultant, you’ve got to have an interest in what you do and always develop in your profession. By doing so, you’ll be more attractive for potential customers.

If you stop being curious and if you don’t develop in your profession, your consultant day life will probably be boring and then you should possibly take on a 9 to 5 job.

What’s on the negative side with consultant life then?

Sometimes there are very long working days and that affects your private life. It gets tough when the economy is bad, particularly for consultant businesses. At the same time, there is a challenge in this, to hold your position and to continue being attractive to clients.

What do you think most consultant firms can improve?

The most important thing a consultant firm has is its consultants.

A consultant firm must be able to collect the best coworkers, to develop existing coworkers and keep them on track with what’s hot on the market.

A consultant firm must brand itself and be visible. A firm must dare to be a bit cocky and dare to tell people what the firm is good at.

Engaging coworkers is a great idea, and make them show what they can. Encourage use of social media such as blogging to make the coworkers show what knowledge lies inside the firm. This way, the coworkers become ambassadors for the consultant firm.

The single most important thing a consultant can do to help improve the economy?

In dark times you have to be as creative as you can and see the possibilities instead of focusing at the negatives. If you see the opportunities, ideas will pop up and this way you can inspire others. You’ll get a positive momentum.

It’s also important to know there are always business opportunities, even in a recession. By being creative and innovative one can help the economy grow again.

Can you share a cool story on something that has happened at work during last year?

It’s hard to point out a single event, but the other day when I went down to the bicycle room at the office, my colleague Gustaf had wrapped my bike in wrapping paper and put a small cat figure on top of it. He left a goodbye message too. We’ve been working on our bikes during the spring and this was like the last thing he did before I left.

Anything particular in the development community you’re looking forward to?

PageTypeBuilder and in the long run Silverlight, together with EPiServer and Google. I want to create an open source product and blog about it.

So what’s the plan with your blog then? What will we see there in the future?

I will focus more at EPiServer but also BizTalk and integration. I worked as an architect and technical project manager with Sogeti before Hallvarsson & Halvarsson and I will continue with this focus when I begin at Sogeti again.

I will also take some certifications, first MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) and then MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solution Architect).

You’ve mentioned something about Sogeti and a .NET award before?

When I was with Sogeti, we won a .NET award for a solution where SharePoint, Performance Point Server, BizTalk and InfoPath collaborated.

The solution looked like this:

Via SharePoint Forms Services, we presented InfoPath forms where users could publish and send data. This data was sent to a web service which was consumed by BizTalk. BizTalk processed the data and sent it to different systems, among them SQL Server.

This lead to a solution where it was possible to use Performance Point Server to show graphics in SharePoint, based on the SQL Server data. This way, it was easy to see how a business performed.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the price ceremony since I had given notice. When we won, an IT chief from our client Diaverum called me from the price ceremony and was filled with joy! Hopefully there will be more awards to win, where I can attend the ceremony!

Links:

Your roots are from southern Sweden, Helsingborg to be exact. How would you compare Helsingborg to Stockholm?

The tempo is much calmer in Helsingborg. I’ve got my family in Helsingborg too, but what I’ve been missing most during my time in Stockholm, is to be near the ocean. It’s also cheaper to live in Helsingborg, with better living possibilities. But I have to say a calmer tempo attracts me.

What will you miss most with Stockholm when you move back to Helsingborg?

I will miss my friends and my work in Stockholm. I will miss to be in the centre, where everything happens.

Putting development and consultant life aside, what do you enjoy the most in life? How do you spend your spare time?

When given the opportunity, I like sports like snowboard, wakeboard and kitesurfing. When you kitesurf, you use wind power and a kite to ride the board across the water. You don’t have to pay for any gas and in Helsingborg it’s much windier than in Stockholm.

I was a bit of an extreme sport fantast when I was younger and now it’s time to buy some gears, go down to the ocean and surf around!

Imagine yourself going to an island for a couple of months. You’re allowed to bring 3 items with you. What will you bring?

  • My girlfriend
  • An axe
  • Fire steel

A movie you really, really can recommend?

Slumdog Millionaire, it’s a really good movie. The way it’s directed is fantastic, and you get happy when you’re watching it.

5 quick

  1. EPiServer vs SharePoint?

    EPiServer for public websites, SharePoint for document management and user collaboration. I choose EPiServer if I have to work with one of these products for the rest of my life.

  2. Best Xbox 360 game?

    Halo!

  3. Friday evening, what do you do?

    I play the guitar by myself or hang out with my friends partying. Now I would say I spend some time with my girlfriend, watching a movie after a great dinner.

  4. Early bird or night owl?

    Night owl!

  5. Nicest chill music?

    My Spotify playlist. I’m a sucker for all things acoustic, like Ryan Adams, Jewel, Tom Petty, Matchbox Twenty, R.E.M., Sting and many more.

For how long have you been playing the guitar?

Since my time as a student. When I studied there weren’t very much to do at the campus, so you stayed at home and played the guitar. I know a couple of guitar chords at least!

In 10 years time, what will you do?

In 10 years time, I work as a system architect and will have delivered a large scale project which is of great use to very many people.

A quote to share?

Not a quote, but this:

When you think what you’re doing at work isn’t fun and you don’t like going to work in the morning – then you should quit. It should be fun going to work, what is the idea of work otherwise?

Any last words?

Thanks for a great time at Hallvarsson & Halvarsson and in Stockholm. Hope to see you soon again, in Helsingborg! And finally – see you at my blog!

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