Sami Laiho

Meet NIC Speaker Sami Laiho

Sami Laiho is one of the world´s leading Windows OS and Security professionals. Sami has been working with and teaching OS troubleshooting, management, and security since 2001. He was voted best speaker at NIC in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020. We are looking forward to seeing Sami back on stage for our 10th anniversary in May/June!

What do you look forward to the most with this year´s NIC?

I´m looking forward to seeing people´s faces when I speak to them. I´ve been teaching online for 18 months and doing a lot of conference sessions, but it´s difficult because typically when you tell a joke, you hear if people laugh or not. Now you speak for 75 minutes and must go to the chat afterward to see the reactions. So, the biggest thing for me is seeing people´s faces when I speak to them.

What do you hope to take with you from this year's NIC?

It's been a long break since the last live event, so I'm expecting to learn new things. With the possibility to participate, I do expect to see great sessions. Also, a very important part of troubleshooting is networking, so I'm expecting to get a good feeling about my work. I've always loved live events, so meeting people again will be very motivating as well.

What is your best memory from previous years at NIC?

I think the best memory would be when we did a show at the afterparty with Alex De Jong. It was on the big stage after the session, and you could say it was like IT-stand-up. I remember it well, and it was really fun.

Why would you recommend anyone to attend the conference?

People don't understand that the most important skill in troubleshooting is networking. Today you can't know even near to everything, which means that you have to know the people who know what you don't. It currently takes 100 engineers at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond to know everything about Windows, so people should cut themselves some slack. You cannot know everything, so networking and getting to know the right people is the most important skill.

What is your best tip for someone attending the conference for the first time?

One great thing about NIC is the expo and the food. You can usually eat throughout the day, so pick a good time to get some lunch as there is no mandatory time slot for that. Also, don't miss the party. People often seem to be leaving early, but I think it's always worth it because of the networking opportunities. Another thing is to join sessions you are interested in, where you have a question or want to meet the speaker. There's often a lot of material available online which is mostly sales material if you ask me, so take this opportunity to get insights that you can only get from people with real-life experience. 

Lastly, a personal request from a speaker would be to remember to give feedback after the sessions. The feedback is more accessible to give at NIC than at any conference I've been to, and I encourage people to do it. It's important for us speakers to know how we did.

Do you have a fun story from previous years at NIC that you could share with us?

There was one fun case where a very good friend of mine from Sweden, Johan Arwidmark, was speaking about Windows virtual secure mode and he had said in his session that there is a small virtual machine inside Windows. I had another session running in the next room, saying the opposite. Then we ended up in the same panel session afterward, and when they started asking the audience for questions, the first question from Twitter was 'Sami and Johan, is there a small virtual machine inside Windows or not? '. We had no idea that we had been doing the sessions simultaneously, saying different things. That ended up being a duel between us, but we're very good friends, so that was very fun. [Sami claims to have won that duel].

Check out Sami Laiho´s Pre-conference Masterclass here: