We finally found out what happens when you convene 1,000 Sitecore developers and marketers in Las Vegas for three days. Sitecore’s third annual North American user conference took place last week, packed full of presentations, networking and some after hours fun.
The nine ISITE Design team members in attendance were all business of course, renting out a house for an East meets West Sitecore Summit to unite our offices and discuss development best practices.
We asked the team what the best part of the event was and here’s what they said (on the record):
David Peterson, Senior .NET Developer
From purely a technical perspective, the highlight of the Symposium for me was “Breaking a Million with a Bucket of Items – How Item Buckets Eliminate Content Limitations”. Essentially, leveraging the power of Lucene in ItemBuckets to store and query extremely large repositories of items. Knowledge we’ve gained through this presentation will give us another point of view to consider when architecting large-scale projects.
Wendy Derstine, Solution Architect
I have attended Sitecore’s conferences every year and this one was the best one yet. There were so many good sessions – many times I wanted to attend more than one that was happening at the same time. There is nothing like being able to talk with fellow developers about real world problems and solutions and new information gleaned from the presentations.
I really enjoyed the guest keynote by Gary Vaynerchuk. Only a truly gifted speaker could rouse the audience like he did at 8:30 am after a late night the night before. Being that this was also my public speaking debut, I was very glad I had spoken the day before didn’t have to follow him!
Steve Kemper, Account Manager
I enjoyed seeing our team and client present on Global Site Strategy. Air Products has been a fantastic organization to work with over the past year and it was great to see how engaged the audience was in the Q&A. Clearly a lot of organizations are facing similar challenges. Air Products shared real world examples of how a large organization is unifying 30+ country sites and 22 languages into a single, centrally managed Sitecore platform.
I was also impressed and encouraged by Sitecore’s commitment to customer experience (to use the current buzzword), as well as their ambitious overall roadmap.
Jeff Cram, Strategist & Co-Founder
The size, scale and energy of Sitecore’s 2012 event were impressive and represented a huge leap from prior years. You could feel the momentum of the platform and the growth of the community. Most notably, this is clearly no longer just a developer-centric event, with an expanded business track attracting a critical mass of marketers and end clients.
Session highlights for me included hearing detailed real-life DMS case studies, as well as geeking out on the DMS Data Model with Pieter Brinkman, which gave me a deeper understanding of how the platform is organized. While the percentage of attendees using DMS felt light, the case studies were more advanced this year and most folks I talked to were starting to plan DMS-driven initiatives in earnest.
I always value the transparency Sitecore management provides to the partner community and this year was no different. A closed-door meeting provided an open forum to talk about the partner ecosystem with a town-hall style discussion. It’s clear Sitecore’s commitment to the channel remains strong.
We also learned that the Sitecore community knows how to let loose. The Tuesday night event was at swanky Vegas club and it didn’t take long before the place was jumping (time stamp 8:15 when the first brave attendee hit the dance floor). With closing time approaching and the party still going, Sitecore USA President Bjarne Hansen was the MVP of the night graciously keeping the bar open and the music thumping for a bit longer.
John Eckman, Managing Director, Boston
Sitecore CEO Michael Seifert talked up the event’s main theme of lifetime customer value in the opening keynote. It was a compelling vision, although I believe people struggle to figure out what that really means for their organization. Many Sitecore clients haven’t even implemented Page Editor, let alone harness the power of Big Data.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wednesday keynote talked about the human side of customer experience, telling the audience “the companies who are willing to scale caring, will win.” While it takes both technology and people to make it all work, it’s a good reminder that a CMS will require more good content folks, not less. DMS will increase the need for smart marketing analysts, not automate them out of a job.
The best interruption at the conference? A quacking cell phone.
Ozell McBride, .NET Developer
With three solid developer tracks, the conference was even more insightful than prior years. There were a couple of really cool presentations that stood out for me:
- Alex Shyba’s Extending the Platform using customization patterns – really just showed me that ISITE tackles many of the development problems the way that Sitecore’s most esteemed veterans do. And sometimes better.
- Tim Ward’s Multiple Ways to Mulit-site Solutions – Really interesting talk from Tim who was arguably the best presenter at the conference. Might have been a bit of overkill in what he presented but it was definitely thought provoking. Pretty much the way we do stuff on steroids.
- Tim Ward’s Breaking a Million with a Bucket of Items – I left the presentation definitely want to play with Item Buckets and I see many areas to take advantage of them in the future. It was great insight to what Sitecore is doing with the product as well.
- Alex Shyba and Nick Wesselman’s Page Editor Extension and Customization had a few great nuggets, and like most developers, I am just an Alex groupie.
Overall, the conference rocked. I flew across the country (Vegas baby!) to geek out with fellow ISITE developers and it just reinforced how smart the people are here I get to work with. Oh and I won $40 bucks!!!
What was the best part of the event for you? Add your comment below.