So last week was my first Sitecore Symposium as well as my first Sitecore MVP Summit. What took me so long?

I posted an article on the Perficient site regarding what from Symposium will be an advantage going forward for our customers. For this post, I’m going to talk to the human experience side - particularly mine.

I’ve been working in software professionally for 23 years, I started at the mere age of 2. Alright, not really since 2, but the 23 years is accurate. I’ve been to many conferences, seminars, and group think tanks through these years. Sitecore Symposium wasn’t the biggest or the most over the top conference I’ve been to but I felt it was the one that fulfilled me the most based on many factors.

First let’s describe the venue, the Aria Resort and Casino. From the moment on arrival, I felt comfortable. I really didn’t have a chance to relax though, I was off to meet my comrades from Perficient before heading to the first event, the welcome reception.  My first reaction after registration, grabbing the attendant goodie bag, and walking into third floor of the convention center was that the vendor area was modest from a “booth” perspective. Usually booths resemble a tent with tables, may be a kiosk. Here there were the kiosks, but no tent like structures, in fact each vendor was very approachable by design.

I ran into a couple of clients, a couple of old friends, and talked with many new folks at the welcome reception. You could definitely tell for most folks it was a travel day, but everyone was friendly and catching up with others they may have not seen in a while.

Next day was the first day of the conference, a bit of breakfast and off to the keynote. I split away from my crew at Perficient and sat off on my own. The keynote was excellent. A great setup for what we were going to absorb over the next couple of days. I really like Michael Seifert’s presentation style. You could feel his enthusiasm and the interactions with other Sitecore employees was fluid, almost with a great sense of comedic timing.

Next was the developer track keynote with Lars Nielsen. I knew a little of the story of Sitecore, but Lars provided a great background leading from the beginnings through where Sitecore was moving to. Understanding that background does mean a lot as we are working with the product. It also shows some of Sitecore's decision making patterns through the years.

From there it was an exercise of absorption in sessions over the next couple of days and discussion with many different attendees. After sessions on Wednesday was the MVP dinner. Conversations with all the Sitecore folks as well as the other MVPs was great. This was a group that was truly a community. Representing one of the Sitecore partners in the room, most of the other folks in the room are people we compete against for client work. In this forum it was different, competition didn't matter, as thoughts and ideas were shared and discussed. I\t was a shining representation of community sharing for the benefit of all of us not just some of us

The MVP Summit was no different. You learn a lot about yourself and everyone else in the room with the exchange of ideas. Uncharacteristically I kept things at a low key during sessions, just absorbing the moments of the day. Very humbling to be in a room with such intelligent people.

While I let loose a bit after Wednesday’s dinner, most of my evenings were in discussion about the day’s events and the things coming next to try or potential problems to solve.

This is a great time to be part of Sitecore. The potential to do some really great things is here now. Whether as a developer, marketer, or in any other capacity, there is so much more opportunity coming with the release of Sitecore 8 later this year and beyond (can’t share but I promise it is worth the wait).

So just like the message “Own The Experience”, maybe it is time to take a look at Sitecore if you already haven’t, or if already in the community, push yourself to create a better way to interact with customers and to share your experiences and to allow your customers to have their own.

I feel very fortunate to be part of such a great community. With that, time to go to work.