Directions EMEA 2011: Final thoughts

I always try to "wrap up" a convention that I visited .. and I will do so now as well for Directions EMEA 2011 in Berlin .. or at least I'll try try.

The location

This time, it wasn't in a warm city like Barcelona, or a romantic city like Prague .. but it was actually in a city full of history: Berlin. I never visited the city, so what I did was: I flew to Berlin on Sunday before the conference, just to take a look at this city .. you know, the Wall, the War, .. the Berlin history is quite interesting. I biked for two days through Berlin, and here you have some impressions.. :

Walking hotdogstands (bratwursts)

Oops .. Wrong building number..

A piece of neon-Art (sorry to show you this .. I find it kind of disgusting, but then again .. It's art, right? It was right in front of our hotel)

Weird cars that advertised the "curryworst museum" (where are the front wheels .. and really .. a museum about saussages??):

I was really impressed by the stories of the Wall .. So seeing the Wall myself was quite a special moment..

And one that shouldn't be missed .. The "front gate" of berlin: the Brandenburg Gate (I actually had a really really nice dinner very close to this place ... thanks, Gary :-)):

Conclusion: in Berlin everything is possible! And that was nice opening for a convention about Dynamics NAV .. a product where everything is possible as well :-).

The convention was situated in the Estrell Hotel .. quite far from the center of Berlin, but an ideal conference center: easy-to-find-rooms (in some convention centers, this is really a problem), all on one floor (at least for me ;-)), good food, cool Foyer where the sponsors had a booth that was constantly manned .. Nice! Good choice for a conference!

The Sessions

One word: great! Not because I have been giving one (more info about that later), but more because I was constantly doubting what session I would go to, because all concurrent sessions were so interesting :-). Some of them where these:

  • Per Mogensen (still don't know how to pronounce his name): he did a session about his mergetool .. and I realized: it really has got potential! I always knew it was out there .. but I never took the time to dive into it very deeply. I assure you I will in the near future. What really amazed me during that session was the "easyness" (if that's a word at all) he has in presenting his stuff. Someone asked: can you explain how the Helptool works. And he elaborated that, totally unprepared, in a 10-minute explanation, which fully explained how easy it is to do it with his tool .. by just demo-ing it. Cool reaction , cool tool, cool presenter!
  • And then Stuart Glasson's session: .Net Interop. I have been sending quite some samples (some of them I already blogged about) and he actually used one in his session. There was only one small little item I disagreed with .. namely working with enums (you know that I'm going to blog about that in the near future .. The post is ready, but other things are making me blog first about .. :-/ .. like this). But besides that .. great session!
  • And of course the Keynote. Now, as you know, i'm not a Keynote-fan. But there were two reasons I went: I knew there were going to be a lot of announcements, and Kirill Tatarinov (Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions) was going to be the speaker. I don't have much experience with Kirill's speaches, but one remark I got from Per was "Kirill has been talking for 45 minutes, and I didn't even heard him say "AX" once" :-). He is a good speaker, and you really had the impression that he believes in the product, and really doesn't find NAV any less then AX (but then again .. I would like to hear him say that on a convention that is not "NAV-Only" ;°) ).

My Session

"Web Services" was the title of my session .. again. I'm quite familiar with giving this session, as I have been doing so a number of years now :-). It was originally planned on Friday the 13th .. and I should have known. Something had to go wrong. Also, my session was after the sessions about the cloud .. which wasn't very "logical".

I got the opportunity to reschedule to Thursday, so I took that offer :-). But when my session started, there was lots of confusion: people thought the other session (that I replaced with mine) would take place (in fact, even the speaker of that session thought that was the case). In all the confusion, I forgot to plug in my adapter, and started with my session, which was not attended by too many people (about 20): I could understand that, because there were two other quite interesting sessions at that time as well. Besides the fact that my laptop almost died on me because of the lacking power adapter (thanks Ronny, for mentioning that just in time!), the session went quite well .. . I did some new demo's, introduced a new term "Cannibalism" (for which I got quite some good reactions), and an integration with Linux (yep, I think I was the only one to show Linux at Directions :-)). You can download the pptx here.

Gala dinner

It's a tradition at Directions to also organise a Gala-dinner. This time, they rented some kind of night club. There were some performances, music, girls .. but above all .. a cocktail bar!! Which I really got to appreciate. Good Mojito's! Salsa (the dance..) was the only thing I missed to make the evening perfect! :-)

Wrap up

It is said that this was the best edition ever .. and I must agree. Although I like the city Prague better, the convention itself was just perfect! Everyone who wasn't there .. were wrong! It's goot for developers, managers, consultants, sales .. everyone, just like the movie said on one of my previous blogs.

And to conclude, again some impressions of the convention itself:

Lots of people during the keynote:

But on Friday morning at 8 a.m., the night afther the gala dinner ..

Thanks to the Directions EMEA team for giving us good value voor the time in Berlin!

Comment List
  • yeah, I heard that the next day.  I was in Freddy's session (very interesting, by the way), but really .. if I would have known that, I would have done the session again!

    One lesson learned .. I will never change timeslots again!


  • Regarding moving you session; we were at least 25 people waiting for you session in C1/2 on friday, all having missed it being moved. So if you are going for a large audience don't change timeslots :-)