Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Day of DotNetNuke Charlotte 2012 Recap

Day of DotNetNuke Charlotte 2012

Unless you’ve literally been disconnected from the internet for the past 2 months, the Day of DotNetNuke Charlotte was held this past weekend.  After having the event in many notable places like Orlando, Tampa, Chicago, Paris, and Nova Scotia, Charlotte had its turn.  Not to be outdone, the sons and daughters of Charlotte did not disappoint.  If you missed it this year, you REALLY missed it…

From the very moment that the event was announced, the event and its attendees were seeing quite the welcome.  The mayor issued an official welcome, and the Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center welcomed us the night before by lighting their building red to honor the event.

FYI – The header photos are courtesy of the official unofficial community photographer, Oliver Hine.  You can see more of his photography on his Flickr page.

Thank You’s

First, the local organizers literally spent day, night, and weekends for the past two months ensuring that even the tiniest detail was not ignored.  Their coworkers and spouses pitched in.  They even enlisted members of the local user group, QCDUG.  Those leaders that spent an unknown number of countless hours are Allen Foster, Clint Patterson, and Robb Bryn.  If you see them or follow them on any social network, please take a moment to thank them for organizing the event.

What would a conference be without speakers?  The Day of DotNetNuke is a community event, organized by the community, for the community.  And in true community spirit, the event speakers not only dedicated their time to create world-class presentations, but they also traveled to the event on their own dime to make sure that all attendees could learn what they’ve learned.  This is a selfless act that deserves recognition.  You can see and contact each of them at the bottom of the event home page.

Day of DotNetNuke Charlotte 2012

We also had some amazing sponsors step up to the plate to come together and ensure that not only this event could happen, but that the event was a top-notch launch party for DotNetNuke 6.2.  Not only did DNN Corp sponsor, but some of the worlds best consultants, web hosts, and module vendors also contributed.  Of course the event requires speakers, organizers, and volunteers.  But there cannot be a party unless someone pays for it.  The incredible sponsors at this year’s event did a fantastic job of making sure there would be a party, so if you have a moment to ping them on email or twitter, please do.

The final thank you here goes to the very people that you may not have noticed the entire time.  The reason for this is because this group of individuals made sure that everything ran smoothly.  Like a championship football team, each of these people had a position to play, and they executed like it was game day, when in fact it was game day.  Just a different type of game.  This group of people consists of the volunteers!  They made sure people were registered, knew where they were going, had food and drink, kept time for speakers, and more.  If you thought anything at this event ran smoothly, the volunteers are one of your main reasons why.  Volunteers at these events are always the unsung heroes.

Let’s not forget the majority of the people at the event… The attendees.  After all, who would the speakers talk to, or the sponsors market to?  So this is really the final thank you.  You definitely deserve a thank you for showing up.  I of all people realize how valuable a Saturday can be for you.  When you take the time to show up at a Day of DotNetNuke, it speaks volumes for your dedication to the platform and how much you love it.

Now to the fun stuff…

The Event

This is the 6th Day of DotNetNuke event.  It has been held in Orlando, Tampa, Paris, Chicago, and Nova Scotia.  With this event being held all over the world to several audiences, I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t tell you that this was by far the best Day of DotNetNuke event, EVER!  Let me tell you why…

From day one, the organizers were locked on and ahead of me in planning.  Every step of the way, they didn’t just have their I’s dotted and their T’s crossed, they had three more paragraphs written.  Not only did they have the venues locked down, but they chose the best possible places we could be.  They were by far some of the best event organizers that I have had the pleasure to work with, and believe it or not – they have never done this before!

The day started early like it normally does with everyone getting acquainted with the venue, getting their t-shirts, bags, and name badges.  We were routed to a wonderful breakfast next to and amongst the sponsors that included some two-person sized breakfast burritos.  I could only eat half of one.  :D

There was a morning keynote that was given by DNN Corp CEO, Navin Nagiah along with DotNetNuke founder, Shaun Walker.  His attendance was kept a surprise until the very end.  If you missed it, you also missed him dressing up as the elusive @ShaunBobble!  Navin is an excellent speaker.  Like me, he strives to do the very best every time he takes the stage.  What I am trying to say is that you missed an excellent keynote speech!

Day of DotNetNuke Charlotte 2012

After the keynote, the sessions began.  There were a lot of sessions to choose from.  Perhaps too many, but that’s a much better problem than having too few.  Anything and everything that you wanted to know about DNN 6.2, from social, to SharePoint, to mobile was all at your finger tips.  Speakers from literally all over the world were doing a fantastic job. 

My only complaint would be that 45 minutes was far too short for a presentation.

Lunch was delicious, and even mostly healthy… Kudos to the organizers for that!  I’ve turned over a new leaf in my diet, so that was very appreciated. 

Day of DotNetNuke Charlotte 2012

The afternoon was kicked off by the “other” Will, Will Morgenweck, giving an afternoon keynote.  He spent some time walking us all through the new features in 6.2  from a high level.  You can only do so much in a 45 minute time block, and 6.2 really does have A LOT of features.  He asked the audience in the beginning to raise their hand to see how many people were interested in upgrading to version 6.2.  It wasn’t too impressive…  He asked the same question at the end of his presentation and it seemed that the entire room was raised!

Ignite DotNetNuke

The afternoon sessions went just as well as the morning ones, but we had a new treat in the Day of DotNetNuke at the end of the day.  For the first time, ever, Ignite was a part of a DNN event. 

If you’re not familiar with Ignite, this is a very fun concept where presenters have 5 minutes to create and give a presentation.  You cannot go over that amount of time.  In addition, the slide deck you use auto-advances each slide in 15 second intervals.  As a presenter, I can tell you that a 5 minute presentation is hard enough.  It’s more difficult than a 1 hour presentation.  However, the real challenge is the auto-advancing slides.  You have to get your messaging and talking points so crystal clear that there’s nearly no room for error.

The Ignite sessions went so well!  I completely expected a bunch of train wreck presentations, including my own.  But I guess we all knew what we were in for.  Everyone appeared to be well rehearsed and knew what they wanted to say.  The feedback for this was overwhelmingly positive.  I am sure that this won’t be the last time you see Ignite at a DNN event.

DNN After Dark

Whisky River CharlotteDNN After Dark is a very cherished tradition after the Day of DotNetNuke where all attendees, speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and anyone else that attended get together and hang out at a local bar & grill.  We went to a place called Whiskey River.  There were finger foods and drink tickets.  That’s pretty standard…  But this time, the venue had much more, including nice sponsor recognition, DNN logos lighting the wall and floor, and a fully functional mechanical bull!

Originally, there was a public twitter challenge for Will Morgenweck and Will Strohl (me) to compete to see who is the “Real Will” by riding the mechanical bull.  Facts are facts… Morgenweck never mounted the machine.  Just saying…

What happened instead was that Ryan Morgan of Arrow Consulting & Design (a gold sponsor) managed to challenge Shaun Walker and I to ride the bull.  Basically, in true adolescent fashion, it was, “Hey Shaun, if Will rides the bull, will you?”  Luckily, for everyone involved, Shaun accepted.  As a result, not only did we ride the bull, but about 10 others did as well.  It was a blast!

Day of DotNetNuke Charlotte 2012 Mechanical Bull from Will Strohl on Vimeo.

Okay… To be fair, Morgenweck did eventually ride the mechanical bull, but only after everyone else did.

Overall Impressions

The event attendance was typical of a Day of DotNetNuke.  We hit our goals.  However, the number of new faces, new companies, and people that are new to DotNetNuke in general was nothing short of inspiring.  I couldn’t be more pleased.  The t-shirts and branding at the event is unmatched.  I have a new favorite t-shirt thanks to the organizers.

The venue was awesome.  The only downside to the venue was that the majority of the presentation rooms required an elevator ride.  Luckily, the elevators there moved very quickly, so it really wasn’t a big deal.

One of the things that I’ve been saying, and I have seen and heard others echo, is that this was by far the best Day of DotNetNuke yet.  If you haven’t learned yet, while I may speak in campy but positive way when I write, these things are absolutely true…

  • Day of DotNetNuke gets better and better
  • Never miss another one
  • There’s always one or more surprises planned that you don’t want to miss

To sum this up, the Day of DotNetNuke is kind of like my baby.  Every time I get new organizers involved, it’s like hiring a brand new babysitter for the first time to watch your newborn while you go out for dinner and movie.  The organizers of this years event have done such a phenomenal job!  Please take a moment and thank them for providing such an awesome event and ensuring that DNN’ers world wide had a place and time to celebrate and launch DNN 6.2.

This blog entry is cross-posted from the official Day of DNN blog.

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