The best conference in the world

Another KulenDayz, again better than the last year. And I am again returning home full of great impressions.

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First of all, for my fellow SharePointers: I’m not talking about any SharePoint conference here. It’s a general, Microsoft-technologies oriented, a bit more towards developers/.net oriented community conference in Croatia, southern Europe. The whole conference is masterminded by four wonderful people, and organized by them and their whole team. And that’s where all the credits go: Maja Janic, Bernardin Katic, Nenad Bestvina and Dean Vitner – you guys rock, and you know it!

So what is so special about KulenDayz? It is a no-bullshit, no-politics, no-marketing conference, from the community, for the community. It’s also seen as a gathering of the MVPs (Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals) from the region. All technical sessions are level 300 or above. After the first few introductory sessions, held in the conference center, the whole conference has been moved to the nature, in tents, under the trees, where all you have is a whiteboard, few markers, and your knowledge. No PowerPoint, not even a computer. You write code? No problem, write it on the whiteboard. Your audience don’t want to see your code syntax, they want to you to understand what are you doing, and why. And a whiteboard has to be sufficient for that.

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KulenDayz Speaker Idol Jury

Between and after the sessions, of course there is a fun element with the whole thing. A lot of fun, actually. On Saturday, the barbecues were glowing. You could always grab something in between the sessions. And who wasn’t for the barbecue, could always get a piece of the famous Croatian sausage – the Kulen (hence the conference name!). It is pronounced like cool’n. The day has finished with a party, and a great cover band was playing live for the conference participants (Shine on You Crazy Diamond? Seriously…). We have joined them on the stage. Good times!

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Adis & Zvonimir, after the session

On Sunday, the conference program was organized at the small private winery, in between the vineyards. Oh yes, with a concert of Zagreb String Orchestra, which was playing Mozart and Gershwin. .NET, SharePoint, wine, and Mozart? Why not. You can’t really call it a SharePint, but it still rocks 😉

I was holding a slightly different sessions this time. A good friend of mine, and a great fellow, Zvonimir Mavretic, and I, were explaining to the .NET developers what does it take to become a SharePoint developer. What can they take with them, from their .NET (and JavaScript!) world, what will they have to learn, and where they will have to adapt their mindset slightly.

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Sessions

In the evening, in the last conference slot, I was aiding my friend and colleague, a SharePoint MCM Aleksandar Draskovic, in his session about the lifecycle of large-scale, enterprise SharePoint projects. That was fun, it was more a round table, than a typical session, but it was still great. No PowerPoint, remember! A whiteboard and your knowledge is all what you have.

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Friends. Wine. Good times. With Maja, Bernard and Ilija.

What to say on the end about this conference? Over 300 KulenDayz participants were delighted. You could see it in their faces. Some serious tech talk, barbecue, a live rock band, wine, and Mozart did the trick. Those were the best KulenDayz, ever. Actually, this was the best conference I have ever attended. Just a word to the organizers – you have one serious problem now: it is near to impossible to make it any better the next year.

You guys rock, seriously.

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Mozart in the hay.