This March while attending the DotNetNuke Open House - which takes place during the MVP Global Summit - I had the opportunity to speak to some of the European MVPs on the DNN team. After a series of in-depth sessions and talks in our Seattle offices at Two Union Square, many of in the group headed out to a local Seattle watering hole for some great American pub-style food, questionable American beer, and a whole lot of billiards action.
During the course of that evening it was a lot of fun to let loose and get to know the other members on the DNN team on a more personal level. I remember speaking in length to Sebastian Leupold about the trip I'd taken to Germany a few months earlier, and stringing together a long winning streak at the pool table with Erik van Ballegoij. (Really, is there anything which brings people together quicker than sport?)
Since I'd met some of the European team members at OpenForce events in Las Vegas in previous years, I also asked them about the DotNetNuke OpenForce Europe event, and how they find it differs from the US event. I was especially curious because I have never had the opportunity to attend the OpenForce Europe event/SDN Conference, nor have I ever travelled to the Netherlands.
I found one piece of feedback about "difference" very interesting. Subject: venue size.
Let's explain... DotNetNuke OpenForce Europe is held in an excellent conference facility near Arnhem (Hotel & Congrescentrum in Papendal) a little over an hour's drive from Amsterdam. I remember thinking at some point a couple years back, "Wouldn't it be great to have it right in Amsterdam itself?" My off-base rationale: the bigger the city, the bigger the attraction for attendees. The feedback I received challenged those assumptions.
While one can argue that Arnhem isn't on the scale of Las Vegas in its buffet of sights, sounds, and shows, there has always been plenty of great activities planned for attendees on-site and in nearby locations during the event. Even more important, the venue itself -- with conference facilities and lodging for attendees in a compact, convenient package -- lends itself to an atmosphere where tremendous networking and merrymaking take place. So, who needs the distractions of the big city (Amsterdam) when a smaller centre lends itself to more interaction and camaraderie?
I have found some great comments that were posted during the period of OpenForce Europe '08 that attest to the great environment and activities in Arnhem:
Tom Kraak reported "This smaller setting greatly facilitated networking among attendees, speakers, and DNN core team members, which played into meeting my main goal of the conference: mingling with the European contingent of the DNN community."
Chris Hammond shared his experiences trying to tame the bowling alley in the conference hotel ("That’s right, there’s a bowling alley in this hotel...") and meeting familiar DNN faces like Leigh Pointer, Tom Kraak, Stefan Cullman, and Ernst Peter Tamminga
Leigh Pointer spoke about meeting new people, the passion people have for DotNetNuke, and the group's great trips to the Euro Tower and Ajax Arena
For more information about the DotNetNuke 2009 OpenForce Europe event visit here: http://www.dotnetnuke.com/Home/OpenForce09/OpenForce09Europe/tabid/1287/Default.aspx