Link for today’s xRMVirtual- GREAT session!

(Look 2 blogs posts from me in 1 day!!)

Today we had McKenzie Stern present to us about Dynamics CRM out of the box for your business.  This was by far one of the best demos I’ve ever seen.  And demo doesn’t do it justice, this was not a sales pitch, everyone there was already sold on Dynamics CRM.

Not talking flashing, wiz bang stuff.  All hands on, no slides (except my announcements).  This is the practical how do you go use CRM for your business NOW stuff.  She connected so many dots for how the built-in features flow together.  Leads, opportunities, campaigns, product catalogs, and more. 

For developers, GO WATCH THIS.  You are all great but tend to re-invent the wheel too often, just cause you don’t know about the wheels that already exist.  Imagine how much more you can accomplish if you use/recycle the built in functionality.  THAT’S why we choose xRM.

(unless you are an end-user Dynamics CRM expert, it won’t matter what level of developer you are, you will learn)


Meeting link

Earth Day special half-price eBooks

In honor of Earth Day, I put both our CRM and Silverlight eBooks on half price special today, even SL4 content.

At the CRM book site, enter discount code earthday
At the Silverlight book site, enter discount code earthday4 for SL4 book and earthday for SL3 book.

These are fully authorized versions, complete with code libraries when applicable.


CRM as a Rapid Development Platform 

Silverlight Jumpstart

How do we educate our next generation of technologists?

As I was sitting in a meeting at Metro State College in Denver last night, I was thinking about this.  How can we educate the next generation of technologists?  This concerns me as a technologist myself.  As an employer.  As a parent (of some rather tech-savvy teenagers).  As a consumer of all this technology.

How can we prepare graduates to be both valuable employees from the day after graduation AND sustainable for the long haul?  How can we train for jobs and technology that have not yet been invented?  The jobs and technology that exist in our wildest exaggerated dreams?

We need to teach a life-long learner mentality.  Heck, non-tech people need that mindset, but techies even more so.  Our careers depend on us being able to move quickly to whatever is next.  So here’s my list of important life skills to have in order to be sustainable in your techie career.  This assumes you have little to nothing to draw upon already.

  • Learn a programming language, the actual language is negotiable.  I am partial to C#, it’s what we do around here, but this is your ticket to employment TODAY, so pick something that is current right now, knowing that it won’t be useful on its own in 5 years, or less.
  • Take some business classes.  If you can easily drop into any software need and understand WHY you are needed based on that particular business model you are employable today and tomorrow.
  • Spend time with like-minded people (user groups plug comes next).  Seriously, you will learn so much from them and them from you.  There are so many out there, spend a little time find one that will give what you need and that you can in turn give back to.
  • Take an enterprise approach and view of your solutions.  This not only helps you today, but it gives you big picture experience and allows you to quickly move to more and often larger projects for the long haul.
  • Know enough about intellectual property to stay out of trouble.  Read the EULAs you agree to, don’t blindly click yes all the time.  The laws on this are changing virtually daily, have an awareness, you will be invaluable to your employer.
  • Have an awareness of all the moving parts that are required to make a good solution.  When we hire a new developer I will often have them spend a few days as a tester before they get to touch any code.  When you code to your user you are a better coder.  Know why we have DBAs.  Know how much attention YOU need to pay to security. 
  • Find a mentor whose work ethic you admire and copy it, flat out, do what they do.  You probably won’t be taught how to be a good employee in any class, so this is on the job training.  A good employee that needs to learn a few more tech skills is worth more to me than someone that is smart but always late on projects and a pain to work with.

Seattle Code Camp this weekend goes virtual

I would like to think anyone that reads my musings would know what a code camp is, but just in case… it’s a day (or 2) of free technical training by the experts and the up and coming community leaders.  The goal is code, not fluff and should not require you to get time off from your boss.  We’ve done them around here as our Trifecta, we combine several technologies, not just .NET programming.

So, Seattle’s Code Camp v5 is this weekend and they’ve gone virtual too!  You can attend in person.  You can watch online LIVE.  You can watch the sessions later too.  All for free. 

Aren’t these community events awesome??

Seattle Code Camp - Home

Convergence 2010 ATL…why should you go?

Yup, it’s a conference.  Yup, it’s a Microsoft conference.  What makes THIS one that YOU should attend?

First of course, I’ll be there (wink).

Seriously, it’s one that’s pretty full of practical, go home and use it at the office tomorrow kinda content.  Go to the session catalog, search on your fav technology, say CRM for example.  You get 93 sessions returned.  93!  Reporting.  Strategy.  Accelerators.  xRM.  Social networking.  This is is the NOW of Dynamics CRM.  Might be enough to fill your brain, no?  And yes, I'm doing a few sessions and be writing a separate post on that soon, promise.  Many of the sessions are not your typical conference sessions, they are interactive, come and share YOUR story along with ours, learn from each other sessions.  Learning from each others’ successes (and failures too) is one of my favorite ways to absorb info.

Now, sessions are covered, we’ve got networking.  There are the typical attendee and product team parties/happy hours/etc.  In addition to that the Convergence site has a cool whiz-bang tool that allows you to organize your side meetings around your chosen sessions.  Go search on something, say CRM, and you’ll get some 250 returns of people with like interests that you can setup a meeting with while in Atlanta.  Loads of smart people there.  Meet them, shake some hands, learn some, teach some.

Expo hall…this year’s expo hall is sold out, and they extended the offering too.  What that says to me, is that we are all just about to bust wide open we’re just so darn excited about where our technologies are headed.  Ok, so maybe an exaggeration on the busting open thing.  But, you get the idea.  Wander around look at what others are doing, learn from them, get inspiration for making the next WOW thing when you get home.

Now comes the direct access to product teams and industry experts.  Yes, all these folks (I’m one of this group, helping at the CRM booths, come say hi) are quite receptive to emails and phone calls.  But, there is still something to be said about saying Hello in person, getting that handshake and eye contact.  Also, some might be intimidated, then they see we are all normal too and are easy to approach with questions and suggestions, or just a simple hello.

See you in Atlanta.

Convergence on Facebook

Convergence 2010 Atlanta