Julie’s 2010 in review- nope never boring

What a year it was for me, personally and professionally. Some of the opportunities I had in 2010 still amaze me and I hope to be as fortunate in the future. Personally I couldn’t be happier or more proud of my family, but since this blog tried to focus on the professional side of me, you won’t see a ton of the husband and kids thrown in here. My outlook on 2011 is good. Professionally a new product release, Dynamics CRM 2011, will be good for business. Personally our kids will both be marching at Disneyland and our oldest will graduate high school and start college.  My wish to you all is a safe end to your year and a happy 2011 that is what you make it to be.

I think I traveled more this year than any other year in my life. I flew a total of 77,246 miles and covered North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. I spent time in Colorado, New York, California, Washington, Nevada, Illinois, Georgia, Minnesota, Louisiana, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Washington DC. (was my first time to Idaho and Montana, cool to cross a couple more off that list)

In January Dave was asked to go teach a class in South Africa. Since Africa was highest on my bucket list of places to go, I knew instantly that I would join him. Then because it’s so far away I didn’t feel right leaving the kids here in the states, so they came along, missed two weeks of school. I was fortunate enough to be able to not only attend the inaugural meeting of the xRM user group in South Africa while there, but was able to speak with them a bit too. It’s really cool to see the giving nature of developers globally for the greater good of our profession. On a personal note, we did go early and take a traditional safari and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. I was able to pet baby lions, to see so many giraffes I lost count and spend days totally amazed that I was seeing such a far away and fascinating place. Then while we were driving through Kruger National Park and I was reaching over the seat in the car to get some Twizzlers for Dave and we hit a bump, I broke a rib, then icing on the cake, two days later my anti-malaria medicine made me sick. Talk about pain. I told myself that I would be an adventurous eater and eat what was offered to me by our hosts on our safari. I ate kudu, warthog, impala and wildebeest. Wildebeest tasted awful, impala was soooo yummy and the others were ehh.

February brought me to the end of my MBA program. So proud of the accomplishment, but I do miss the weekly classes a bit (call me crazy) and I miss the people too. Spent the entire program start to finish with the same 8 people, we became close and I don’t get to see them often enough since then. I was able to attend my first ever Microsoft MVP Summit. Having known so many MVPs over the years it was great to be one and go. We finished the month with the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta v2, a huge success (RMTT v3 is March 5th!)

March was pretty quiet for us; we even stayed home for spring break for like the first time ever. We had so much snow we all agreed it should have been named snow break, not spring break. I think we’ll head for sunshine next March.

April took Dave and I to Belgium and Ireland. Belgium was nice, having lived there before it wasn’t touristy, but a nice few days for just the two of us. We explored some new places, had some great food, and spent a good couple days in a CRM 2011 class. Ireland was another item on my bucket—list, so glad I got to go. Was very green, was overcast, was bad food, just what I had expected. The big Dynamics conference, Convergence, was in Atlanta. It was great to go and I presented a few sessions. I loved the sharing of ideas and again the great sense of community. In April I was also renewed as an MVP.

May made me 40 years old. I knew I wanted to be a great 40, so I planned a party. Friends from all over the country flew in for Memorial Day weekend and friends from all over Colorado came for my party. We had a big cake, decorated with candy of course; we had good wine, good tequila and good conversation for hours.

June was great because I got to share Tech Ed with my son. He earned his own free pass by working and helping at the Birds of a Feather sessions. The night before the conference began we were walking to our hotel and I slipped on the road and broke my big toe/foot. Since it was in New Orleans many folks assumed I’d been drinking but I was totally sober, just clumsy. When I followed up with my doctor at home he suggested I should have been drinking, the drunks never get hurt. J

July started with me getting an emergency root canal in Hawaii by a semi-random dentist from the phone book. I was so abscessed that the anesthetic didn’t work, so I had the root canal without anything to deaden the pain. Yup, worse than the rib and the broken toe combined. The rest of July was great, we had a wedding (congrats Mike and Amy) and we were able to spend most of the month there, working still but with great scenery.

August took me to the DC area for business. When I picked up my rental car and left the airport, I didn’t even make it a full mile before a lady ran a light and ran into me. I had the unique experience of returning a rental car that was wrecked. I was basically fine, a little sore, couple bruises from seat belt and steering wheel, much better than the lady that hit me and broke both arms. I hadn’t had a car accident since I was 20 years old! Kids started school then too and I officially feel old with a senior in high school.

September presented a challenge, Dave’s birthday. He is impossible to buy for, we are already so fortunate. So, we took the family on tiny little planes to Yellowstone for the long weekend. We had never been and had some great family time (no cell signal or internet for 3 days!) and took some great pictures. Also in September CRM 2011 went to Beta and NDAs were lifted, so we could TALK and BLOG about it! xRMVirtual had its highest attended meeting ever, some 500 on the live event and several thousand views of our recording for our meeting introducing the product before the official beta launched. We were defiantly honored that our group was given such a great opportunity. It shows the power of community and how serious it is taken by our friends at Microsoft.

October was a month of being a marching band mom. The Pine Creek Eagle Marching Band did great! High scores, awards and a 16th place finish in the state.

November presented us with another challenge, where to go on miles the week of Thanksgiving? The kids have the full week off school and we had bazillions of miles (well, almost) to spend. We kinda threw a dart and wound up in Japan. None of us had ever been and it was great to share all the newness of that with each other. The flights were long (not as long as going to Africa though) and the food was good.  Japanese women are beautiful and just as fashionable as the French.  And my son told me I looked like a tourist.  Hmmm, you think?

December was another proud mom month; both kids had solos in the band concert! They did great, was very cool and very proud. I also had the chance to work on a cool little project with an old friend. We donated our time and made a customized CRM for a dog rescue, took us a weekend and it was great working with her again but also rewarding to give back. What remains for me in 2010? Dave gets home tomorrow and we have no plans at all other than enjoying our family until the next crazy thing comes up (which looks to be January’s trip to Brazil and perhaps Dubai).

Looking to join the Microsoft CRM product team?

Cool job opportunity, join the team as 2011 launches, great timing!  Job is in Bellevue, contact Varun Krishna [email protected] for details and discussion.

Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Do you want to be part of something great? Are you a technically savvy energetic self-starter who thrives on working on complex and challenging projects in an entrepreneurial environment? Do you want to be a key contributor and lead evangelist to one of Microsoft’s hottest and fastest growing businesses? If so, the worldwide Microsoft Dynamics CRM product management team wants you!
Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables organizations to effectively interact with and manage their customers and partners across marketing, sales and service. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been recently recognized by top-tier analyst firms as a leading vendor in the CRM marketplace and has recently reached over 1.4 million business users after only a few short years in market. With a brand new product launching in early 2011, the opportunity for growth and market-share is virtually unlimited!
As a Technical Product Manager for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you will have the unique opportunity to contribute to Microsoft’s success in the CRM marketplace across both on-premise and on-demand solutions and own as a primary thought leader for our technical value proposition.  Our team is small and scrappy, and we’re working at a frenetic pace to drive an innovative release to market.  This is a high visibility role that requires energy, passion, technical brilliance and most of all execution excellence.
Key responsibilities include:
§ Understand field, partner and customer needs and competitive trends in customer relationship management (CRM), business application suites, software-as-a-service, business strategies and technologies and to translate those into specific deliverables that can drive the business.

§ Helping us tell the One Microsoft story in the Cloud – and building content and demonstrations that speak to the power of CRM Online + Office 365 + Azure in a compelling way

§ Developing the end-to-end TDM positioning and messaging strategy and plan for worldwide marketing and sales efforts.
§ Understand the broad range of business and technology issues in real-world CRM deployments, and how Microsoft Dynamics CRM and other Microsoft products (Office, SQL Server, SharePoint, Windows Workflow Foundation, etc.) can help small, midsized, and large businesses to address these challenges
§ Take ownership for the end-to-end creation and on-time delivery of specific CRM technical sales and marketing tools and collateral associated with the CRM application platform, architecture/SOA, workflow, analytics, mobility, including the management of work-streams and associated v-teams
§ Serve as an internal and external spokesperson and champion for Microsoft Dynamics CRM by speaking at worldwide forums, including TechEd, Tech Ready, Convergence, WPC and others. Participate in readiness activities to ensure the CRM technology specialists are equipped and understand how to tell a great CRM technical story.
Key requirements include:
§ The successful candidate will have 5+ years of technical product management experience in business applications coupled with success in dealing with complex strategic marketing projects and issues. Dynamics CRM technical experience is required. Sales Force Automation experience is preferred. Business Intelligence, Workflow, Mobility experience is very helpful. Bonus for technical understanding of Microsoft Cloud solution offerings (Office 365, Windows Azure (App Fabric, Data Market, SQL Azure etc..).
§ Demonstrated ability to merge technical ideas with business ideas into images and words that resonate with customers and partners to inspire, motivate and drive them to action.
§ Demonstrated technical/development ability to plan, create and support the development of demo tools, demo environments and custom demos and demo related content.

Colorado Springs Give Camp 2011, the video promo

We are working on our first ever Colorado Springs Give Camp in January.  We get a bunch of software developers matched up with charities that need software development and they spend one long weekend making custom software solutions to give to the charities at the end of the weekend.

Interested in volunteering, let me know. 

Interested in getting some software made for your organization, let me know.



Gluten I suppose…

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Launch Events (at last!!)

At long last, launch events!!  It seems that I’ve been hearing about CRM 2011 (or CRM5) coming out long enough, no?  I’m ready for a fully live fully awesome product launch, and now we have them.

I love the idea of the virtual launch combined with in-person events, goes right along with the cool cloud offering with CRM Online and the on-premise choice you have with CRM 2011.

There are 15 different tracks you can take, but for me, I kinda want to see some from all of them.   Why?  No, not crazy (well, THIS doesn’t make me crazy).  It’s because I just know that something exciting someone figured out with healthcare CRM can spark idea for me when I am making xRM applications. 

One of my favorite things in CRM 2011 is how quickly and easily I can turn my far-fetched ideas into software reality for my cutting-edge clients and for my 2am hair-brained ideas, no code required.  Then when it’s time for code, the possibilities to me are virtually limitless.

I know I am biased, but so are you, you’re hear reading my biased blog, right?  Winking smile

Tracks and link to register here:


New CRM Software | Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Launch Events

FTC proposes 'Do Not Track' tool for Web marketing, hmmm

So basically this is like a Do Not Call list for your online presence.  While I can appreciate the intent, I think this is wacked (sorry, couldn’t think of a more appropriate word).

A pure do not track tool would put many folks out of business or force them to be deceptive in their approach to its consumers.  And it’s unnecessary. And not very enforceable (just bounce your stuff off some server in another country, tadah!)

Could you imagine a Bing or a Google or a Yahoo unable to track what you were doing in response to their content?  That’s pretty much their whole monetization strategy, no?  A literal interpretation could prevent useful results in search engines as well (the general quality of search results can be a debate for another day).  Great way to preserve American jobs?

So the way around it is some 4pt font legal agreement that says by clicking here you agree to tracking.  No agreement, no service.  Where does that lead us?  Paid subscriptions to these providers so they can still float when we deny them their ability to throw some ads in the results?

Until we start paying per click as consumers on the internet, I say no harm no foul.  Keep it on the radar for when some folks go overboard and require us to step in. There exists now tools to deny ads from displaying in your browser.  You can opt out of emails and set up rules for spam content easily.  It’s more about educating the general public in these tracking strategies and giving them some best practices to follow to determine their comfort level and change their internet behavior accordingly.

FTC proposes 'Do Not Track' tool for Web marketing