Extreme CRM 2011 Conference

This one is new for me.  This is not the first time for this particular event, just my first time.  I know enough of the folks behind the scenes and enough of the speakers that if THEY will put their reputation on this conference, then I will roll the dice (Vegas pun intentional) too and give it a try.

What I know…

  • the event is for CRM partners
  • some rock stars are going to be there
  • it’s in Vegas!
  • biz and tech roles will find content of value
  • October 2-5

I am currently slotted to discuss (wait for it…) xRM!  More specifically, xRM: are you missing opportunities you don’t know are there?  We’re still chatting about other possibilities too, but that’s as it stands today.

Like most conferences, they’ve got some great marketing folks on their side, and have come up with some official-sounding blurbs.  Yes, I am copying/pasting some here.  Why?  Because it’s smart to let people do what they are good at doing and I’m not in marketing, but they are!

Got any questions about the event, ask me, I’ll find the answers for you.  Going?  Let me know!

Extreme CRM 2011



(blurb from marketing folks, they are much more polished than I am, it’s what they do Smile )


The premier event for Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners is just around the corner. Extreme 2011 Las Vegas will be held from October 2nd though October 5th.

Extreme CRM conference is a 100% partner focused event dedicated to advancing best practices and strategies for successful Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner organizations. The goal of extreme is to make a partner driven event that creates a unique opportunity for all CRM partners to really go deep on improving their business and to make important personal connections that will help them in their businesses going forward. Partners have much to learn from each other as well as from Microsoft and extreme offers the perfect venue for that. There are four tracks at extreme: Business Leadership, Sales and Marketing, Developer and Implementers.
I will be speaking at extreme this year and hope to see you there. My session will be xRM: are you missing opportunities you don’t know are there?.

Some highlights from last year’s extreme 2010 event:

· Over 300 attendees from 165 partner organizations.

· Representation from 14 different countries.

· 97% indicated they would be coming back in 2011.

To find out more about extreme and to register visit their website. Also don’t forget to follow extreme CRM on twitter (@extremeCRM) to keep up with the latest announcements.

Looking forward to learning and networking with my fellow Microsoft Dynamics CRM professionals!

Back to school=back to bullying?

Gosh, I hope not.  But I know better.  Here’s my random brain dump on the subject.  This is based on my experience as a teenager and as a mom of teenagers.  Am I the perfect mom?  Absolutely NOT.  I do what I can with what I have and hope for the best.

First, a reminder to parents. The pain and heartache your kids feel now is absolutely and totally real.  It could quite possibly be the most pain they have ever felt.  Just because you now have decades more experience don’t forget how you felt at that age.  Sure you got past it and have now experienced much more of life’s ups and downs.  The awful truth is that some teens don’t make it thru that.  Hug your kids everyday.  Listen to them, even when it seems trivial.  When it’s not trivial, they will come to you, knowing you are always there to listen.

Now to the kids.   I promise high school is temporary and it sucks for many people.  It is awkward, judgmental, stressful and an unfortunate requisite for the next stage of your life.  But I promise it is far better to peak later on in life than now.  I know it looks so awesome now when someone is totally popular.  I assure you they too feel insecure.  They have fat days.  Their face will break out too.  Their popularity means they have more people watching.  Not as cool now, eh?

You will see (and many will participate in) bullying.  That word gets tossed around a lot, but let me break it down a little.  When two kids say something to one all by themself, that’s bullying.  When the more popular girl says something catty under her breath toward a classmate, that’s bullying.  When you hear someone say something and it makes your tummy churn, that’s probably bullying.  It can be a single event.  It can be repeated over and over in different ways.

What can you do?  I am hopeful that you would stand up to the bully and call them on it.  However, I am realistic enough to know that is not how high school works.  So, if that is not an option, try this.  Just go over to the victim and give them an out.  Go start a conversation about something, anything, to interrupt what’s happening.  Go tell them you like their shoes and ask where they got them.  Ask them a question about a class you may (or may not) have together.  The idea is to stop the meanness and give the victim dignity in the situation.  Show them they are not alone and you saw what happened, and it’s not ok.

If you are the bully, watch out, karma’s a bitch and we are all just human and will grin when it comes back to get you.

Do what you can to remove the stress that you can control.  Do a few good things for people that need it and for you.  Talk with your parents, or a “trusted adult.”  For me that means that when kids come talk to me with their problems, they get a hug.  They talk thru the problem.  I make sure they understand the world is not ending.  I don’t judge them.  Then I make sure they know how to talk with their parents to get thru whatever it is as a team.  I keep your secrets safe (from other kids), I’ve got no one to tell.

Learning about #CRM2011 sales from fro-yo…a parable

Bear with me for a minute on this one, I promise to bring it around and make sense…

Last night we took our daughter to Pinkberry for frozen yogurt.  I do not like yogurt.  Any yogurt.  I do not eat it.  I just don’t.  I have dairy issues on a good day and I am totally creeped out by the thought of eating something advertised as ALIVE.  Yes, I know everything I eat has little live things on it, but most have the courtesy to pretend that doesn’t exist, or at least not advertise it.  It’s a quirk I have, I’m over it.

So, back to Pinkberry…they have loads and loads of toppings from fresh fruit to chocolate shavings.  Their concept is pick your frozen yogurt, then load the cup full of as many toppings as we can fit in the cup with the yogurt.  So, since I don’t eat yogurt but I like fresh fruit and candy, I tell the young man behind the counter that I want a medium cup, full of toppings, no yogurt, cause I don’t eat yogurt.  Here’s how it went…

Me:  I’d like a medium cup of toppings please, no yogurt. 
Counter-dude: (head turned sideways, dumbfounded look on face)
Me:  See I don’t eat yogurt, but my daughter does and wanted to come here.  Since I’m here, I’d like a cup of toppings please, no yogurt.
Counter-dude:  How about a fruit parfait?
Me:  What’s in a fruit parfait?
Counter-dude: less yogurt, lots of fruit topping
Me: I don’t eat yogurt.  I’d like a cup of toppings please.
Counter-dude:  no yogurt, like AT ALL?
Me:  Nope, no yogurt at all
Counter-dude: (shaking his head) ok, what kind of toppings?
Me: strawberries, pineapples, coconut, etc…
Counter-dude: would you like some whip on that?
Me: what’s it made of?
Counter-dude: (proud of having the answer) it’s made from our yogurt
Me: I don’t eat yogurt, no thank you
Counter-dude: (deflated) NEXT

He never stopped trying to get me to consume yogurt, no matter how many times or ways I said no.  What he didn’t pay attention to was that I was there to buy yogurt for my kid and hubby.

Ok, assuming you’re still here, taking it to CRM (or any sales scenario really).

In this sales scenario, the business decision-maker (me) was totally ignored.  I was not there to buy EXACTLY what they expected, but I was still going to buy SOMETHING for me AND exactly what they expected for my daughter and my husband.  The point here is that there will be a time and a place that as wonderful as it is, CRM might not be the right solution for every person.  It might not work now.  It might not work ever.  But, listen to your business decision-makers, because when you do and when they are ready to buy what you’re selling (Dynamics CRM?), you will have their respect.  AND it is ok if not everyone wants what you’re selling, today.  When they are ready or when they know someone that’s ready, they will call you.  You don’t have to make everyone fit YOUR definition of a customer.

Re-Introducing @xRMVirtual

So what is @xRMVirtual anyway?

xRMVirtual is a developer user group run by a couple of Dynamics CRM MVPs, Julie Yack and Shan McArthur. I know, that sounds great, but what does it MEAN?

Our user group exists simply to spread the word and the knowledge on using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a viable developer choice when making software solutions. xRMVirtual has been at this for a few years now. We meet virtually at least monthly and have speakers present on topics such as ribbon customization, plugins, best practices and more. You’ll see a few slides and a lot of hands in code demos. We are a group of professionals that share a passion for increasing our knowledge and emerging technology.

Our membership is growing (still almost daily) and we have over 1,600 members spread across every continent except Antarctica. I guess the penguins haven’t yet figured out relational data. Because of our global and virtual presence all of our meetings are recorded and posted online for at least a year. We usually have more views of our recordings than attendees at our live presentations.

Work your way around our website, www.xrmvirtual.com, and you’ll find CRM news, meeting and recording links and even product forums to speak with others in our community and share news and questions. You can also locate the other traditional CRM/xRM user groups around the world. Our website is powered and managed by Dynamics CRM Online, so as the saying goes, we eat our own dog food.

Membership is free, just sign up on the site. You’ll get meeting notices and newsletters, that’s about it. We respect your inbox and want to make sure everything we send to you has value to you.

Follow us on Twitter, @xrmvirtual.

Re-Introducing @xRMVirtual

My Introducing CRM to Developers Webcast Survey

The link below will get you to the recording, but you need to be a subscriber to Pluralsight to view it (totally worth it by the way).

I’d say the webcast went well, we had a large group and we had a good handful of questions.  Here is my survey that I posted as folks were joining the session.  I wanted o get a feel for the interest/understanding of the developers and CRM as a platform.

7-28-2011 8-57-46 AM

Yes, it was lighthearted, but don’t gloss over what it means, just ‘cause it’s cute.  All of this bodes well for Dynamics CRM as a platform.

I can spell CRM.  That tells me there are developers out there, hungry for a fresh platform, a new way to solve old problems.

Isn’t that just like Office?  Not a bad comparison.  There has been much work put into making the CRM experience a familiar, comfortable UI.

I heard you can do STUFF with it, but not sure what.  This is my favorite.  YES, you can do STUFF, lots and lots of STUFF.  Watch the webcast below to learn more of that STUFF.  Join xrmvirtual for a few sessions on how you can develop with Dynamics CRM.  Download the SDK. 

I’m here to pepper you with questions.  Woohoo!  Asking questions means you want to learn more.  That’s why the webcast was there to begin with, no?

Boss told me to be here, maybe I’ll learn something.  Another big fat woohoo here.  Business decision-makers and technical leads are paying attention and wanting their developers to join the xRM “thing”.

One of the questions I was asked was (paraphrased)…  If using CRM to develop makes us so much faster to implementations, isn’t that bad for job security for software developers?  My answer went something like…

I hire developers and if you come to me with a bigger toolbox of developer tricks, you are worth more to me and to my clients.  It makes you sustainable long-term, THAT’S job security.  It also allows you to move faster into newer technology, not spending as much time laying that foundation with things such as building forms, managing data security, workflows and reporting.  Dynamics CRM offers you all these things (and more) out of the box, so you can spend your time creating the things that make your software solution unique, not the things that you build over and over again for every solution.