It’s been a very interesting past few days here at the SDL Tridion MVP Retreat, this year being held at the wonderful location of Óbidos, Portugal. Upon stepping out of the bus with the other MVP’s, it was like taking a step back into time into a medieval like setting. We walked from the bus up a narrow cobblestone pathway that lead to our hotel, the Hotel Real D’Óbidos, where we could see the walls of the castle and the fortified village area.
After checking in and having some breakfast, it was down to business for the MVP’s. We met up in an office room out looking the hotel’s swimming pool and spectacular view of the lower village area. Nuno started off with a great speech about the MVP program and the meaning of being an MVP, and also told us about some upcoming awesome Tridion features. Then we discussed the projects that the MVP’s would be working on that were voted by the community. The projects that we would be doing were Custom Content Views (aka the Tridion Field Builder Injector), Client Side Templating (aka CT4T), Testing and Automation (aka Tridion Implementation Testing System), and Responsible Web Design. After discussing what each of the projects were, each of us decided which project that most interested us, and then broke for lunch. Once lunch was finished, we eagerly split into our groups and started discussions on what technologies that we wanted to use, the architecture of the projects, and the minimal amount that we wanted to have done for the demos that we would be doing first thing Saturday morning. I had joined the Client Side Templating group, led by Will Price, along with Angel Puntero and Mihai Cădariu (the details of this project will be in another blog post though).
Once the work day was over, we were given a break to go back to the hotel rooms and then to meet back out front to go to our very first event. We were greeted by the jingling of bells and the trotting of hooves as 3 horse-pulled carriages pulled up to the hotel. We climbed into the carriages and rode off down the cobblestone roads to our event… dinner at the castle. We felt like celebrities as tourist flashed their cameras at us as we trotted along the narrow roads with a line of cars behind us. At the castle, we had a welcoming drink(s) before the dinner, where the servers kept bringing us drink after drink before taking us up to our table where we enjoyed a delicious 3 course meal paired with wine. The night ended at a local Ginjinha bar (followed of course by a walk back to the hotel in deep concentration so not to fall on my face over the stony pathways).
Day Two – Friday
Grind day. The teams crunched furiously at their keyboards to get ready for the demos that were to be given the next day. Each team also gave a quick presentation about where they were going with their projects to get early feedback and suggestions from the other teams. At the end of the work day, 4 new open source Tridion projects awaited the Tridion Community to start taking a peek at. And, after a day of hard work, came a night of hard play. A grand bbq awaited us on the hotel grounds that evening, filled with great food, an endless supply of alcohol, games of Foosball, pool and darts, a live performance by Quirijn Slings and other MVP’s, a face caking… and… did I mention the endless supply of alcohol?
Day Three – Saturday
Saturday morning the teams did a splendid job of presenting their projects. It’s amazing the amount of work that was produced in such a short term period by these talented folks and colleagues. The presentations lasted until noon, where we broke for lunch and then went off to our events for the rest of the day. It began with a guided tour around the walled village and we actually had a woman who knew her stories pretty actually well. When the tour ended at the castle itself, we jumped into several jeeps and trucks where we did a bit of off-roading to the next event – a tour through FRUTÓBIDOS, a Ginjinha brewery. After the brewery, it was more off-roading through some rough spots (the jeep that I was in got stuck in one of the spots on a sandy hill) and some air time in the back of the jeep (thankfully I never hit the ceiling), with several stops along the way for smaller events such as rope top spinning (I don’t quite remember the name of it), archery, and a group photo in front of a lagoon on a truck. The off-roading ended at a very eco-friendly restaurant where they grow their own food, and the structures themselves are made out of recycled materials. The food and drinks was extraordinary as the MVP crew stood around a fire telling stories of past events and Tridion projects (and more singing) until it was time to go back to the hotel.
I wanted to say a personal thank you to SDL Tridion for the MVP program. The program is about community and sharing, and winning the MVP is so much more than just some title that you can slap on a resume or dazzle a client with. It’s about being part of that community, and being a part of so much more. And the MVP Retreat is something that shows that Tridion really cares about the MVP program and wants to do something special and nice for its MVP’s. This retreat was an experience that I will remember and look fondly back on for the rest of my life. So thank you, for giving me an opportunity to have this experience. I encourage all of my fellow Tridion colleagues to shoot for winning this program if they have not already, as it is definitely well worth the effort and I promise it will be an experience you too will never forget.
And Cheers Actually
And for my fellow MVP’s and Tridionaughts who were actually out on the retreat with me, it was actually quite nice to finally get the chance to put faces and personalities behind the words of your blog posts and your answers on stackoverflow. I mentioned to some of you that I am actually quite shy and I was a bit intimidated to be out there with such an intelligent lot such as yourselves, but you actually made me feel quite comfortable and right at home, and I actually had a much greater time than I actually thought I would’ve or could’ve had. I traveled there with you as fellow community sharers, and I left there with you actually considered as friends. And for those of you who know what I am actually talking about and was actually there, I actually hope that I’m lucky enough to get the chance to win once again next year, so that I can actually be there again just to hear the stories that actually happened after you have read this last paragraph. So salud and cheers my friends. Til next time actually.