2015 SDL Tridion MVP Retreat

Alternative Title

Survived Another SDL Tridion MVP Retreat

I was honored to have been selected for a third time as an SDL Tridion MVP, and as one of the MVP benefits, last week I got to travel to Portugal to accompany my fellow MVP and Community Builders at this year’s MVP retreat. On my first year I got to experience castle living at Óbidos. And last year we got live it up near the fortified city of Évora. And as the tradition of staying in a new location to experience a different part of culture continues, this year we got to experience some remote location lovin’ at Mafra. Don’t let the remote lovin’ part fool ya, because we really did get the royal treatment this year.

Our traditional music loving time - picture taken by Pankaj Guar

Our traditional music loving time – picture taken by Pankaj Guar

Another one of our MVP traditions as anyone who’s attended one of these retreats can tell you, is music. No, not blasting music from a stereo, but playing and singing. And usually late at night. Or what some may consider early morning. It was also somewhat of an unofficial tradition to have someone yelling at us to keep it down and go to sleep around 3 or 4 in the morning. So with that in mind, this year was special as we got to stay at the lovely Quinta Dos Machados, a countryside hotel, spa and pool. Doesn’t sound impressive yet? Did I mention that the entire place was booked only to us, with no one around that we could possibly bother? That’s right, and this was the first year I think we didn’t get in trouble for our loud three am singing! And that was our evenings… we got to experience dining somewhere new each night, followed by good drinks, good company, and good entertainment.

More Than Drinking and Singing

Our 0815 to 1800-1900 workday at the office...

Our 0815 to 1800-1900 workday at the office… picture by Elena Linhares

Although the rumor may be that the retreat is just a 3 or 4 day party, we actually get work done! And a lot of it during that short period of time. On Monday and Tuesday, we would meet in a conference room at 0815 (some of us having gone to sleep only several hours earlier), and we would have presentations and workshops. Nuno gave us some excellent presentations on SDL Tridion’s roadmap and the next version of Tridion… as well as some warnings as it seems a lot of us have been slacking on the sharing side this year (hopefully you didn’t notice the date of my last blog post).

As for the workshops, that was another honor as I not only got to present a project that we’ve been working on at Content Bloom called Alchemy, but I got to coach during the workshops as everyone formed into teams to work on plugins developed using the Alchemy4Tridion framework. At the end of the final work day, each team got to present the plugin that they developed.

Wait… what is this thing called Alchemy4Tridion?

That my friend will be told in a follow up post. :)

And Some Culture

Worn out and ready to crash after our tour!

Worn out and ready to crash after our tour!

On our final day of the retreat, we followed another important tradition of our retreats – our culture day! This year we got to take a tour of the Royal Palace of Mafra. We learned about some interesting history lessons during the tour about what life was like when the royal family use to vacation there.

The last part of our culture day before we’d retire back to our villa for a final night of food and drinks was an activity that most of us had never done before… surfing! Several instructors awaited us at the beach where we were handed body suits and surf boards. An important lesson for anyone who has never put on a body suit before… the zipper is on the back! It must of been quite a site watching a group such as ours struggling to get into the suits… only to find out that half of us put it on wrong! As for the surfing part, the waves were a bit rough for a bunch of newbs as ourselves so we only got to have a paddling content before the instructors grounded us (which after nearly being demolished by a wave while trying to get to land, I dind’t mind). There was however a large pool of water on the beach, so we at least got to learn how to get from the paddle position to standing while on actual water.

Thank You’s Once Again

Just like last year I’d once again like to thank SDL for having such a great community program and for having such a rewarding event like the MVP retreat. The experiences and memories I’ve gained (and lost?) these past several years are priceless. And another round of thanks and applause to Carla Osorio and Paulo Linhares, not only for making the event as awesome as it is with their planning, but for putting up with us lot (I’m pretty positive at least a few of us would have missing posters posted in Portugal if not for them).

Future Sharers?

For those of you on the brink of sharing wondering if you should or not… you absolutely should. Don’t be afraid of what others will think or that you will be judged, there isn’t a better community of diverse and judge free personalities that you could be a part of. So share, whether it be technical articles on Tridion, awesome code repositories, or just your thoughts of Tridion. And hopefully we’ll see you there next year as well as everyone else who made it, past and present. (and that applies for me as well! so let’s motivate each other because I’ve been doing some serious slacking!)

A group of us after exploring all the way to the end of an an ancient mine - picture (and shadow) taken by Angel Puntero

A group of us after exploring all the way to the end of an an ancient mine – picture (and shadow) taken by Angel Puntero

Other Links

Things I Learned in Portugal (Robert Curlette)
TAPS at the SDL Web MVP Retreat (Tridion, Alchemy, Performance, Seafood) (Frank Taylor)