A week ago today I was on my way home from an awesome trip in Stockholm, Sweden. It was a short trip (just five days, two of which was mostly spent traveling), but I was able to get three great achievements in (still a long way from catching up with Brian).
Achievement Unlocked: Swedish Meatballs
The first achievement was just visiting Sweden itself. I’ve been out of the country a few time, but only once before had I gone across the “pond”. Awesome is about the only word I can come up with to describe it. The city was a great mix of new and old.
A few weeks before I went I happened to see a Bing image of the Rådhuset station and as it turns out that was the station we were using most. The metro stops on the Blue line were all decorated slightly differently, but all have the feel of being carved out of rock. A comment made on twitter actually had the photographer, Alexander Dragunov, of the Bing image chiming in. Check out his tribute book to the underground of Stockholm.
On Saturday the core Global Windows Azure Boot Camp team met to discuss vNext of the event while traveling by boat amoung the archipelagos around Stockholm. There are about 30,000 islands and islets in the group (according to Wikipedia) and it was a great way to relax and talk about what’s next for the event.
That evening we went to Gamla Stan (the old town) to have dinner, and yes I had traditional Swedish meatballs. The food was great, but the company was better. The entire trip couldn’t have been better (well, if wormhole or transporter technology was involved it might have been improved).
Make sure you add Sweden to your list of places to visit.
Achievement Unlocked: International Man of Speaking
The real reason I traveled to Sweden was to attend and speak at the 2013 Cloud Burst conference! This was the second year for the conference and it has grown quite well very quickly. There were about 150 local attendees, but they were also streaming online and had an additional 372 unique online viewers over the course of the two days of the conference. At any given time there were about 80-100 online viewers which was really cool.
I have to say hats off to Magnus and Alan who organized the conference. The Microsoft facility in Akalla (a suburb of Stockholm) was excellent with a great stage and theatre seating. They picked out a great location and brought in some really, really good speakers: Maarten Balliauw (Blog | @maartenballiauw), Mark Brown (Blog | @markjbrown), Andy Cross (Blog | @andybareweb), Patriek van Dorp (Blog | @pvandorp), Björn Eriksen (Blog | @bjorn_eriksen), Scott Klein (Blog | @SQLScott), Magnus Mårtensson (Blog | @noopman), Mike Martin (Blog | @TechMike2kX), David Rodriguez (Blog | @davidjrh), Alan Smith (Blog | @alansmith), Sam Vanhoutte (Blog | @SamVanhoutte) and myself (still not sure how I snuck on this list). Also Teemu Tapanila and Karl Ots were over from Finland for the conference and I had a chance to meet Teemu who helped out a great deal on the first Global Windows Azure Boot Camp.
I met many really enthusiastic attendees (hey Luis!) who were all there to learn more about Azure. Owing to how far Windows Azure has come in the last several years almost everyone there was actively using the platform and many were looking for information beyond the introductory level. Between the sessions I spoke with several folks and met people from all over. It seems Sweden has a magnetic quality to it in that people come and then want to stay to work there.
This was my first International speaking opportunity and so I can add “International Speaker” to my list of achievements. Thanks Magnus and Alan!
Achievement Unlocked: Niner
And the last achievement was that all the presentations from the event have been posted to Channel 9! So, for those of you on this side of the planet that were asleep while most of the conference was occurring, or if you just happened to miss it for other reasons you can watch all the sessions online. Now I’m also a speaker on Channel 9. I spoke on Dependable Cloud Architecture, which was a condensed talk from the CodeMash workshop I did with Brent Stineman.
It was a great trip and I can’t thank Alan and Magnus enough for the opportunity.