The good, the bad and the ugly of Extreme 365

A month has passed since Extreme 365 took place in the lovely Dubrovnik, Croatia. This time gap has given me the opportunity to structure my thoughts and feelings concerning this conference and allows me to paint a neutral picture of the scene. The general feeling of posts on Extreme 365 are feeling of enjoyment, excitement and a “you had to be there-mentality”. However, as a first time visitor myself, those kind of posts also create a lot of expectations. So my main goal with this post is to give you as a reader a more nuanced view of the conference, offering you a broader perspective and giving you the opportunity to decide on your own terms. So let’s start with…

The Good

Extreme 365 has a very diverse agenda, allowing you to pick sessions which suit your needs. Whether you are more interested in growing your business, learning about sales or diving deep in technical matters, Extreme 365 covers it. You’ll be at the front of all new announcements, new Dynamics 365 stuff, new companies, …

Extreme365 Dubrovnik agenda

But if you need a time of, you can enjoy the nice Croatian environment. Do keep in mind the time of the year when you are travelling to Croatia. It does look very sunny on the picture for being 15°C.

Sunny Dubrovnik

Moreover, Extreme 365 offers you the opportunity to meet some of your own (MVP) Dynamics heroes. There are a lot of opportunities, such as an evening party, a dinner, … to go and mingle. Heck, maybe you’ll learn to know a new partner and expand your network or maybe you are like me and you’ll look like a groupie when you meet somebody like Gus Gonzalez or Ulrik B. Carlsson. You can also listen to their eXtreme 365 EMEA 2018 debrief.

Ulrik - Koen - Gus
Yep, that’s me smiling sheepishly between two Dynamics-rockstars.

However, good cannot exist without bad, which brings me to…

The bad

I talked earlier about the diverse agenda in Extreme 365. The different sessions cover a lot of ground, but they differ in quality. Several sessions I followed where rather good in content, but lacked a presenter who was able to “bridge the gap” between the presenter and the listener. This resulted sometimes in painful situations in which a part of the audience was just “tuned out”. Moreover, due to having sessions in different buildings and the time schedule not being respected, a lot of people were running out of sessions to be present at the beginning of the next one.

I do have to point out here that I also proposed a session, which was not accepted. So this makes me an angry blogger who wants to bring down Extreme 365 (sarcasm). No, really, I was surprised by the fact that Extreme 365 has such a selection process, in which you need to propose a session, write out the summary and content, talk with a person who has a lot of knowledge on the topic you are presenting. In my case, I had the honor to talk to Gustaf Westerlund, concerning the topic I wanted address. My main point being here is that the vetting process is extensive on the content, but maybe this should also focus on the way the content will be delivered. It shouldn’t always be over the top presentations, featuring white walkers, but a lot of the sessions could be brought better.

Game of Dynamics
The white walker is on the far left, next to Martin Olsen from eOne.

 

White walkers and the city of Dubrovnik, brings us to Game of Thrones, in which the journey the characters are taken is often painful and excruciating. This brings us to…

The ugly

The journey from and to Dubrovnik will be one of the worst in my flying-diary. Not only did we have delays in flying to and from, but we also had the pleasure of a 4 hour bus drive. Let me give you an overview of how the journey went on that dreadful Sunday the 18th of March:

  • 18.15: flight from Brussels to Zagreb
  • 20.25: arrival in Zagreb
  • 21.10: flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik
  • 22.05: arrival in Dubrovnik
  • 22.35: check in at our hotel
  • 23.00: dreaming of Dynamics

Water

So that was how it should have been 🙂 … However, the weather decided differently:

Lovely weather
Too much water
  • 18.45: delayed flight from Brussels to Zagreb
  • 21.00: delayed arrival in Zagreb
  • 21.10: just in to capture the flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik
  • 22.00: airplane finally leaves the airport. It first had to be defrosted while we’re all sitting in a hot airplane without food or water.
  • 23.00: airplane tries to land in Dubrovnik, but fails to do so and returns to Split.
  • 23.30: Arrival at the closed airport of Split. Nobody is here and we’re offered a bus drive to get to our hotel.
  • 24.00 The bus itself finally arrives and now the real journey begins
  • 01.30: Bus finally stops at a shady gas station so we can get some food and water.
  • 04.00: The bus drops us in the Dubrovnik port, which is his final stop, but not ours. We still have to walk 50 minutes or be able to procure a taxi.
  • 04.15: as everybody tries to get in a taxi, we finally manage to get one 15 minutes after our arrival.
  • 04.35: check in at our hotel
  • 05.00: dreaming of Dynamics

And if you though we had a bad trip, think differently. A lot of other people never even made it to Split with the airplane. They had to take an 8 h bus drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Others, such as Eric Veldkamp had a cancelled return flight. Let the party begin!

Final conclusion

That was it, the good, the bad and the ugly! Aree or disagree with my opinion? Let me know in the comments!

4 Comments

  1. Matt Wittemann

    Good summary – I also had some trouble getting to Dubrovnik, but not nearly as bad as you and many others. I also found that some of the sessions were overcrowded and standing room only. But overall, it was a great conference with tons of content. I was not expecting there to be so many attendees, so it was nice to see the large turnout. One note: I think that photo of the white walker has Martin Olsen from eOne, not Gus Gonzalez 🙂

  2. I just wanted to thank you for writing about your eXtreme365 experience. The vetting process for presentations is critical and as you can see from your experience, taken very seriously by our industry panel. We appreciate your interest in providing a session and do hope you try again for the next event! You’ve given us some food for future thought and we thank you for it. I do hope you return for the next eXtreme365 EMEA …and we’ll try to keep your travel experience a little more reasonable. 🙂

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