Clint Patterson's Blog


Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here

MVP + SuperFan = One Excited Country Boy: DNNWorld 2012 Recap
Specify Alternate Text

Our crew had a blast last year at DNNWorld 2011 so we eagerly looked forward to this year’s conference all year long. This year DNNWord was moved up a month from November to October which was a welcomed change by me as November is the best part of deer hunting season in South Carolina. As soon as the early-bird registration came out I registered.  

To me, DNNWorld is like a combination of a family reunion, a pep rally, and information-loaded-boot-camp. It’s really hard to describe and put into words, you just have to experience it. There are great people to meet, prizes to win, awesome sessions to inspire you and get your creativity flowing, a side-conversation constantly going on via social media, competitions to enter, arrows to shoot at people, good times to be had, and trees to be climbed. It’s fun and I always leave energized about the future. There was no way we’d miss it.

Road Trip
One of my favorite parts of the DNNWorld experience is simply the road trip down and back. We get a crew from the Carolinas to make the trip and we set out on an 8 hour ride full of a variety of interesting conversations, sing-alongs, fast-food stops, status-tweets, and pee breaks. When I get around smart people I have a habit of asking a lot of questions in hopes of learning. It all makes for a fun and interesting trip. 

This year we were lucky enough to have a very courteous chauffeur in @RobbBryn. He wouldn’t let us pay for anything, he brought chargers and converters for all electronic devices, and even had a mobile hotspot set up as well. Talk about a geek’s dream-mobile. It was awesome. We surfed the net and talked about things in anticipation of the conference… that is… until a good song came on and we blasted the music. The road trip down was only the first time that Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” would be heard on this trip! 

ODUG or Bust
After 8 hours we arrived in Orlando, checked in to the hotel, dropped luggage, came right back downstairs, and headed to the Orlando DotNetNuke User Group meeting. The pre-DNNWorld ODUG meeting is always fun and filled with a lot of the prominent DNN Community folk. Bruce Chapman presented this year and offered some very useful information regarding URLs in general and some best practices specific to DotNetNuke. After the meeting we all hung out at a local restaurant and then came back to the hotel.

The Conference
DotNetNuke CTO - Shaun Walker during his keynoteDNNCorp put on another excellent conference. Everything was extremely nice and organized. From planning the Day of DNN I recognize that there are tons of details that go into making a successful event. Sometimes tech-folk are the most critical and difficult to please and a conference of this size was surely not an easy feat to pull off. From the location, to the food, to the decorations, key notes, sessions, sponsor booths, competitions and social events… everything was AMAZINGLY AWESOME!! I think this was a consensus among all attendees too. Everything was really nice and well-orchestrated. Kudos to Richard Dumas, Stephanie Tejada, and everyone else involved with hosting the conference. The next version of DotNetNuke (DNN 7) looks to be awesome. It just keeps getting better with every release. And yes, I did leave with 3 more signs this year, 2 of which are huge. See pics from the event.

DNN SuperFan
Every year it’s challenging to come up with something creative and clever that would merit consistent votes from people in the community. I had fun creating my project and talking smack online with everyone throughout the competition and honestly didn’t think I would win. I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me, especially the ones voted consistently. I know it’s aggravating and I also know that without your votes and support that I wouldn't have been able to wreck a brand new bike on concrete on my first trip out of the garage. Yes, it’s true (more in a bit). Thanks for giving me that opportunity. Seriously (after I get the bike fixed) there are some great riding courses near my house and I plan to exercise more with it in the near future. I've already downloaded the Strava app and hope to figure it out shortly as well.

I was very surprised, thankful, and humbled to be selected as a DNN MVP.  Most of my accomplishments thus far in life have been in the world of athletics so this was different for me and I did feel a little out of place. When I was on stage I looked around at the people to my side and quickly noticed that everyone on the stage surrounding me was way smarter than I am. I looked to my left and to my right and I had brilliant, knowledgeable guys from all around the globe who I look up to and respect. These are the guys that if I post in the forum or in exchange… I hope they respond, guys that if they tweet anything I’m reading it because it’s valuable, guys who make code contributions that are significant to the platform, guys who are well known and respected in the community. Standing there on stage beside these guys still seems unreal to me (and my old ball coaches probably won’t believe it happened either), but it’s just a testament to the fact that hard work, persistence, and motivation can overcome lack of intelligence! Thanks to everyone who nominated me for this award. I really appreciate it and am humbled to have received this honor. 

Favorite Sessions/Presentations
I thought all the sessions I attended were good, but the ones that really stuck out to me were Brian Dukes’ “Responsive Views with Knockout”, Amelia Marschall-Miller’s “Advanced CSS for DotNetNuke”, Charles Nurse’s “DAL 2 – A New Data Layer for a New Decade” along with Nik Kalyani, Robb Bryn, and Joe Brinkman’s Ignite presentations. To me, those presenters really brought the goodness and left me inspired in some way or another. And after Nik’s Ignite I’m glad that my Ignite submission didn’t get accepted because he brought the house down and set the bar extremely high.

QCDUG in the House
Most people (the ones that didn’t leave DNN After Dark early) will remember QCDUG as being responsible for the stage-takeover and unique rendition of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” (which by the way… many members of the audience knew the words and were singing right along), but there were more QCDUG members in attendance at DNNWorld than just those of us who took over the stage. I thought it was awesome that our Charlotte based user group had 11 registered members at the conference! It was neat to see so many of our user group members there connecting with the community. Hopefully next year we can have even more… so don’t leave DNN After Dark early or you might just miss something again next year. You never know.

Road Trip Part #2
After the conference was over the QCDUG crew started the return trip back to Charlotte. As I mentioned earlier, the road trip is a fun part for me. On the way down we get hype about the conference with anticipation of things that may occur, but the return trip always consists of a retrospective, post-game, sense-making and deconstruction discourse about the conference. Sharing info we all learned and neat stuff we observed always makes for good conversation and usually breeds creative ideas for the future… and we did have some good convos and ideas being tossed around. One of the keys to ensuring this creative convo happens is to make sure that @CoolCoyotes gets his Starbucks before leaving Orlando! A stop at a Starbucks in Orlando, a gas station near 95, and Cracker Barrel in Georgia, and before you knew it we were back in God’s Country ie, South Carolina. The ride back was more low-key than the ride down, but we were brainstorming all kinds of things surrounding DNN. It was equally enjoyable.

From SuperFan to SuperDork in 12 Hours
Many saw this unfold on Twitter, but I would like to confirm its occurrence. When I got back to the house in SC I had to put the wheels back on the SuperFan bike. After putting them on what would anyone want to do? … ride it down the driveway to make sure it worked right? I hopped on the bike and made my way into the darkness. With the first pedal I heard a clicking sound coming from the chain. I knew this didn’t sound right. The bike chain was clicking against the gear-shifting-mechanism that moves the chain to a new gear. So I clicked the gear shifter to move the chain over hoping that would make the clicking stop. The gear didn’t shift. By this time I had pedaled a few times and was gaining speed. The clicking was getting louder. I clicked the gear shifter on the other side. Nothing happened. Then all of a sudden in mid-pedal-push the chain broke and slung against my ankle leaving me off balance and headed toward concrete. I went to the ground with the bike mangled around me. I felt pain and felt stupid! This just didn’t seem like the correct ending to the story. I was mad that I’d already broken a new bike and even more upset at the pain I now felt in my knees, left elbow, ankle, left-big-toe, head, and right hamstring. I threw the bike off of me and laid there looking at the stars recognizing my inability to ride a bike. Long story short, I’m headed to a bike shop somewhere in Charlotte this week to get the chain/gears fixed and to get the bike sized to fit me. Even though the bike is currently without chain and mad at me I do plan to get it fixed and use it a lot in the near future.

DNN World 2012 will probably be the most memorable DotNetNuke conference for me simply because of all the things that happened. That’s not to say that future conferences won’t be good too, it’s just saying that somehow the stars aligned for me. Whether it was winning an award, singing a country song to the crowd, or watching video of me being thrown out of Canada… I somehow ended up on stage too many times. That won’t happen again and I’m still not quite sure how it happened this time and am humbled by it all.

It’s always refreshing to meet and connect with so many other passionate people in the DotNetNuke community. The energy and buzz from the event definitely recharges your batteries and leaves one with a renewed desire to continue to work hard, learn, and grow. If you weren’t able to make the conference this year, I suggest planning on attending next year… you won’t be sorry that you did.

Thanks again to DNNCorp for putting on such a great event and thanks again to everyone who nominated, voted, and showed me love! I do appreciate it. 



Clint Patterson

I also blog on other sites...

And contribute to OSS Documentation...

See my pics on UnSplash