Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What went down at the Umbraco Down Under Festival

A packed and very successful hackathon. A cool pre-party at a local brewery. A 2-track Umbraco Festival with inspiring and highly relevant talks.

If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t believe that this was the very first Umbraco Festival in Australia. All perfectly put together by the awesome Umbraco Gold Partner, Køben Digital - H5YR! Not even tropical storm and rain could get in the way of this festival, but as a wise man once said:

“The sun is always shining when you are surrounded by the friendly Umbraco community.

Niels Hartvig

That wise man is Niels. He was at the uDuf to do the opening keynote speech. And if you didn’t get to go to the uDuf, he’ll now share his experience with you which, apart from a lot of Umbraco, also includes an Evanescence concert and (somewhat inappropriate) petting of a koala:

What were your favourite things about uDuf?

Squashing bugs

Let’s start with the hackathon. I was really surprised by how many showed up - 21 people. That’s around ⅓ of all festival attendees - I don’t think that’s ever happened before at any Umbraco festival! A lot of things got resolved and quite difficult things as well, and even though we were a lot of people in a small room, the room was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm.

uDuf hackathonSquashing bugs at uDuf.

The uDuf program

The actual festival was really good. I was very impressed by how everything was organised but also by the quality of the sessions, which mostly consisted of local speakers. Three sessions I have to point out were the ones done by Paul Sterling, Nathan Woulfe and Peter Gregory.

Paul Sterling from our US Gold Partner, Proworks, did a talk about Umbraco Cloud. The main focus was about what it’s like as an agency to be an Umbraco Cloud customer. Talks like these are, of course, extremely valuable for us and, luckily, Paul's presentation was very positive, but he also had some great suggestions as to where we could improve things and I’ve taken that back home to the team.

Nathan Woulfe did a talk on his Umbraco workflow package - Plumber. First of all he did a really entertaining presentation and then I got to discover how Plumber works. Wow. It’s great to discover such a big package being built by an Australian - this really goes to show that there definitely are some very dedicated and talented Aussie Umbraco users!

The talk by Peter Gregory from Køben was called “Whoa.. I know Kung Fu!“ and he did indeed perform some Umbraco Kung Fu. He showcased all the different things you can do with Umbraco by using both built-in features as well as packages and ended up showing a template for an “Umbraco Enterprise Marketing Solution” - as a joke of course, but it did make a lot of sense.

uDuf talk

We often talk about Umbraco giving you the “best of breed” option and never talk about or suggest a complete “suite”. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. And actually, we see many agencies who sell and use Umbraco like a suite. This talk really showed it’s possible to create this “suite” in Umbraco or a “Umbraco EMS” if you like 😉

The laid back atmosphere

I love participating in these first-time Umbraco festivals. Experiencing people say “I’ve never been to anything like this before” as they truly discover the sense of the Umbraco community - that’s so amazing for me to see. And the famous Umbraco atmosphere was right there at uDuf!

I think it might be because Australians are a bit like us Danes. They’re laid back but still super ambitious and that helps create a really vivid and friendly atmosphere and makes it really easy to socialize with each other.

Who should attend this festival?

Everyone who works with Umbraco - but also anyone who’s considering working with Umbraco. No matter if you’re an agency or a freelancer, this festival is a great place to discover what Umbraco can do for you but you also get that special sizzle of enthusiasm, which is hard to describe or imagine - you have to experience it.

And then it’s a great excuse to get to go to Australia. I even had some time to do a bit of classic Australian sightseeing…

EvanesenceUnplanned Evanescence concert in the Sydney Opera House - surprisingly spectacular!

and that happened as well...

Niels HartvigPetting a koala makes me smile.

The future for uDuf and Umbraco in Australia

Next year there’ll be so many more attending uDuf - I’m sure of that. I’ve been traveling around Australia for two weeks before the festival visiting agencies - some who already use Umbraco and some who don’t yet but are highly considering it simply because the clients are asking for it!

uDuf stage

It’s clear there’s a bright, bright future for Umbraco in Australia. It’s a market that’s SO ready for it. And with a growing community as well, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Australian Umbraco market explodes within the next year - I just see myself lucky to have experienced the very beginning of it :)

Greetings from the Umbraco Down Under Festival host:

“uDuf was a dream come true. We had been talking about setting up a festival in Australia for years, and finally we felt the time was right. The Umbraco community here in Australia, like Australian wildlife, is ever present, but often not seen. uDuf was an opportunity for them to come out and experience what the community can look like when you engage. We wanted to capture some of the essence of Codegarden and the other international festivals and put a little bit of a Gold Coast twist on it, and I think the team nailed the brief. uDuf went so well, and I really could not have asked for a better day. Well maybe the weather could have shown up, but that seemed to not dampen spirits. The feedback from the day has been overwhelmingly positive, with all talks receiving high praise, and ultimately everybody saying they would return again. This definitely will become a regular event, and I can’t wait for UDUF 2019!Peter Gregory, CEO at Køben Digital

Peter Gregory uDufPeter Gregory and his wife Cherie.

A massive thanks and a H5YR to KØBEN Digital for organizing such a great first Umbraco festival in Australia! Looking forward to the next 😉

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