By Stuart Woodhouse, 1 November 2021
Some say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, well the way to a FileMaker Developer's heart is locking them in a room for a couple of days so they can over indulge in all things technical.
So it began, for 2021, Digital Fusion decided we would hold our own conference. As we grow in size, with a team of 18 now, we thought we could go it alone, and create our own content, events and social gatherings.
Planning for the event took a bit of a turn for the worse when the Australia and New Zealand borders were slammed shut with outbreaks of Covid in NSW. The intention was to get our Aussie team over to Christchurch so we could all be in one place, something that has been hard to achieve since the pandemic took hold.
We swapped our dates from August to October and started planning, even getting flights booked from Brisbane to Christchurch. Sadly, the border remained closed, so we swiftly moved to Plan B, organising a conference where we'd remote-in three of our team.
October came around, and we all headed out to the beautiful Clearwater Resort on the outskirts of Christchurch. We were blessed with some stunning weather, which helped enhance what is a stunning location — think lakes, golf courses and swanky accommodation.
Kicking things off on Wednesday afternoon, we went straight into the keynote presentation by our illustrious CEO, Craig Saunders. This was kept short and sweet as his main speaking spot was the following day, and he didn’t want to let too many cats out of the bag.
We then moved onto learning a little about ourselves and those around us! We brought in Ramon Utting to take us through Clifton Strengths which is a world-renown way of understanding your "strengths" or motivators. If you have never heard or read about this, in essence the process finds key words that describe you, and then learn how these words fit into you as a person and how they affect your interactions with others. More importantly perhaps, you gain insight into others motivators and what they mean.
As you can imagine, with 16 developers/technical folk, we have a lot of very similar traits throughout our team. That said, we learned a lot about how we fit together as a wider group, and through understanding ourselves a bit beter, gained insight into how we interact with clients and others outside DF.
Wednesday evening was a mixture of pizza and quizzes. The ever wonderful Jo and her trusty sidekick Greig, had setup a great quiz, asking questions about Digital Fusion, FileMaker and us as individuals. The victor on the evening was Daniel, followed by Steve and Paul H. Lots of fun was had by all.
View from Clearwater, Christchurch
View from our Australian team
Thursday was "D-Day" and we certainly had a full one planned, made up mostly of presentations by our team. This is not always easy, speaking in front of your peers, but without exception they all did a stellar job and the feedback was extremely positive. Here's how the programme stacked up:
Sessions – Morning
Sessions – Afternoon
We were also graced by Joel Katz and John Matthews from Claris, who joined us to take us through and update on whats happening in their world.
Following a long day in the conference room, we retreated to celebrating a great event and an awesome team. We brought in a company called The Cocktail People to show us all how to make some splendid drinks. To our surprise, we were all asked to make a couple of our own, which had differing levels of skills. Let’s just say none of our team would be cast in the remake of Cocktail.
And that was a wrap, a wonderful two days spent together as a team. We are not sure if this will be a one off, Claris Engage might be back to face-to-face in the US next year... both formats are incredibly valuable so perhaps we'll be able to do both in the future?