by DJ Eshelman, Nashville CUGC Leader
Memories from the 500th CUGC meeting in Nashville, June 20th 2019
I have never had a CUGC meeting where I had to quite literally shower to get the smell of smoke off of me. My Citrix bag from Synergy, my laptop, clothes… they all smell of smoke now. And I couldn’t be happier about that. The 500th CUGC Meeting was held on June 20th, 2019 in Nashville, TN, USA – at one of our local legends – Martin’s BBQ. For me, it was more than a little special. Because, I may not have been at the first CUGC meeting– but I definitely wanted to be first.
The 500th CUGC Meeting is a Kind of a Big Deal
I had been waiting for a long time to see groups like CUGC form. Several attempts over the years. Lots of local meetups that went well but we’ll all admit were pretty unstructured. Enter the Citrix User Group Community. Organized by professionals who I have had the great pleasure of working with behind the scenes for the last few years, CUGC has become not only successful… but 500 meetings successful. Let that sink in as you’re reading this. Can you imagine organizing one or two meetings successfully? Yeah, this team has done 500.
You may think it’s local leaders making it happen. And no doubt–we do our part. But honestly–being a leader is really easy. You know why? Because we have some real dedicated professionals helping us out. But of course, the meetings aren’t just sitting around and talking. Here’s what the 500th meeting looked… and smelled like.
About the Day – Celebrating the 500th CUGC Meeting
Martin’s BBQ is a bit of a legend in Nashville–and rightfully so. Like so many places in the southern U.S., the meat is smoked–right there close by where you’ll be eating. And eat we did! Most people know Martin’s either by the street-level bistro, bar or, some know this, but there is an upstairs area where bands play. Lots of pool tables, darts and an upstairs bar (all taken advantage of after the meeting, by the way)… but there’s a meeting space in the back that we used. The room was split between tables for our members and a separate room for our three generous sponsors (ControlUp, Nutanix and Liquidware) to talk to folks and show off their awesome products.
Martin’s provided a full spread of some of their finest smoked meats (and for those needing it, veggie options) and a few mouthwatering sides.
The food highlight, however–not to steal Martin’s thunder–was the perfectly-paired Banjo cake!
You know those baking shows with custom cakes, where you always wonder if the cakes are actually good?
And this one was soooo good. We’re talking MAPLE BACON CAKE. Are you kidding me? Smoked meats and Maple Bacon cake? I felt spoiled. Because I was.
Speakers for the 500th CUGC Meeting
DJ Eshelman – The Dirty Dozen: 12 of the WORST Practices in Citrix They say a prophet is never welcome in his hometown. I decided to put that to the test and bring my message of doom for those that find themselves undergoing one of my Citrix assessments…I’m kidding, of course. But for the 500th CUGC Meeting, I didn’t even get a chance to suggest a topic. Patrick Coble (my co-leader) pretty much insisted that I do this presentation. He’s seen it 2-3 times now. Actually, Steve and Carl had similar feedback (Steve actually asked me to come present this as a class at his Masters Retreat in May.)
The presentation is about the most common things I find during assessments; well, the 12 I felt were the most important, anyway. What makes this important is that these are recommendations I make for companies paying thousands of dollars. While I’m absolutely fine with doing so–it seems to me if these are being found so frequently, then someone needed to say something. So… I did!
The presentation is from data from 335 individual recommendations I have made during Citrix Virtualization assessments–and every time I’ve given this presentation, I find someone telling me they’re already putting some of the suggestions into practice. Read between the lines here, and this becomes a HUGE value for attending a CUGC meeting! Attend a meeting, learn tips that save your company thousands of dollars. Boom. No exceptions for the big 500th Meeting, let me tell you! It felt good to present successfully at home and I have enjoyed the positive feedback so far. By the way–the webinar version of this presentation is free to view. You can register at https://ctxpro.com/DirtyDozen
Carl Webster: The Top 10 Findings in Active Directory Assessments When it comes to Active Directory, what I tend to find out there mirrors what CTP Fellow and Go-To-Guy on Active Directory… and on assessment tools–people have been using his scripts for years. You can too, by the way- go to CarlWebster.com and download them… (make sure you leave a donation, though–Carl puts a lot of work into these and a lot of people download them. The donations help with the costs!)
For the 500th CUGC Meeting, Carl… well, Carl put some SERIOUS knowledge out there with this presentation. There were plenty of questions and discussions and I think we could have gone on for 2 hours with no one getting bored from it. It was like 500 metric tons of AD information, all crammed into 50 minutes for our 500th meeting. Carl hit it out of the park and I know people got a lot of great info from it.
Steve Greenberg: Choose Your Own Adventure While Steve and I are currently engaged in a silent contest to see who can get away with the longest pony tail (I’m kidding… or am I???). Steve took the time away from his clients at ThinClient.net in Phoenix, AZ to come give a unique presentation. I say unique because the audience chose the topics and slides. This is classic Steve and I loved it. Also classic Steve (and what Patrick and I were hoping for) is his classic CTP Fellow “NO… this is the way it really is” attitude. It gives not only a great level of group participation, but adds a lot of value to the discussion because we’re not holding anything back–even with folks from Citrix in the room–we’re telling it like it is. And that’s what I’ve come to love about our community.
Steve talked about the hard realities of life in the End User Computing space both now and years ago. I loved how all three of our presentations had a lot of commonalities and tied into each other. I loved that because we didn’t really plan it that way.
During the presentation, we paused to hand out small sample shots of local hero Belle Meade Bourbon to those that wanted to toast to the 500th CUGC Meeting!
Sponsors for the 500th CUGC Meeting
Of course, meetings of this size and scope don’t happen without help from our generous sponsors…of which we had three awesome ones!
Nutanix, ControlUp and Liquidware were on-hand in a special room with what we call “Passport” cards, where we awarded 4 of our attendees $50 gift cards. We handed out a lot of prizes, from backpacks to drones to copies of the Byte-Sized Book Project. But the big winner walked away with a 55” 4K TV! Funny story and great idea behind this – we wanted to have a second screen for the presentation, so our sponsors bought one for the event… and we gave it away to one lucky winner!
It was a Big Smoking Deal
It has been two weeks since the 500th CUGC Meeting and my 2015 Citrix laptop bag still has the scent of smoked meat. And I really don’t mind at all. I’m super proud of the team that put this (and every meeting) together and was truly honored to be a part of it since 2015!
Big thanks to Patrick Coble who absolutely busted his butt getting a lot of logistics together (including that awesome cake!). For me, I had the odd experience of flying in the night before from my old hometown in Colorado. It felt surreal, but once I started seeing familiar faces roll in, the smile never left my face.
As a leader, I always hope for more turnout to every meeting we have. After all, this is our passion. We aren’t paid to do this. We do this for the love of it. So we want as many people to be there as possible. So was turnout like I hoped? Not even close – I’ll be honest. But nonetheless, there were no empty tables and people were talking to each other the whole time. It’s exactly what you’d want out of a meeting. I’ll take substance and impact over numbers any day. We had about 30 people in the room, if you were curious. It was about average attendance for us.
We wrapped up the day with drinks at the backroom bar at Martin’s–a great time of getting to know each other. There was a fun moment where two members found they had both come from the same small town but did not actually know each other until they started talking after the meeting.
I’m not sure what the next significant milestone is–750th? 1000th? But I hope I can be there. And I hope you are there too. Let me just say that being part of local groups is important. It is rare to find ways to connect with folks locally with the same tech background and interests. At Local CUGC meetings, you find not only those of interest but the ability to share ideas, network, vent frustrations safely and grow your career… but frankly, it feels (and sometimes smells) good to connect. We’re better together, and CUGC is a great way to be just that. I’d encourage you to get involved!