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What can be said about this week’s inaugural Open in Vienna?
Amazing? Epic? Fantastic? Exceptional?
All of those words and more… grab a dictionary, start at the beginning and just highlight every word synonymous with “time of your life”. That is probably the best way I could describe it for me. It's now lead to serious Post Open Depression. And yet, unbelievably… it almost didn’t happen! 😵😭
I wrote this article to both help me get over my POD as well as convince you that if you’re considering a trip to Boston or Sydney for the upcoming Opens then you MUST go book that trip. Read this amazeballs story to see why.
(This article is from the perspective of a Leader… but believe me, it wasn’t just ACLs that had fun!!!! 😉).
So literally as I start to write this - Thursday evening 8pm - this time last week I didn’t even have a ticket booked for Open. 😨✖
But that all changed:
It was 2 days before registration for Open would close - Wednesday morning – and I was chatting with our sister company in Vienna, who reminded me that the invitation to come visit still stood and that the following week (the week of Open) happened to be good for them…. Hmmm, nice coincidence! Maybe combine the two?
So I dropped Darline a message: “Tickets?”
Her immediate response: “For Leaders: YES! Always…! But be quick so we know numbers for Community Activities”.
And so an urgent business trip approval got underway: Open Vienna would be epic and seeing as I’m due a visit at the Vienna office anyway I could kill two birds with one stone. 🐤🐤🌑
But there was a significant challenge. Boss man was on a well-earned holiday… up some Canadian mountain range with no access to internet. How would I get the approval to enter the trip in the TMS?
36hr pass… no approval. Not even an acknowledgement by my boss that request is received. Damn.
By now it’s late on Thursday night…. 9pm. Darline’s reminder comes in… “and?”
Sod it! I thought. No harm in getting registration done. It did take some time to register - I was knackered and didn’t want mistakes - but 40min later: “Darline, count me in!”
But now the rest of the trip, a story so many budding Atlassian enthusiasts can probably relate to: “I’ve got this awesome event registered and now I could just do with work sorting me out the rest!”
By now Its damn late… I’m on a 60hr+ week and fading hard. I just wanna go to bed, fall unconscious and worry about travel/accommodation another time. But in a spur of the moment I consider the options:
Gut feeling kicks in: “Do it you fool!! Go for B! Go for Broke!” 🤘
It took several hours to really work it all out and book… but by 1am I went to bed with a F^^KING enormous smile in my face!
Boy oh boy how pleased I am that I went !! Super early Tuesday morning flight and by 10am I was taking my first of many idiot selfies, outside the Messe halls with the Atlassian sign and uploading it to the Event App – which, despite all its Bugginess was bloody amazing in my opinion. Good job Chris, Jaclyn and the team!!
I’ve missed the key note by Jay Simmons though… bummer! On the Event App feed, it’s looked epic… but a silver lining! It’s overrun and the Expo is devoid of Open goers. Perfect time to already go do the networking
First stop – Botron! My good buddy Theodora said she had a 🎁 gift for me…. And what a GIFT!!
They were amazing and I gladly shared them out at the Community Team Badge Bar. Very well received. Totally lush! 🍪💝
Then Gliffy to meet up with John to continue our online conversations face2face…. Holy crap! They’re raffling off a Lego Technic Porsche! I didn’t win it but that was a damn cool prize.
Then ALM Works, have a good natter about Portfolio and Gantt charts…. they too had a prize raffle: amazing Bose Bluetooth headset.
Cassie then took me to the Trello guys for introductions and discussion around how our IKEA Place App dev team is exclusively using Trello to manage their work.
And so it went on and on – chat, learn, share, repeat! Oh and scanning the QR codes and connecting with people for the Event App gamification. Of course!!
Also hanging out with good old Steve most of the day, a Leader of ACE Amsterdam! Always a pleasure. Especially as he gave me an Austrian craft beer to take home. Noice one buddy! 🍻💝
12 Tier 1 sponsors… 26 Tier 2 sponsors. At the beginning it didn’t feel like a lot but by 15:30 I realised that actually it really was quite a lot! Almost didn’t get round them all.
And the talks….. whatever you think of them, the speakers, their content, whether it’s new info or you’ve heard it all before, no one can argue that the quality of delivery was absolutely top class.
Agile ITSM with Paul Buffington stood out for me! Once again, a talk on ITSM got me thinking! Go figure… it's my number one challenge at work. Lots of hard work ahead of me, and yet now I am more pumped and inspired than ever!
I was too busy networking at the time, but I've also been informed by many that Dom Price's Create the Future of Work While You're Living It was outstanding and thought provoking! Shame to have missed it...
But oh well; there's always Boston, Sydney and Summit2020 for a rerun! Right?
And not to forget the magic mirror, the charity foundation, the graffiti wall and so much more!!!
Now it’s time to go to the hotel, drop off the heavy swag-laden back pack, freshen up and go to the ACL Social at Der Riesenrad… the Ferris wheel.
Oh, holy WOW! What an amazing time up in the air overlooking all of Vienna….! Canapés, Champagne, good company and we even managed to get the music in the cabin working. Legends!
Then it was time to do some more drinking and socialising at the Ferris wheel bar and have a bit of dinner.
I must say… I can’t remember the last time I have just stood for hours laughing constantly! We even made up a game: Win With Edwin! (Rules available upon request… you do need to make sure Edwin is there to MC it though!)
There was even time for some serious reflection on Open and what we genuinely thought of it. And as we’re only human, occasionally have a moan about the negative side of Atlassian. But all noteworthy points to provide some constructive feedback to Atlassian. They’re a nice open bunch. They’ll appreciate it.
And so sadly 22:00 (the end) came round quicker than one can say:
By now I’m drunker than a cricket in a hub cap and I thought to myself “Fun time over, time to crash. I’m knackered”
Turned around to start saying my goodbyes and there’s Atlassian’s very own Head of Community Stephanie staring me right into the depths of my soul…
“There’s a bar called Hendrik’s…. lead the way Fun Man Andy!”
How does Fun Man Andy politely decline such a request…? After a super early start and a looooong day I was so tired and doubted it. So a quick review of the options:
Gut feeling kicked in again: “Dude, this even a contest!?" it screamed:
And once again, following the gut feeling paid off big time. In only two short hours the remaining ACLs had the most fun imaginable… and to save you from a story even longer than the extensive pros written above, here’s the highlights:
The Atlassian Open and all my ACL buddies gave me so much and more, so now something from me in return – a special Fun Man Andy GIF!
One that for me perfectly captures the experience. I hope you cherish it as much as I do:
Sometimes we never want the fun to end, to just let the good times roll but alas, the truth is, all good things must come to an end.
Therefore, to get over my Post Open Depression, I want to end this experience in the best way that I could think of: personally thanking you all for this truly amazing and unforgettable experience, and in particular: