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Networking, learning, and lightsabers: Daniel Eads top reasons you can't miss Summit Europe 2018

As a Support Engineer at ITHAKA, @Daniel Eads [non-monitored account] spends his days administering Jira and Confluence to help his team work better together. He is also a Community Champion, an AUG leader, the list goes on! In all of his spare time, Daniel has also found time to attend Atlassian Summit in 2016 + 2017. As we look forward to Barcelona, we spent some time with Daniel to hear more about why he thinks Summit is not to be missed. Enjoy!

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Describe your favorite moments from past Atlassian Summits:

  1. A memorable one was at 2016 - the park in San Jose had a musical swings exhibit where the swingset lit up and made music if you could get a line of people swinging together. Talk about #team! Some Star Wars enthusiasts also had lightsabers in the park one night - lightsaber battles on musical swings at twilight. Making new friends is amazing, and being able to keep up with those friends over the year both personally and for Atlassian questions is something that makes attending Summit again even more fun.
  2. Since AUG Leaders arrived early for AUG day, several of us were walking around Monday night trying to find something to do. As we were walking down the main street to find some food, somebody mentioned that there was a partner event going on a few blocks from us. As they were discussing if we’d see any former AUG leaders that had gone to work for partners, Scott walked by us going the other direction and nobody noticed! We made eye contact and I said “hi!” - he gave a quick smile and a wave and kept on his way. Half a block later I interjected that we’d just passed Scott - of course, everybody turned around to look but it was just so funny that he was able to sneak right past us without anyone noticing.

How did you apply your Summit learnings to your work life?
One of the easiest value-adds for Summit is the exposure to new add-ons. You might not have a problem that needs an add-on when you’re at Summit, but being able to recall some demos of what’s possible with the help of the Marketplace can really save you time and effort later in the year. Sessions are also great to attend provided you take some notes and review them a few weeks after you get back. There’s a lot to digest!

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What tools did you discover at Summit and do you use them now?
Automation for Jira and Configuration Manager are two add-ons I discovered through Summit that make my life easier as an administrator. Automation extends what you can do in Jira Service Desk and also lets you apply rules to Software or Core projects. Configuration Manager lets you build things on a staging environment and then export/import your configuration changes up to Production without having to rebuild everything. There’s a ton you can do with both tools.

Did you attend any ancillary sessions such as AUG Day, Industry User Groups, TAM Day, or Partner Day? If so, how did these sessions enhance your Summit experience? 
I’m an AUG Leader so I do get to attend AUG Day. The Community team treats AUG Leaders like royalty and I’m constantly blown away by how much we are spoiled. Running an AUG can be a lot of work, but it also gives you a great place to grow professionally by learning the tools and personally by taking care of your AUG members. The Community team at Atlassian rolls out the red carpet for AUG Leaders to make their Summit experience super memorable and fun. And marketplace vendors are keen to hear from AUG Leaders too about what people ask about at AUGs.

Did you attend any training courses or take any certification exams? If so, how did they enhance your Summit experience?
No courses or exams at Summit itself, but I am certified. Meeting the University team was fun and they were super friendly! And if you are ACP certified, they’re excited to show you off.

Why did your company choose Atlassian tools? 
Atlassian tools are best-in-class. There’s nothing like Jira for flexibility and nothing like Confluence for ease of use. Sometimes you don’t want flexibility and need something simple fast, and that’s where Trello can help! For the random bits you need that isn’t covered in-product, the marketplace usually has a solution. The flexibility without over-complication is something unique to Atlassian.Danieleads_2.jpg

What are your top 3 reasons to attend Summit?

  1. Access to Atlassians - they are a wealth of information and great ideas. Recorded sessions are great if you can’t make it, but talking with them and being able to ask questions is amazing.
  2. Networking with other customers - You can get help online at community.atlassian.com but knowing folks personally really helps you feel more confident in your interactions.
  3. Direct access to plugin vendors - Got a problem with a plugin you use? Chances are you can find who can fix your problem or suggest new features face-to-face. We had a long-standing issue with a plugin and I happened to be sitting next to the developer during a session. He took a look at my configuration for a few seconds, said “oh, I see the problem” and two minutes later it was working like a charm

 

What about the Summit experience makes it so special for you?
Atlassian lives by its values, and they really show at Summit. I’ve been to other trade events that felt sterile or really sales-y. Summit lets you experience the Atlassian culture, actually connect with other people (and on a personal level!), and learn from people trying to make the world a better place. It’s not just about making a sale or eeking out that last bit of productivity from a person with Atlassian products. It’s about building better work life and better teams, and having fun while you’re at it. 

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For a Summit rookie, what is the one experience they can't miss out on to make the most of their first Summit?
Don’t leave before ShipIt Live! I had an overwhelming experience at my first Summit but ShipIt really cements the culture together and gives you a feel for how Atlassian works as a company.

For a Summit veteran, what brings you back to Summit year after year?
My experience has shifted from “there’s so much to learn” to “how can I help other customers?”. Now that I’m pretty familiar with most aspects of the ecosystem and certified, solving specific problems is my mission. That might be tracking down a particular vendor and showing them your screen to describe an issue, or finding an Atlassian Product Manager to ask about a specific feature. Along the way you get to help other customers learn the ropes too which is fulfilling but also helps expand the ways you think about doing things.

Who was someone you met at Summit that made an impact on the way you work?
@Jamie Echlin, @Daniel Wester, and @Peter Van de Voorde all provided valuable feedback into plugins and doing things through the ecosystem instead of just using Jira out-of-the-box. It was also amazing to hear how @Bob Swift got started in his basement and @Nic Brough [Adaptavist] just likes answering questions! The Atlassian world is full of legends and it’s interesting to pause and think about how one of them might tackle a problem you’re facing.

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2 comments

Peter Van de Voorde Atlassian Team Apr 26, 2018

I'm happy I was able to help you out, Daniel.

Meeting AUG leaders and customers at Summit is a truly rewarding learning experience.

And I look forward to the next one!

Leslie Lee Atlassian Team Apr 26, 2018

You're one of a kind, @Eaniel Deads! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

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