Friday, April 8, 2011

Commentary: SugarCON 2011

I had the fortune of attending the annual SugarCRM Partner, User and Developer Conference (SugarCON) in San Francisco this week. Although I missed last year's event, it is very exciting to see how much SugarCRM (company and product) has grown and matured since my initial brush with it back in 2005, or even in comparison to the last time I attended in 2009.  I wanted to take a few moments to share some thoughts on the experience as a whole.

SugarCRM CTO and co-founder Clint Oram kicked things off on Tuesday morning by welcoming the crowd. The day prior had been spent talking about matters relating mostly to partners on which I won't comment (just for the purposes of omission -- don't read into it). Listening to Clint is always interesting. Personally, I've always enjoyed interacting with him as he is a very down-to-Earth and approachable individual.  Clint is always willing to listen and actively solicits ideas from the crowd. More importantly, he is honest. The story was the same when I saw him this year.  Talk to him if you get the opportunity.
His welcome was followed by the morning keynote, delivered by SugarCRM CEO Larry AugustinDespite having known of Larry for a number of years -- mostly due to his connection to VA Linux -- I had never had the opportunity to actually be in the same room with him or hear him speak at length about SugarCRM.  Not surprisingly, part of the keynote revolved around the themes that have served as the focal point for the development of SugarCRM 6.2, slated for later this year: Global, Mobile, Social.  There are some really cool things in the works.  Stay tuned.

While features are important, so is believing in one's work, as is the feeling that one is part of something one considers to be special. Some of the comments that Larry made really hit home for me and helped to cement the reasons why I proudly align myself with SugarCRM.

During Larry's keynote, he made mention of building a CRM company that was different; that the market wasn't in need of "another CRM" company/product.  Afterwards, he went on to describe the aspects that made SugarCRM different, points which all pointed back to openness, both in access to the code, but more importantly in the company's culture. 

This is the number one reason why I proudly associate myself with SugarCRM.  It is indeed a different company.  

I entered the CRM world by pure chance in 1996 and had the fortune of working at a great company with a great product and great co-workers.  It was the type of place many people would hope to have as an employer.  Through acquisitions and other popular dealings of the time, it would later be transformed into the type of company more closely aligned to the Dilbert comic strip than an ideal employer.  

When I first learned of SugarCRM in 2005, I quickly realized it was a different company.  It had a bit of that aura I once experienced in my early CRM days.  Six years later, it is still there and Larry's comments really helped cement my feelings. 

Their success makes me happy, not because it means more business opportunities for me, but because good people with good intentions are winning.  

I barely got back home, but I am already looking forward to next year's SugarCON and everything in between.  

1 comment:

  1. Hello to everybody.

    I can't go to the SugarCON 2012 for now.
    Caught my attention the issue of the invitation for 2012: "Go as an Amateur, Return an Expert".

    Thanks to SugarForge and Sugar Organization for this great project.

    I post the original menssage at next:


    SugarCon 2012: Explore the Possibilities of CRM

    Dear Daniel Alexander,

    If you’re considering SugarCRM—and we’re pretty sure you are—but you just can’t quite pull the trigger to buy, we have a great idea. Come to SugarCon 2012!

    You’ll have a chance to talk to Sugar customers. Lots of them. And pick the brains of our partners who have tons of deployment experience. You can choose from over 80 breakout sessions—case studies, user tips, sneak peeks at upcoming releases. And our keynote speakers are top notch. Like Guy Kawasaki, best selling author of How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, founder of angel investor matchmaking service, and former chief evangelist at Apple.

    And, think of what you’ll miss if don’t come. Opportunities lost.

    You’ll miss the opportunity to get over $4000 of training packed into a three-day agenda. And the content in our live, hands-on training day will provide practical techniques that can help you develop deeper connections with customers and make your sales, support and marketing teams more productive. SugarCon 2012 is a bargain you really can’t afford to pass up. Your SugarCon 2012 ticket price of $599 dollars includes:

    * Over 136 hours of educational sessions and training
    * Over 6 hours of keynote presentations from the most trusted thought leaders in CRM
    * Over 16 hours of access to solution showcases, integration partners, advice and evaluations
    * Over 44 hours of networking with CRM industry experts, SugarCRM executives and engineers, expert Sugar implementers and your peers from other companies who are actively and successfully using SugarCRM
    * Two full days of unfettered access to the Sugar Genius bar, staffed by Sugar support and engineering experts where you can get one-on-one consultations on how to leverage the most from your CRM implementation
    * Developer Throw Down! SugarCRM is calling leading edge developers, engineers and hidden talent to dual it out over the hottest demos live on stage

    This year we have added a Full Day of instructor led training. Normally this training is over WebEx and costs $1500, but our special SugarCon cost is only $450.

    Plus, SugarCon 2012 will be fun! It’s in San Francisco. At the Sheraton Palace Hotel. And, SugarCon is hands down the GREATEST bargain ever in technology conferences. In addition to sessions, keynotes—everything mentioned above, your SugarCon 2012 ticket includes:

    * Monday night welcome reception
    * Breakfast and lunch
    * Tuesday evening event at the Exploratorium including heavy appetizers & cocktails
    * Wednesday evening cocktail event

    So register today and join us at SugarCon 2012 this April 23-26! It’s where FUN and CRM meet.

    © 2011 SugarCRM Inc. If you choose not to receive SugarCRM sent emails, you can manage your subscriptions or completely unsubscribe. You may also mail 10050 N. Wolfe Rd. SW2-130, Cupertino, CA 95014, USA, or call +1 408.454.6900.


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