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GPUG Amplify 2016 - Pre-Conference

This is the first post of a small series of posts to come this week, outlining some of my thoughts and take-aways from the brand-spanking-new GPUG Amplify 2016 conference.

What is Amplify you ask? It’s a brand new conference, driven by demand from our fantastic Dynamics GP community, for end-users of Dynamics GP. With the transition of Convergence to a new conference called Envision, there was left behind a gap where the only “user” conference left - VAR conferences excepted - was GPUG Summit, where the focus is on peer-to-peer learning, rather than what’s new and upcoming from a Microsoft perspective. This year it’s a relatively small conference, much like the early Convergence conferences when they were GP-only content. It’s bound to grow in attendance as users and partners alike get a sense of the type of content and experience you can expect from this event.

The first year, it was held in sunny Anaheim, California and the format was 2.5 days of content. The conference really came together over quite a short period of time, and it’s impressive how much the organizers accomplished in that time.

Getting here

Due to the distance involved and the short-ish length of the conference, I really had to think hard about whether I wanted to make the trek to be quite honest. After seeing some initial hype and enthusiasm from the various social media sources in our community, I decided it was a good opportunity to check out the first conference, and tack on some much-needed vacation time as well!

My trip entailed flying from Toronto to San Diego, an easy, direct flight, and spending a few lovely days enjoying the San Diego area. I hadn’t been, but have heard multiple times how beautiful it was and sure enough, what I heard was correct. Now I can’t wait to go back!

My vacation time consisted of my typical favourite vacation activities of wandering and taking lots of photographs of the scenery, the architecture and things like that. I gave my feet quite a workout, walking an average of 6-8 kms per day over those few days I think! I also did a Segway tour of Balboa Park and San Diego generally, about 3 hours on a Segway touring around, what a blast!

Being a big baseball fan, I also planned to take in a few baseball games and (as of writing this) was at 3 ballparks in 5 days: Toronto the night before I left (Jays vs Rays); San Diego Padres (2 games, one vs. the SF Giants, one vs. the Dodgers with a walk-off homer in the 9th!); and the Anaheim Angels (vs. the Orioles, who were crushed 10-2 by the home team). On my last night here, I hope to get to a Dodgers game to make it 4 ballparks in about 8 days!

Here are some pics of my adventures, leading up to the conference!

Outside Rogers Centre in Toronto, home of the Blue Jays. Seagull photo bomb and CN Tower in the background

 Petco Park (San Diego) stadium tour, me in the home team’s dugout

Petco Park, view from the media center

Selfie at Anaheim Angel’s stadium

View from the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train from SD to Anaheim.

Checking in and “Super Secret Partner Update”

After attending the Angels Sunday afternoon game, I walked back to the hotel and checked in to registration for the conference. Simple. No swag, but really, who cares? (I don’t at least…). I toured around a bit checking out the rooms and setup and ran into a few GP rock stars along the way!

Steve Endow, Mariano Gomez, Pam Misialek, Amber Bell, Belinda Allen and Leslie Vail.

Well, that’s it for the pre-conference activity. Stay tuned for more from the rest of the conference!


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