I just returned home from attending this year’s CUGtech Autumn 2009 event in Geilo, Norway hosted by Citrix User Group Norway. It was my first time attending this event, and even with hearing all the great things about this event, I don’t think I was even remotely prepared to experience at how truly impressive of an event our friends in Norway put together.

One has to keep in mind that this is a Citrix User Group run event, but this is no ordinary users group, they are at the top their game in every respect. Yes they hold regular users group meetings in the traditional sense of what one would expect to be a users group, but they also hold bi-annual CUGtech events, which one could say are on par with or one could say even compete with some of the other corporate run industry events. I think that it is great to see a users group evolve from being a local community to become a global community that attracts people from all over the world.
To get a better understanding of why I was really impressed by this event and Citrix User Group Norway, I guess I have to start off with talking about what they put into the making of this event happen from the planning to the execution.

We all need an identity and or something to represent. Having a logo is a good start, and I’ve got to say that Citrix User Group Norway has got to have one the snazziest logo’s yet for a users group. Being one who loves visuals I think that a visual identity is very important aspect of any group or organization.

They have also taken this identity and applied it to documentation, banners, singage, and swag for the event, like any major industry would do.

But where would we be if everything was just dressing, we need a little substance to that eye candy right. Well, it was very interesting to see how much substance there was at this event. The planners of this event like so many others these days have also had to come to terms with the fact that we can no longer have a single track event. There are just so many products and technologies to talk about, and not to mention the focus, such as being technical or operational in perspective, that it is not possible to hold an event these days without running dual tracks to cover it all. If you have ever had the pleasure of trying to organize any type of event you can certainly appreciate all the planning of that goes into making a schedule like this.

CUG Agenda

Choosing where to hold an event is always an interesting challenge. One has to try and choose a location that is something more than a place to hold and event, as we all want a venue that has a little something more to offer than just a conference hall, or is a place that is easy to travel to while keeping cost to a minimum. I think that at first glance some people, and I could be wrong about this, would view traveling into the mountains of Norway as not being the easy part to travel to. But you have to remember that this is Europe, and they have the whole train thing down very well. The event was held in Geilo, Norway which is one the major Ski resort areas in Norway, and is only about a three hour train ride from Oslo.

For me the train ride was part of the whole event, as we traveled there with many of the attendees of the event, and it gave all of us an opportunity to get know each other a little better, Oh and did I mention there was bar on this train.

Usually most events are held in places rich in night life, but don’t let the location fool you, as I soon learned that this played into the events favor, as it didn’t suffer from the usual disbursement of attendees being side-tracked to other attractions. If you take a look at the schedule you notice that this event goes very far into making sure it is a great time for all, the actual schedule for the first day’s events go from 8:00 AM until 2:00AM, and let me tell you what a day that was, the first word that come to mind is WOW! The event planners really outdid themselves, as we went from a day of sessions to having a grand dinner together, to having a Ski party where everyone dressed up in the favorite Ski gear, to having a Geek Speak session at 1AM. They even had a kicking band playing for pretty much the entire night, to along with the pinball machines, and arcade skiing machines.

The Citrix User Group Norway would not be possible if weren’t for the dedication of its members, leaders, and sponsors that over the years have grown this community to where it is today.
I would like to thank Kenneth Beck, Bjørn Uddal, and all of the many great people from Citrix User Group Norway for putting together such a great event. It was great to be a part of it all, and to meet so many people who are truly passionate about Citrix Technologies.

I would also like to thank the many sponsors that have also given their support like Atea, Commaxx, Logica, RES Software, and Steria.

Well its time to catch a plane, but I hope I have given you enough of a slice of what CUGtech is all about, and if you ever get the opportunity to attend one, I wouldn’t hesitate on doing so.