We’re all back from an exciting week of seeing the latest and greatest FileMaker advances and starting to settle in to “normal.” Taking a full week away from work is tough but worth it in so many ways. There were many people to meet and new things to learn. It really was an inspiring time to see what is being done with FileMaker all over the world.
Here are some of my highlights of the conference:
- We enjoyed a beautiful view of the Bellagio fountains and Paris hotel’s Eiffel Tower from the balcony of our room.
- This is my 15th consecutive DevCon…and with it was the release of FileMaker 15 earlier this year. It’s been a valuable part of every year.
- Seeing the future of FileMaker in the opening session is exciting. There are so many possibilities and advances that we look forward to. It feels like we’re just getting started with what we can do.
- We strengthened our partnership with FileMaker through several meetings with the FileMaker Business Alliance and key FileMaker personnel. We continue to appreciate the honor of being one of the elite Platinum partners in the U.S. It was a busy time with barely a moment to relax.
- Well deserved attention to the YWAM FileMaker iPad mobile app solution created pro-bono for a great cause by our friend and peer Marty Thomasson from Gearbox Solutions.
- We met up with our local FMPUG-MN group for lunch on Tuesday so we could see all the Minnesota/midwest people gathered there.
- Don Clark of FileMakerProGurus.com interviewed Brenda Cimbura (COO), Nick Ciske (VP Web Engineering) and myself (CEO) about the latest advances in the FileMaker world and Cimbura.com, Inc. The NEW video interview should be available soon. (Here’s the interview from last year’s DevCon 2015)
- Developers from Cimbura.com spoke at the Unconference on WordPress and GIS and FileMaker. We will soon have these presentations available for a larger audience via webinars. Sign up at the links above to get notified when they are available! We also provided a short preview of some of our work at the CWP/PHP (Custom Web Publishing) User Group meeting on the first day of the conference.
- Brenda participated in the Women of FileMaker luncheon in which Cimbura.com was a sponsor. The community of women at DevCon is growing and making a great impact.
- Several of our developers volunteered at the Visionary Bar offering free consulting to attendees.
- The party at Big League Dreams was a lot of fun. A few of our developers got out on the field to swing a bat and hit some home runs! While playing outfield, Jon Lung hit a ball directly at me while I was taking video. I had to drop the iPhone to catch it!
- Our good friends Marty Thomasson from Gearbox Solutions and Thomas Mokwa from ProFile Developers won the Developer Challenge creating an app pro-bono during DevCon for the non-profit NPHY (Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth)! Congrats!
- Despite rumors to the contrary, we were able to conclusively prove via the following photo that Dominique Goupil (President of FileMaker) and Bill Epling (Chief Administrative Officer and President, FileMaker Japan) are not the same person.
- We ended our DevCon trip by seeing a live funny show by ventriloquist/comedian/singer/impersonator Terry Fator at the Mirage.
Here are summaries of the best of the show from several of our Cimbura.com developers who attended:
Jon Lung – For me, the best of DevCon included the opening session which focused on a couple of very interesting philanthropic efforts by FileMaker Developers. One of which was a YWAM (Youth With a Mission) team in Papua New Guinea, that built a custom app, in the jungle, to help facilitate medical efforts in the area. The other effort involved helping an organization called the Luke Commission. FileMaker Inc. also announced a partnership with Lynda.com to produce a Learning Path called “Become a FileMaker Custom App Developer.” This could be a great tool to help attract new developers and turbo boost their path to becoming a proficient developer. I also attended a session dedicated to a panel discussion on attracting new, young developers to the platform. This was of particular interest to me since my college age son, who is a computer science major, is just becoming familiar with FileMaker.
Dan Timlin – This was my first FileMaker DevCon, so probably the biggest highlight for me was being able to see and meet such a large, international FileMaker community. The next biggest highlight for me was the kickoff general session. It was exciting, and helpful as a developer, to get such a detailed roadmap of what’s in store for FileMaker in the coming months and years. The sessions that covered the iOS SDK were very helpful. I also particularly enjoyed learning more than I already knew about our own Cimbura.com world-class GIS capabilities.
“Purpose” was a big theme at DevCon this year. I did have a new and profound experience this year. I went to speak, learn, and network… but I was not expecting to feed the poor and have my heart broken by stories of loss and heartache.
This year, I brought my wife and 4 month old daughter to DevCon. Since my wife was going to be spending a lot of time in the room with the baby, we went out Monday night to get her some food from the local convenience store. The scene on the street was pretty wild (as you’d expect in Vegas) and the store catered more to getting drunk than feeding a nursing mother… so early Tuesday morning we made the trek down the street to a different store with a better selection. Along the way, we noticed a man sleeping on the pedestrian walkway. Our heart went out to him, and the others we met that morning… so instead of just walking by, we decided to do something.
I purchased some breakfast food and we went to each person we could find in need. We gave them breakfast (a great ice breaker), asked their name and story, and offered to encourage and pray with them with the baby in tow! The act of stopping, offering them the opportunity to be known and cared for, and holding their hand broke the invisible barrier that usually exists when you see someone in need and just drop some change in a cup. It was a moving experience: tears were shed, my heart grew a few sizes…
We decided to repeat this each morning we were there, and found people every morning in need of food and acknowledgement. My wife and I were moved by their stories and in the way it changed our perspective of our time there. Instead of the glitzy hotel and buffet lunches feeling normal, they seemed a bit surreal when just outside the hotel doors there was real need. It was an odd transition each morning as I walked back into the hotel to get ready for my day at DevCon. I found myself being grateful for the life I get to lead, and the daily blessings that are “normal” to me and my family.
We donate to charities, I’ve done pro-bono work in the past, and we’ve encountered poverty before, but there was something different about taking a hour out of each morning of a business trip to do something “with purpose” that has really stuck with my wife and I. It made me realize that in the hustle of building a business, going on trips, and the frenzied pace of modern life in general, there’s something powerful in stopping, not to smell the roses, but to humble yourself and help those you see in need: wherever they are.
Our challenge now is to keep up the practice as we settle back into our daily life in Minnesota. We don’t have homeless people immediately outside our door anymore, but there are people in need everywhere, we just have to open our eyes to see it and be willing to sacrifice part of our day to do something.
From all of us at Cimbura.com, we are excited about what we learned, but mostly we are inspired by the idea that we are privileged to make a difference in our world. It is meaningful to us to take the time to attend DevCon, because it helps us to grow as people, and ultimately as a team. We can’t wait to see what solutions we can innovate and build in the months ahead, and know that there is a lot of fun and meaningful work ahead of us.