The third edition of the EUC Masters Retreat, organized by Steve Greenberg from Thin Client Computing, wrapped up last week on May 5, 2019. Let’s recap this great event!

This year, around 70 experts (including many EUC legends) from all around the globe got together in Scottsdale, AZ for a long weekend of discussions about the state of EUC.

The location: Scottsdale, AZ

The 2019 edition of the EUC Masters Retreat was located at Hotel Adeline in the trendy city of Scottsdale, AZ.

This is a great remodeled hotel close to Phoenix airport (15 min.). Very modern and tastefully decorated. Rooms were also nice, close to the main conference area. The conference itself was located in the ballroom with banquet-style tables, allowing for easy movement and great interaction between attendees while seated.

In the discussions I had with my fellow attendees, everyone was absolutely ecstatic about this hotel. Something is telling me that the 2020 edition may come back to the same location.

Master Class

The conference started on Friday with the Master Class sessions. When you register for this event, you have the opportunity to attend the Friday sessions part of the Master Class or only the main conference on Saturday and Sunday. I highly recommend you to attend the full three days as the content is so valuable and the presenters well-known within the community.

The first Master Class session on Friday was about Citrix best practices and was presented by DJ Eshelman (CTA @TheCitrixCoach). DJ is the owner of ctxpro.com and the creator of the Citrix Hero Program. The second session was presented by Patrick Coble (CTP @vdihacker) and was about how to secure our virtual desktop deployments. Patrick is an all-star presenter and I am sure many of you have seen him speak before at CUGC local groups. I have hosted Patrick already at the New York CUGC last year, and he is coming back for the big NorthEast XL CUGC event shortly after Citrix Synergy 2019.

Then it was the time for the first of many happy hours where the audience got to know each other.

Keynote

The main keynote started just after that with Roy Tokeshi (Sales Engineer at Citrix @ratokeshi). It has now become a tradition for Roy to open the main keynote in his joyful and unique way.

Fun facts about Roy:

  • He was the 10th quickest pizza maker in the world (17 pizzas in just over 2 minutes!)
  • He was a national trainer for Papa John’s and Pizza Hut

If you haven’t seen Roy live, let me tell you: his sessions are quite impressive. He managed to do magic tricks and to solve a Rubik’s Cube while presenting.

Next was our host, Steve Greenberg (@stevegreenberg) from Thin Client Computing. Steve is an absolute EUC legend and one of the only 5 CTP Fellows. He stressed that he wanted his conference to be the one people want to attend. Most conferences these days have become less personal and filed with too much marketing content. Steve created the EUC Masters Retreat to allow attendees to learn about anything they want and discuss openly with fellow peers.

Steve also attributed the first EUC Community Awards to Rory Monaghan and Darlene Mitchell for their work over the years.

The last presenter was the visionary Chris Matthieu (@chrismatthieu) from the augmented reality company Magic Leap.

Chris was previously the owner of Octoblu which was acquired by Citrix few years and later killed off. When he left Citrix, he created Computes, Inc which was also acquired, but this time by Magic Leap. It is always a pleasure to attend a session with Chris where he discuss how technology can improve our lives in the future. Chris also brought 2 Magic Leap devices with him for the weekend and all attendees were free to try the headsets.

Dana Abbott (@Shihanabbott – learnthesword.com) gave us a sneak peek of his abilities to handle a sword.

Breakout sessions

Saturday morning, it was time to go back to work with the Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) session with Gabe Knuth (@gabeKnuth) and Denis Gundarev (@fdwl) from Microsoft. Attendees were really excited about WVD and a lot of questions were asked during this session.

There is so much to say about it that I wrote an article to explain what is it and its consequences to the partnership with Citrix.

Kevin Goodman (former FsLogix CEO @rtokevin) had a session about the state of EUC industry.

After launch it was time for @jeremymoskowitz from @PolicyPak to talk about MDM.

Unconference sessions

From Saturday afternoon up to the end of the conference, attendees were asked to provide topics of interest. An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. Rather than having regular sessions that may or may not be relevant for attendees, Steve had in mind to let people decide what they wanted to learn. At least three different sessions were running at any time, on a wide range of topics. For example, I decided to attend a follow-up discussion on Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop with Gabe and Denis. In this session we learned about the architecture of WVD, the shrinking gap between the RDP protocol and the ICA protocol from Citrix. This session ran over for more than 2h as the crowd had a lot of questions. You could really see that WVD is a hot topic within the community.

And I also attended a session led by Perrine Crampton (@pcrampton) and Ruben Spruijt (@rspruijt) about how to brand yourself and find the job that is right for you. Perrine shared her story with us and talked about the challenges she faced in her career.

Many other topics were available from Image Optimization with DJ or Nutanix XI Frame with Ruben, nVidia GPU to Modern App Delivery with Rory.

“Unconference” is a format that is now also used at our annual Citrix CTP meeting. It has been proven very successful during previous years at the EUC Masters Retreat and I am glad that Steve was the first to use that form in his conference.

Extra activities

One of many good things with the EUC Masters Retreat is that a lot of extra activities that are planned for you during the weekend. On Saturday morning, for example, attendees were invited for an electric bike ride in the neighborhood.

To kick off the second day, Dana spent an hour to teach us Japanese swordsmanship and how to handle a sword. It was a great team-building experience.

On Sunday, some of us also went for a “quick” three-hour Camelback Mountain hike in the morning.

Before the pool party on Saturday, sponsors were organizing competing events. We had the choice to go to a Steakhouse with ControlUp, eat Sushis with ExtraHop, play poker and eat Pizza with Citrix and many more.

Saturday night was the official pool party of the conference with live music, ping pong table, open bar, and delicious cheesecake.

Our host Steve showed us one of his many talents by playing guitar.

After the pool party, attendees had the choice to stay at the bar, play golf or to go in an escape room.

Golf

Escape Room

A group of six bikes and three ride-along passengers took a three-hour round trip to Cave Creek, AZ.

I almost forgot the coolest activity: blinging your own conference badge!

There were so many opportunities to have fun and build friendships with other attendees. Never underestimate the power of a little fun mixed with some interesting people!

Why should you attend EUC Masters Retreat 2020?

Many falsely believe that since they can now access industry information via the Internet that the days of the live meetings are gone. The truth is, meetings are more important than ever. When you are active in your industry, you can develop a reputation as an expert to your peers and your clients. Because of its size, EUC Masters Retreat offers the ability to connect on a personal level with many experts. This can help each attendee discover new ideas and spark inspiration, especially when people have the chance to connect, network, and learn from one another on a deeper level.

I want to thank Steve Greenberg for creating this event few years ago and working hard again this year to make it a huge success.

This year was my first time attending the EUC Masters Retreat event and I am absolutely delighted at how the event was organized. Everything was perfectly planned. The sessions were relevant and full of interesting insights. Every single attendee added value to the discussions, and many EUC legends were available for a chat.
Extra activities were a nice way to disconnect for few hours and to create friendship with fellow attendees.

Lastly, no matter how experienced you are, everyone can learn. I believe everyone learned something during this weekend and had a lot fun. I’m sure most of us will be back next year. I know, I will!



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