Blend Road Report: Spring and Summer 2018

It has been a busy year for Blend as we travel around the world to attend conferences, visit clients and CMS partners, and speak at industry events. With a few spare moments in the office, we reflect on the past few months of adventures.

  • Jul. 23 2018

To say the people of Blend are always on the road is putting it mildly. Between attending and speaking at conferences, visiting clients, and working with CMS partners across the globe, it seems that we always have someone wandering in a new city spreading some Blend goodwill.

This year has been no different. Let’s dig in.

Lead Developer Joshua Folkers with Jacob Khan, VP of Solution Architecture at EPiServer.

To start us off, our Episerver practice evolved even further with Developer Bob Davidson attending Episerver Commerce training in Chicago, becoming our newest Episerver CMS and Commerce certified developer. Then, Lead Developer Joshua Folkerts, and Chief Strategy Officer Deane Barker attended Episerver Ascend in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Lead Designer Sam Otis filled his mind with some key design inspiration at Generate Conference in New York. Generate Conference, which bills itself as The Conference for Web Designers, balanced the visual with the code, presenting inspiring talks from front-end coders and web designers alike.

Developer Chase Peta at Drualcon in Nashville, TN.

DrupalCon saw a rush of Blend faces as Developer Chase Peta, QA Manager Chad Thoreson, and Strategist Corey Vilhauer descended upon Nashville to take part in some good food, good Drupal talks, and even a presentation from Corey on how to manage accessibility as a site editor: “The Accessible Editor.” We left full — both minds and stomachs — and brought home an even deeper understanding of Drupal and its capacities.

After the buzz of Drupalcon died down (and the dust from Now What? Workshops settled) Corey moved on to the sights and sounds of beautiful Minneapolis as a part of the annual Confab content strategy conference. After years of speaking and volunteering, Corey took it to the next level by telling jokes (and accidentally letting off an airhorn, of sorts) as the host of this year’s Confab Lightning Talks.

Corey Vilhauer leading Lightning Talks at Confab.

"Lightning talks are a unique opportunity for both the conference and for the content strategy community,” Vilhauer says. “It’s rare that the line is blurred like that, where attendees become the speakers, and the community rallies around them as they take on the hardest gig in speaking: the lightning talk format.”

Deane wasn’t just doing the Episerver circuit this spring — he’s also been busy moving from country to country talking about headless CMS, eating sausages, and drinking pilsners. From speaking at Umbraco Codegarden in Odense, Denmark, to visiting Magnolia CMS in Basel, Switzerland and everywhere in between, Deane has earned his travel badge representing Blend across the globe.

Finally, Chief Executive Officer Karla Santi joined dozens of other like-minded business owners in Belize for the Bureau of Digital’s Owner Camp, which focused on streamlining and creating better processes for business owners and, in kind, their clients and customers.

Karla Santi and Bureau of Digital’s Owner Camp attendees in Belize.

Beyond the sun and fun, Karla brought home a ton of usable insights that she began implementing immediately.

“I've found that having honest conversations with similar digital agencies about the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences of owning a business is the best way to learn and improve our practices at Blend,” Santi says. “Trading stories and advice at Owner Camp has been invaluable.”

With travel to multiple continents, featured spots in conferences, and a bunch of great learning opportunities — not to mention client travel to Chicago, Denver, and the rest of the beautiful Midwest — Blend has certainly been racking up the frequent flyer miles. And we’ve got no intention of slowing down soon — you never know where you might see our team.