Grand Hotel Neum
I got myself at the biggest ICT conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 19. to 21. of April. Local Microsoft office organized the conference in the city called Neum located on the shore of the Adriatic Sea. From the MSNetwork 1.0, it was a practice for a conference to be in a different city each year. Now, the MSNetwork was happening for the third time in Grand Hotel Neum. It was due to the fact that it is the only adequate complex in whole country with necessary capacity for event that grow this much. I’m talking B&H standards big, and that is around nine hundred participants for this year`s MSNetwork.
MSNetwork, few facts
Conference run in few parallel tracks: Digital transformation of business, Development, Databases, Infrastructure, Security, Case study. Speakers were local and from nearby countries and most spoken word at the conference was Azure. Most of the presentations contained subject somehow related to Azure, and that is due to global cloud related madness. They suppressed every other topic in favor of Microsoft Cloud and that is the key pointer of what future brings. MSNetwork had a #nasedmomnebu or translated to English it would be #atsevenheaven.
I`m not saying that Azure is not a great topic, but I do not like the fact that all other great products from this giants kitchen were so much disregarded. Still it was possible to hear a great startup story from the area, and to get priceless advice from the startup owner.
Here I would mention Mr. Bruno Omerovic , and his “Koola – startup Success Story”. He presented his experience in following his dream and succeeding in startup hell. Also it was revealed that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a “No No” to any kind of business. If interested, more can be found about “Koola” at http://koola.io. It is a great idea that saw the light of a day due to this mans great effort and hard work.
There were also some other great guys sharing their knowledge and experience and I would mention Mr. Aleksandar Nikolic, Mr. Catalin Gheorghiu, Mr. Andrej Radinger and Mr. Luka Manojlovic. Mr. Nikolic had a great story about Azure automation, and he is also coauthor of the PowerShell magazine so if you are into automation, I suggest you visit it. Catalin was talking about IoT Circus, and Microsoft vision of IoT trends, with some great examples. Radinger`s lecture was about starting a startup, and adjusting to market`s needs. It was more like a great guide with a key pointers for anyone thinking about startup. Mr. Manojlovic hit the bulls eye with his story about great new technologies built in Microsoft Windows 2016.
It happened at 20-th evening, starting at nine and lasted to little bit latter than 2 am. There was a descent band playing with a even better guest Ms. Amina Hamzic. She really is a great singer and entertainer, and it was a pleasure listening to her singing. I would probably say watching was also a pleasure but I would have a better view from Kamchatka than from the place I was standing. The party was starting at 9 PM and we got there at half past eight. There was a surprise. Blank reservation cards were on all descent spots. Case is that two thirds of visitors reserved tables, but irony is that there was no official way to make a reservations for a table at the party. So, that was also spoiled and corrupted like most things in B & H.
Grand Hotel Neum
Google Earth View
Place is ok, but probably self rated as a four stars hotel. It tries to sell itself as a noble and luxury place, but it can`t distinguish itself from it`s origin. Same goes for the most of the staff. There is no parking for a guest unless he has some “connections” or maybe some under table money to suddenly create free parking spot. Younger staff are great, kind and helpful, but there is some gray and white haired waiters that are almost wiping the guests. It is very expensive considering all the above. If well managed it may become great place in about 20 years.
Vendors and sponsors
Beside Microsoft, regarding big ones, there were Veeam and HPE present at the conference. It`s interesting that HPE, aka HP returned to Bosnia again. I`m saying this in support of a fact that two years ago they closed their office in Bosnia and transferred their clients to a local partners. It was , and still is a real hell, prices of support went up skyrocketing, quality and reliability went down, and customers are paying it`s due. Great for HPE, good for it`s partners, and God help the customer. There were also some local great companies like Logosoft, Mistral, Avacom, Lanaco, Authority Partners and others. They all presented a great potential of local ICT community massacred by local state corruption, obsolete laws and W.I.T.F.M. principle of the ruling class.
Few more thoughts
I spoke with some local people, from developers to CEO`s and same conclusion arises everywhere. Everyone tries to do business outside the Bosnia and Herzegovina as much as possible. Reasons are those that I already mentioned in the above paragraph. All good is running away and all the dirt came up. I`m sad to hear that, but it looks like that freak of the country is going to end up like Germans on Eastern front. Due to all the facts, I must thank local Microsoft office and all the sponsors of MSNetwork for a great conference. It was well organized considering it`s location, and without it, there would not be any ICT gathering worth of mentioning in B&H.
P.S. If you are still wandering what the hell is the W.I.T.F.M. principle, it stands for:”What`s In There For Me”.
Once again thank you for reading.