Sun, Sand, and Access: The 2024 Developer Conference in Valencia, Spain

The key to a great conference is a great host. Stories from my time at the 2023 MVP Summit with Juanjo Luna show he's the perfect man for the job.

Sun, Sand, and Access: The 2024 Developer Conference in Valencia, Spain

Juanjo Luna is an extraordinary guy.

I met him during my first in-person Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond, WA, back in April of 2023.  He was easily the most memorable part of that trip.  I would not have had anywhere near as much fun as I did if not for Juanjo.

When I set off for Redmond, I had visions of meeting lots of other geeks and making lots of other geek friends.

Unfortunately, the pseudo code I had written in my head...

Arrive at Summit
Mingle with other geeks
Make new geek friends

...turned into something entirely different during implementation when I kept getting compile errors:

Dim Summit As New MicrosoftMvpSummit


'Summit.Mingle()  '<-- Compile error: Method or function does not exist

'Summit.MakeNewFriends()  '<-- Compile error: Method or function does not exist

Now, for context, I am way more outgoing and extroverted than I used to be.  But that's only because I set the bar so low to begin with.  How low exactly?  As my elder daughter would say,

The bar was so low it was practically a tripping hazard in hell, but there I was playing limbo with the devil.

"Painfully shy," were the exact words my cousin used when describing me to my future wife when setting us up on a blind date.  These days–after five years leading soldiers as an Army officer, twelve years coaching youth sports, eight years running a business, and three years as an international speaker–I'm proud to say that I am now merely, "shy and introverted."

Back to Redmond.

So there I was: at the height of my professional career, attending an invitation-only event at Microsoft's global headquarters, surrounded by a sea of people, and all alone.

And then Juanjo spotted me from across the room, came right over, and embraced me as if we had known each other our whole lives.  

A native of Spain, a resident of Austria, and learning to speak English as a third (or fourth or fifth?) language, Juanjo had every reason to be overwhelmed and uncomfortable in that moment.  And yet he was not.

He spent the next three days making the absolute most of his time at the MVP Summit.  By day, he had an infectious love of learning and eagerness to share his knowledge of Access and related technologies. And by night, he was the life of the party.

In other words, I can't think of a better or more qualified person to host a four-day Microsoft Access conference (and beach vacation!) in beautiful Valencia, Spain.

Evento de Desarrolladores de Access

My two years of high school Spanish tell me that this 👆 refers to some sort of "Access event" (Mr. Podrasky would be so proud).

Google Translate tells me it's an "Access Developer Event."

And since I hardly know enough Spanish to say my own name and ask where the library is, I'll recruit the services of ChatGPT to fill you in on the details of the event.  For my many Spanish-speaking readers, you're better off checking out the event site directly:

INICIO - Evento de Desarrolladores de Access
El mayor evento de desarrolladores de Access crece y se expande para poner en contactos a empresas, desarrolladores y consultores extendiéndose a las tecnologías de análisis y gestión de datos. Descubre el potencial de usar Microsoft Access de la mano de los mejores desarrolladores y consultoras en …

NOTE: Summary below generated by ChatGPT from the event website linked above.

The recent in-person Microsoft Access conference in Valencia, a charming beach town renowned for its beautiful scenery and plethora of family-friendly activities, underscored the vibrancy and ongoing relevance of Microsoft Access. This multi-day event not only provided a platform for learning and networking but also showcased Access's robust capabilities in contemporary data management and analysis. Among the notable highlights were presentations from six Microsoft MVPs, emphasizing the high calibre of knowledge and expertise shared.

If you are a Spanish-speaking enthusiast or professional who missed this year’s event, you might want to consider attending next year. It promises not only insightful sessions but also a wonderful opportunity to blend business with leisure in an exquisite location.

Here are the English summaries for each session from this year's event:

  1. Thursday: Afternoon Reception
    Juanjo Luna
    The opening reception where attendees gathered to kick off the event.

  2. Workshop: Introduction to Access
    Juanjo Luna
    A beginner’s workshop on the basic elements of Microsoft Access, including tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, and VBA.

  3. From Access to a Dimensional Power BI Model
    Toni Jurado
    How to transition from using Access to creating dimensional models in Power BI for enhanced data analysis.

  4. Create a Power BI Report from Scratch
    Diego Jurado
    A step-by-step guide on developing comprehensive reports in Power BI, starting from the initial setup to the final output.

  5. DAX Templates Explained
    José Manuel Pomares Medrano
    An explanation of DAX templates for common calculations in Power BI and Power Pivot.

  6. Access Queries vs. Power Query
    Ana María Bisbé York
    A comparative discussion on the use of Access and Power Query, focusing on data analysis bridges.

  7. The Fear of Change
    Juanjo Luna
    Discussing the importance of embracing new technologies, even as an expert in a specific field.

  8. From XSD to CLS
    José Bengoechea / José Emilio Lozano Soriano
    Practical usage of classes to generate XML, featuring tools like veri@factu and ticketbai.

  9. Where is the Money?
    Clara Vega
    Utilizing Power BI to track and analyze cash flows effectively.

  10. Introduction to Microsoft Fabric
    Iván Arribas
    Introduction to Microsoft Fabric’s suite of BI tools, including data transformation, machine learning, and more.

  11. What’s New in Access
    Juanjo Luna
    Latest updates on Access, including new features and cloud capabilities.

  12. Rafael (McPegasus) The Definitive Reference
    Rafael (McPegasus)
    Addressing changes in software behavior in the absence of certain references—a technical deep dive.

  13. Connecting Access and Power BI: Automatic Updates
    Speaker Not Listed
    Techniques for automating the update process of Power BI reports fed by Access databases in the cloud.

  14. The Data Multiverse: Integrating Two Technologies
    Speaker Not Listed
    Exploring the integration of different data technologies to enhance business intelligence solutions.

  15. Sunday Morning: Debates, Round Tables, and Other Experts
    Various Speakers
    A series of discussions and expert panels to conclude the conference, focusing on various advanced topics in Access and related technologies.

This conference serves as an ideal platform for both novices and seasoned professionals to deepen their understanding of Microsoft Access and other Microsoft technologies. Remember to look out for next year’s event!

End Credits

End credit scenes are all the rage in blockbuster movies these days.  

Sit through the credits at the end of the movie and you'll be rewarded with a short clip that's either humorous, foreshadows yet-another-sequel (looking at you Marvel Comic Universe), or both.

Well, for those of you who read this far down, consider this your reward:

Throughout the aforementioned 2023 MVP Summit, Juanjo regaled us with story after story.  My favorite by far, though, was an anecdote he shared that captures three of his most endearing qualities:

  • His passion for education
  • His love for his family
  • His self-deprecating sense of humor

For background, Juanjo teaches Spanish (or did at the time) at a German-speaking school in Austria.  Back then his German–like his English–was very much a work in progress.  

One day, after he had been teaching at the school for a few months, he was having a conversation with the headmaster.  "Juanjo," the headmaster began, "I hope you speak Spanish with your kids at home."

"Oh, I do," Juanjo responded.  "I agree it's very important that they understand the culture and language of their home country."

"That's not really what I meant," responded the headmaster.  "Your German is atrocious!"

Moral of the Story

If you ever have the means and opportunity to spend a few days hanging out and talking about Access with mi buen amigo Juanjo Luna, I highly recommend it.

All original code samples by Mike Wolfe are licensed under CC BY 4.0