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Thank you Sitecore John!

Hi everyone,

This blogpost is not technically related, doesn’t mean to learn you anything, but is my reflection on my experiences and meetups that I had with John West, CTO of Sitecore.

Today, February 2nd 2016, John West announced on his blogpost that he’s leaving Sitecore, which created quit a shock in the Sitecore community.

Since you all know that Sitecore is currently my main focus of work, and also having the privilege of being a Sitecore Technology MVP since 2010, I’ve met John on several occasions.

In this blogpost I’ll refresh my memory on my meetups with John ‘The Sitecore Legend’ West.

How I met John West

Well, the first time I heard from John West must be around the beginning of 2008, when I did the 5.3 certification in Copenhagen, after that I just got hooked on Sitecore.

At that time there were a few people blogging, but especially the blogs from Alex de Groot and John West stood out. John and Alex were helping the Sitecore community a lot with writing these deep-dive blogs on specific under the hood topics. It was at that time that these were the guys to look out for. Later on I heard great stories from Lars at the MVP Summit in Miami in November 2013, how John got that job at Sitecore back in 2004.

The first time I saw John West in real life was at Dreamcore 2011 in London, where he gave a presentation on the technical track: OMS 2.0 – Under the Hood: Using the new API and insights into the improved database strategy. Not that I remember most of his presentation, but watching John on stage was a thingy.

John did great (and I know he doesn’t like giving presentations), and I don’t know if I talked to him or not. But he, that was The Legend on stage. That was John West!

Symposium 2012 in Amsterdam and Sitecore Professional Development book

The year after Dreamcore was rebranded to Sitecore Symposium and in 2012 the Sitecore product developers, management and yes, John West was there too, came to Amsterdam.

This was an epic Symposium.

First of all, the night before the Symposium, we had our first MVP meeting. During that half of a day with sessions with product management of course John contributed in any way of supporting the community. At the MVP Summit in the evening in a small very old restaurant in Amsterdam, who was sitting on the other side of the table, opposite of me? That’s right John West. Somehow after that night and the days to follow John and I had some small conversations. What a great guy John was and still is for us in the Sitecore Community.

But the best was yet to come. John presented two presentations: MVC and 6.6 Killer Features and Five Efficient Ways to Kill Your Website. I had the privilige to ask John some questions on Sitecore MVC and John and Kerry Bellerose did an outstanding session, which was full of fun and role play. Hilarious it was!

After these sessions John signed my Professional Sitecore Development book, the first book on Sitecore, and was written by John himself. I bet it’s on a lot of bookshelves. And yes, IT books do tend to get old, but this one I’ll never ever going to throw away!

2013, 2014 and 2015 – The Sitecore Community is growing

The years to follow, not only I and also John saw the community growing. The Sitecore times were good, with hard work. Our next meeting would be in Miami at the Sitecore MVP Summit 2013. For the first time an official global MVP Summit was held. I was there, John was there and a whole bunch of other Sitecore MVP’s were there. A great great event!

It was great seeing John again at that event, and yes Sitecore John, as a jury member was in the favors of Team 7 (due to Aren Cambre’s excellent singing) which resulted into a 2nd place at the MVP teams competition.

The MVP Summit in Miami was I think also the moment when John was some sort of immortilized by getting his own meme: the Sitecore John Meme generator.

In 2014 we again met at a Symposium. This time the location was Barcelona, Spain.

John and I had some good short chats again during the Symposium and also during the MVP Summit, which was attached to the Symposium. John even gave me an exclusive great Sitecore beer-opener, with which I’m still opening the beers at home 😉 Still a big thanks John!

The last time that I saw John in real life was at the Sitecore MVP Summit in September 2015 in New Orleans, which was an awesome event. John got his so well deserved life-time Sitecore MVP title there.

Somehow it seems that I lost a friend in the community, without overdoing it, I mean not that we we’re talking on a regularly basis or something, but John knew how much effort I put in the Sitecore community and always showed his appreciation, just like we all appreciate his blogs that he put out there for the community.

@John, I wish you sincerely all the best in the future! But I’m sure that will work out! I appreciate all the special moments we shared…

John’s final blogpost, Community post on his leave and Catching Exceptions

You can read John’s final blogpost here:

Make sure you check out the community thread on his move away from Sitecore:

And watch him on Catching Exceptions:

I would like to show special appreciation for all of the Sitecore MVPs and everyone else who knows they truly deserve to be an MVP. I enjoyed meeting you at MVP summits and Symposiums. I appreciated what I have learned from each of you and the times we helped each other. – John West