Legendary Podcast: Bobby Small on Ecosystem Evolution, Standout Summit Sessions, Community Involvement

Welcome to the “Legendary Podcast,” hosted by Dynamics Communities Editor Cam Sessinger. The “Legendary Podcast” is a video podcast series featuring Community Summit North America Legends, highlighting their career expertise, community involvement, and Community Summit experiences.

In episode 2, Cam interviews Bobby Small, Community Summit North America Legend, Programming Committee Member, Channel Development and Alliances Manager, Ellipse Solutions. The two discuss the evolution of the ecosystem and Bobby’s advice for those looking to become more immersed in all things Microsoft Business Applications and Community Summit.

This episode is sponsored by Community Summit North America, the largest independent gathering of the Microsoft Business Applications ecosystem, taking place Oct. 13-17, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas. Register today to connect with thousands of users across the Microsoft business applications ecosystem at the for user, by user event.


00:20 — Bobby started implementing Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations for a company that was an end-user, where he stayed for about 20 years, leading him to the community. He served in various roles with the company, as a Programmer, a Director of IT, and eventually, Vice President of IT. He started attending Community Summit in 2010, which is when his role in the community grew.

02:25 — Bobby’s role as the Channel Development and Alliances Manager at Ellipse Solutions is newer to the company. Essentially, he focuses on building relationships with the ecosystem, partners, and ISVs to “help uplift Microsoft sellers and customers.”

04:07 Community Summit North America 2023 took place Oct. 15-20 in Charlotte, North Carolina this year. Bobby shares some of his key impressions from the event, noting the layout of the Charlotte Convention Center which had an overall impact on the conference’s continuity. Although he had a packed schedule, he found himself taking part in a speed networking event hosted by TechFluent, in which the 2023 Cohort of Scholars could network and interact with other attendees, ISVs, and partners.

“It was just really a surprise, kind of serendipitous moment to get that opportunity.”

06:35 — Though he didn’t have as much time to attend sessions as he would have liked, a standout session for Bobby was “X++ Extreme: Boost Your Development Skills with Proven Tips and Tricks,” led by Nathan Clouse and Peter Ramer. Check out the recorded education sessions now available on demand!

09:14 — One of the greatest benefits of Community Summit North America is the networking opportunities, expresses Bobby. The relationships established during the event stay relevant forever, whereas education obtained in 2010 might not be as relevant in 2023. If you are attending Community Summit for the first time, Bobby encourages users to find ways to “break out of their shell” and start networking on-site. As you get to know more people, the “easier” your experience will be.

12:33 — Bobby shares some general business advice and lessons learned throughout his time in the community:

  • Take measured action in your career
  • The grass is rarely greener on the other side, so stay consistently present
  • Communicate any feelings of having “outgrown” a role with upper management

15:37 — Finally Bobby offers advice for those who are newer to the Microsoft Business Applications ecosystem or are looking to become more involved with Community Summit North America. First, check out local meetings going on and see how you can become involved. Additionally, he encourages people to watch the recorded sessions from previous Community Summits. Lastly, he encourages people to be active on LinkedIn — engage, interact, comment, or DM some seasoned veterans in the community and start to establish on online network of experts who you can tap into.

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