Nothing like a whirlwind trip out of state to wake you up, help you shake off the sleepy leg that comes from an extended amount of time off the road. That’s right….I wasn’t traveling for two weeks. I felt spoiled. And then my schedule caught up with me.
On Friday, I was joined in Redmond by my director of west coast sales, Chris Essler (@chrisessler), who flew up to spend the day with me in partner and customer meetings, followed by the speaker dinner for the inaugural Office365 Saturday Redmond event, co-hosted by myself and Chris Beckett (@sharepointbits). Dinner was held at Maggianos in Bellevue in a great back room, and excellent food. I will definitely plan future event dinners there (great idea, Erica!).
We had the help of a great committee, including Owen Allen (@owenallen), Erica Toelle (@ericatoelle), Steven Fowler (@stevenmfowler), Carsten Winsnes (@propersync), Leroy Collinwood (@lcollinwood), and Greg Frick (@gregfrick), and the tremendous support of the Puget Sound SharePoint User’s Group (#PSSPUG).
Launching a new event type is always a shot in the dark – you just don’t know how people will respond, whether you’ll have trouble finding sponsors and speakers, and whether people will show up. To be honest, we had a bit of a shaky start with sponsors and speakers. We were leveraging the successful model of SharePoint Saturday, but people questioned the event: why have an Office365 event when Office365 was often covered at SharePoint events? The idea was to give it its own platform. We wanted to try it, and thankfully it was successful. We had just under 350 registrations, with 175 attendees, with Mark Kashman (@mkashman) from the product team as our keynote and 25 different sessions.
I didn’t present at this conference, but did participate in a lively panel discussion on planning, strategy and governance moderated by Chris Beckett with Richard Harbridge, Jeremy Thake, Virgil Carroll, Corey Roth, and Ishai Sagi (picture up top). And following the event, we made our way over to Rock Bottom Brewery in Bellevue for a SharePint and some socializing. Great way to cap off a fun event.
On Sunday, I flew down to San Francisco to participate in SPTechCon San Francisco. Sunday night was all about the O’Reilly author party (my book comes out in a couple weeks), and I also participated in an interview with the forthcoming SPTV (SharePoint TV, @my_sptv) with Stacy Deere (@sldeere) and Stephanie Donahue (@stephkdonahue).
On Monday, I presented two sessions with great audience participation (Looking Under the Hood: How Your Metadata Strategy Impacts Everything You Do, and Mastering SharePoint Migration Planning), and rounded out the day with a Lightning Talk – which was positioned as a service message from the SharePoint expert community:
Rounding out the evening was the speaker party (thanks to David Rubinstein and the BZ Media team for another great event!) and SharePint before heading back to the airport. Nothing like landing at your home airport, then having to wait around for 30 minutes for your bag. Dan Holme was also stuck there waiting, both of us exhausted. I got home at 2am, was up just after 5am, and on campus ready to participate in my first MVP Summit by6:30am. Good times.