As I'm sitting here working on a few key deliverables before the end of the quarter (which for me is end of day tomorrow), my thoughts have been on a couple email requests that have come in for thoughts about what will happen in 2013, especially within the SharePoint space. I've had a couple planning calls with my team in Boston today, one of which was a discussion around which SharePoint events I am planning to attend/present at next year. You cannot plan for the future without having a good perspective on the past -- there are certainly some events that I am going to avoid, and some that I can't wait to attend again. I do plan to write up a 2013 predictions post before the end of the year, but for now I thought I'd recap 10 of my favorite events from this past year.
Now, this is not an all-inclusive list of every event I enjoyed participating in -- the vast majority were positive experiences, as a speaker, a sponsor, and an attendee. For example, I absolutely loved my October road trip across the middle east and Europe where I visited and presented in 9 different countries. And also missing from this list are SharePoint Saturday Redmond, which I helped organize, and the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto that was immensely impactful to my business. But the following are the events that most stand out in my reflections of the past year (by date):
- SPTechCon San Francisco, February 26-28, 2012. This is my favorite SharePoint event -- thanks to David and team for putting on a tremendous show, and for inviting me back again (I think I’ve presented at 4 or 5). My stay in SF was short as I had to depart early to come back to Seattle for my first MVP Summit on Microsoft campus. So everything was jam packed. I presented two regular sessions, but was also able to deliver a lightning talk entitled “Building Automated SharePoint Metadata Architectural Taxonomies for Synergistic Information Architecture Collaborative Group Governance Organizations with Powershell.” Look it up, folks. Serious stuff here.
- Perth SPUG, March 23, 2012. This was directly following the Australian SharePoint Conference in Melbourne -- which was also a great event in a beautiful city (which I had never visited before), but I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Perth. I worked with a couple partners and Microsoft to conduct a governance roundtable with some current and prospective Axceler customers, and afterwards presented on a governance topic to a standing-room only SharePoint User Group crowd. I also got to hang out with my good friend Paul Culmsee, and take a scenic tour of the city and local beaches. Hope to get back there some day for another visit.
- New Zealand SharePoint Conference, March 28+29, 2012. Ok, if I have to choose between Australia and New Zealand, I'd be a kiwi, hands down. Wellington, I think, has kind of a Pacific Northwest vibe, but Auckland feels like a Seattle twin. This was my second time to NZ, but this time I was able to spend the weekend in-between events (after Perth) driving around the south island on my own in a car rental…..only entering the highway on the wrong side and almost killing someone once. I spent time in Christchurch and took a helicopter ride onto the Franz Josef glacier, and then headed to Auckland for NZSPC, where I presented to a very large group about metadata, social, and productivity. I also sang a song in front of everyone, with Mr. Paul Culmsee on the ivories.
- SharePoint Saturday Johannesburg, May 19, 2012. The fact that this was my first time to South Africa is not why this made my top 10 list, nor is it because I keynoted the conference on "Jumpstarting Your SharePoint community Efforts." I am basing this almost entirely off of the **amazing** breakfasts we had each day at Seb's hotel. That's right -- I visited a foreign land, and all I can talk about is the awesome breakfast. It was that good.
- SPTechCon Boston, July 23-25. Another SPTechCon event, three regular sessions, and another lightning talk. This time my topic was “The #Bieber-ization of the #SharePoint Community #SPTechCon #yam #bacon” where I provided no actual content, but had a good time mocking several people in the audience (Mike Gilronan, Geoff Varosky, Todd Klindt, and Richard "#ShareBieber" Harbridge). All out of love, of course. My session on “10 Best SharePoint Features You've Never Used (But Should)” drew in a pretty large crowd. I was also able to do a couple book signings with my co-authors for the first time since the book came out, so that was great.
- SharePoint Saturday New York City, July 28, 2012. The SPSNYC team always does a tremendous job at organizing their event, and I was pleased to be invited to present there again -- with a regular session on the #1 topic in the SharePoint space: governance, and also was asked to lead a community focused panel with Susan Lennon (Microsoft, SharePoint Saturday), Paul Swider (consultant, Sharing the Point), Nedra Allmond (San Fernando Valley SPUG), and Talbott Crowell (Boston Area SPUG and F# User Group). After the event, burned into my memory is the image of Marcy Kellar trying to lead the group, using her crappy phone map, to a local karaoke bar. After an hour and the 4th or 5th time we doubled back past the hotel, I gave up and called it a night. I think they eventually found something, and wrapped up about the time I woke up the next morning.
- SharePoint Saturday Cape Town, September 8, 2012. My second visit to the country -- and in one year! I tested out my relatively new session “10 Best Productivity Features in SP2010 You Need to Know About” and spent some quality time with friends. We had a blast. Between Seb, Alistair and Brad's constant mocking of each other, a couple brief stints out on the dance floor, and JB's orangutan walking, it was a lot of fun. But the clincher was -- petting a baby cheetah. Come on people... a baby cheetah! #pettingcheetahs #fearthepinkie
- Brunch with a SharePoint MVP – SPUG presentation, Tel Aviv, October 18, 2012. This was my second visit to Israel, but my first to Tel Aviv. Harmon.ie was kind enough to host this event, with CloudShare helping coordinate and promote. We had a good turnout, with myself talking productivity and SharePoint 2013, and Harmon.ie CEO Yaacov Cohen talking social. The visit was definitely a highlight of the year -- especially the afternoon tour of Tel Aviv and Jaffa by Lydia Bronze and Avner Rosenan from CloudShare. Amazing country, and I can't wait to visit again.
- SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities, November 3, 2012. At the tail end of my 3 week EMEA tour, I was finally able to participate in one of the largest and most successful SharePoint Saturday events on the planet -- Twin Cities (Minneapolis). My governance session went well, but my second session on the “10 Best SharePoint Features You’ve Never Used (But Should)” forced us to bump another speaker from the auditorium, and apparently I broke their record for most attending a single session at 129 participants. And while my hotel was directly across from the Mall of America, I did not enter those hallowed halls. Someone explain to me why I should care. It's just a mall, right?
- SharePoint Conference Las Vegas, November 11-15, 2012. What else can I say about the largest SharePoint event on the planet? I've already blogged about my week there, and specifically on the keynote address. Loved the inclusion of community in the exhibition floor. Loved that they included a store for the first time ever. But for those who missed the Axceler party, you missed the party of the year. Incredible venue, good friends, and a lot of fun. My photos from the event are a matter of public record via Facebook, so if we're not yet friends, ping me. No word on whether Microsoft will repeat in 2013, but I think not. Looking forward to 2014.
And that's my top 10 list for favorite events in 2012. I can't believe we're already at the end of the year, and for many of these events -- already planning my travel and new sessions. While I am once again telling myself that I'll be traveling less in 2013, Q1 is already ramping up. For my friends and business partners in APAC, I'll be visiting this spring once again. For those in EMEA, I'll be making trips in late spring and fall similar to what I did in October.
Looking forward to sharing the stories and photos.