Destined for Greatness – #SPSBend

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Sitting on the stack of reading material from a flight back in August was a copy of Entrepreneur Magazine, which always offers up 3 or 4 great ideas for articles. My habit while flying is to dog ear pages, writing comments and ideas for blog posts into the columns. And occasionally the ideas sit on the pile, waiting for me to transfer them to digital media. So this morning, I was thinking about the upcoming SharePoint Saturday Bend event, and remembered reading an article about Bend in Entrepreneur – and was able to quickly find it, grabbing this great river view picture from the web. Essentially, the article shares that Bend is a sleeper town for entrepreneurs, many moving to the area for its incredible scenery and lifestyle. You can read more here.

I’ve been asked several times why put a SharePoint Saturday in little Bend, Oregon? Well, to me, that is kind of the point of SharePoint Saturday – to bring major conference speakers and topics and networking to areas that would otherwise never see a major conference. I am not trying to detract from SPS events in larger regions, such as Houston, Minneapolis, Boston, NYC, or DC. Those are all fantastic events, and the SharePoint community is thriving in all of them – and demand is driving SPS. In fact, SharePoint Saturday continues to spread worldwide, frustrating some regional training firms who view these events as a threat to their business model. But to the communities they serve, they are yet another resource – and a much needed resource – that adds on to the formal training services offered by vendors and consultants. If anything, SPS raises awareness of other training events and services. For all the events I help organize on the US west coast, we always try to identify other events and resources, pointing people back to the local community for additional, hands-on training.image

But back to Bend – when I first came across the Bend SharePoint User Group (http://sharepointbend.org), I was quick to connect with its enthusiastic leadership, Jason Hamlin (@jasonhamlin) and Barb Troyer (@beezelbarb). They invited me to come down and present to the SPUG, and so I drove down from Seattle. I have always been a fan of high desert, so the drive was amazingly beautiful past Mt. Hood (for those who have never visited the area, its well worth the time to fly into Portland and drive versus fly into the regional airport in Redmond, Oregon). The Entrepreneur magazine article does a great job of highlighting the business climate, but I’ll add to it that this is not some po-dunk town out in the high-desert, but a hip, modern, and technology-aware community. Bend is for people who ski, mountain bike, fish, and are involved in technology – it has a thriving tech industry, which is why Entrepreneur highlighted them. We’ve positioned SPSBend against two other events in town – WebCAM and IgniteBend, both attracting businesses and entrepreneurs and attention. Of course, its also fun that following our event on Saturday and a downtown SharePint, the town center is usually blocked off for music, food and fun, rounding out a great day of SharePoint.

If you have never been to a SharePoint Saturday, Bend is a great event to dip your toes. And if you’re in the Pacific Northwest and are looking for SharePoint immersion and a great community culture, you should join us. The event is all day Saturday, October 6th, taking place at the Central Oregon Community College (up on the hill, surrounded by the trees) and is completely free. Plan on staying for the entire day, with lunch provided and networking following the event. Register here!

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.