SharePoint Saturday Coming Back to the Pacific Northwest

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After submitting a couple sessions for a SharePoint Saturday event taking place in the mid-west next month, I was reflecting on the massive growth of the SharePoint community since I left Microsoft in 2009 and “officially” became an active member of the community. I attended my first SharePoint Saturday on the Microsoft campus about a month after the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, and quickly got hooked. At the time, I was running all product management and marketing for a little migration vendor called echoTechnology, and used the SPS events as a major part of my marketing spend. It was – and still is – a great way to connect with the movers-and-shakers within the SharePoint space, and meet face-to-face with customers and partners within your target regions.

At the time, SPS Redmond was the second SPS event held on the west coast, following a small and poorly attended SPS in San Francisco. So I started to spend a lot of time (and many weekends) traveling to the east coast to participate in this rapidly expanding community. Of course, every time I boarded a flight on my way east, I thought to myself “Why are there not SPS events on the west coast?”

Having organized and run user groups and other community events in a past life (including a collaboration user group from 2002-2004, hosted by Hurricane Electric in Fremont, CA), I decided to do something about it – and with some like-minded community members, launched SPS East Bay and SPS Los Angeles in late 2010, and later helped organize SPS Sacramento, SPS Silicon Valley (which displaced the East Bay event), SPS Bend, and SPS Utah, as well as re-launched the dormant SPS Redmond. While I am no longer directly involved with some of them, I’m proud to say that all of these events continue to thrive – and am happy to announce 2014 dates for Bend and Redmond!

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SharePoint Saturday Bend (#SPSBEND) will take place on October 4th once again at Central Oregon Community College. While this event is one of the smaller events in terms of attendees, the region has a vibrant SharePoint community, and its always been a fun event. The keynote and sponsors are set up around Pioneer Hall, and following the event we always make our way downtown for a SharePint, dinner, and to participate in Bend’s annual winter-fest activities. Whether you’re driving from the Puget Sound or Portland areas, flying in, or joining us from the surrounding community, this is not an event to be missed!

If you’re interested in presenting, please submit your abstracts. We are also looking for event sponsors – download the sponsor form here. And of course, please attend! Invite your entire team from work, or anyone else that might want to take advantage of free SharePoint training. You can register for the event here.

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SharePoint Saturday Redmond (#SPSRED) will take place the following weekend on October 11th, once again on the Microsoft campus at the Conference Center in Building 33 (downstairs, not the EBC). Not surprisingly, this event continues to be the largest SPS on the west coast, within close to 400 attendees each year (we plan to beat that number this year). One HUGE benefit of holding a SharePoint event right on campus is that we benefit from having multiple product team speakers, as well as local and international experts. The event is held with the fantastic support of the Puget Sound SharePoint User Group (#PSSPUG), and this year’s event will undoubtedly be a blowout.

We are looking for people to present both regular sessions (75-minutes) and lightning talks (15-20 minutes) and are taking abstracts now, so please submit (and let us know if your submission is a lightning talk, and we’ll contact you with more details). We are also looking for sponsors, so please download the sponsor form here. We look forward to seeing you in Redmond – be sure to register today and let your peers know about this great event.

One last thing I’d like to push out there – if you are interested in getting more involved in the community, there’s no better time than the present. Take a look at the upcoming (and constantly updated) list of events at SPSevents.org and reach out to the organizers within your local community to find out how you can get involved. I don’t know of any SPS event that will turn down offers for volunteers. And if there is no SPS in your region, and you have the desire to help get one started, there are armies of people waiting to help you – just reach out and connect via the SPSevents.org website or through one of the many online communities, such as www.yammer.com/spyam.

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.