Monday, October 25, 2010

Final Thoughts on SPTechCon Boston

One thousand, one hundred seventy-four registrants from 46 of the 50 United States and 29 countries. More than 80 technical classes and workshops, taught by 47 of the brightest minds in the SharePoint universe. Forty-five Microsoft partners displaying all manner of add-ons and extensions to the SharePoint platform. All that adds up to the most successful SPTechCon to date, held last week in Cambridge, Mass., just a stone's throw across the Charles River from downtown Boston.

As Microsoft SharePoint evangelist Steve Fox noted in his keynote address, SPTechCon has momentum. He made a point to highlight the outstanding faculty -- many Microsoft Certified Masters and MVPs were on hand -- and urged attendees to seek them out, which they did.
The great thing about the SharePoint speaker community is that they love to talk about SharePoint. So, whether it was after a session, during a coffee break, or riding up in an elevator, attendees were able to avail themselves of the experts and get answers to their questions.

I'd like to acknowledge a few folks who went above and beyond the call, to help SPTechCon continue to be a first-rate event. First there is Mauro Cardarelli, who took over a full-day workshop when the original speaker dropped out the day before the event. His session went so smoothly you'd have thought he had months to prepare. And even when he was held up in traffic getting to the hotel that morning, so Susan Lennon -- a well-known speaker who was at the conference as an attendee herself -- jumped in to "tap dance" with a smooth Q&A session until Mauro arrived. And Bill English, who gave the second keynote, realized during his talk that his mention of "managing up" a SharePoint deployment could be extended into another session, and he created just that on-site (foregoing much of a speaker party to work up slides). It drew nearly 50 people!

That shows you just how dedicated SharePoint speakers are to share their knowledge with folks who are new to the software (to say nothing of the discussions with more advanced users). And, during the lunches, it was enlightening to sit among the attendees and hear a business user from one company discussing his issues with an IT administrator from another company, each trying to gain more insight into the other's roles, and how they can bring that knowledge back to their jobs to get their own teams working together better.

SharePoint is not a developer tool, nor is it an end user productivity suite, or a complex deployment for IT adminstrators. It is, in fact, all of those things. And only when all facets are working together do the true benefits of SharePoint become realized.

That's what attendees are coming to expect from SPTechCon, and that's what we plan to continue to provide. By listening to attendees and speakers, we're working to continue to make SPTechCon a "must attend" technical conference (yes, we know the hotel was too small, so things were a little tight. Next year, bigger hotel -- more space, more classes, more ELEVATORS!). But, by the looks of the numbers, we're doing something right. And we thank all of you -- attendees, speakers and sponsors.

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco at the next SPTechCon, Feb. 7-9. As an aside, Boston's SPTechCon sold out about five weeks before the event. My advice for San Francisco is to book early!

-- David

1 comment:

gvaro said...

Well done on the Conference Dave and the rest of the BZ Media Team! By far one of the best conference experiences I have been able to be a part of. And thanks, yet again, for allowing us to host the Boston Area SharePoint Users Group there!