As we settle back into work mode, we look back on the week of April 19th and for those of us fortunate to have been at the SharePoint Evolution Conference hosted by Combined Knowledge in London, United Kingdom between last Monday through Wednesday, we witnessed and experienced quiet a lot. This blog post is a focused view through my eyes and showcases some of my interactions, the sessions i was responsible for, and some of the cool after parties that Zoe Watson and the team at Combined Knowledge put together.
Ok, lets get started
Wheels down in London.. now what?
I arrived in London on Saturday to get a jump on things, ensure (or at least attempt) to have my body adjust for the 5 hour time difference from USA Eastern Time Zone. Coincidentally, this is one of the #ProTips i provided in a blog post I am featured in on Microsoft’s Channel 9 located here, it all goes back to proper planning, and surprise, surprise, this also applies to speakers.
So, I “minded” the gap, met up with two other Planet Technologies Inc fellow speakers MCM Miguel Wood and MVP Cathy Dew, and failed several times to remember that the lobby floor is “zero” in the UK, but once i got that all sorted out, as all speaker do, no matter how prepared they are… you find yourself prepping for your session
Prep for my Two Sessions to Deliver
I got in early enough in the day time and since I had two sessions to deliver I began by focusing on the one that I have started to work on all the way back in February 18th 2015, my Xamarin Azure Mobile Services one.
I took my Xamarin monkey with me too.. for luck, but the products work so well together that all we needed was knowledge and preparation, and start off the morning with a proper breakfast like a Bacon Butty as you see below.
Connect & Re-Connect with Speakers and Attendees “Delegates” from all over the world
One of the most beautiful things (experience) that you have in this community of SharePoint/Office365/Azure is that it is easy to make long lasting positive relationships with fellow colleagues and peers. I look forward to these events to meet up with fellow community speakers, tweeps i only know on twitter, and share a pint or two, or three with them. Whether its folks like Matthias
here who even without coordination will adorn attire similar to your own, or having a bartender name is “at that point” nameless drink.. in your name… behold, i give you i think… a T-shirt from the Chris Johnson line.. and a new drink from the adjoining bar at the Crown Plaza hotel called “The Fabian”.. which by the way takes 3 minutes to make. Its.
- Gin (Hendricks)
- Tonic infused with cucumber [mashed up and shaken for 2 minutes]
- Egg-White [whipped and added to the top of the drink, that’s the white foam you see there]
- Garnished with a slice of cucumber and a cherry
and its not all crazy… sometimes you can have a quiet meal with mates from all over that have your back when you need it in the wee hours of the morning and send out a frantic tweet for #sphelp
Attend the Conference and Deliver my Sessions
The masterful Steve Smith takes the stage to open the conference, introduce the Keynote, and set the stage for #EvoConf #SPEvo 2015. From the onset, looking at the
- Speaker Lineup
- Additional Tracks (Newly Added & Extended for Content)
- Varied Technical Content (SharePoint, Office365, Social, Azure)
- Excited Delegates (yes….attendees if you live Stateside like me)
I knew…as i told Steve, this is the All-Star year
So, I had two sessions that i was proud to deliver, one focused on SharePoint Hybrid and the other on the #MobileFirstCloudFirst Microsoft Strategy. I used the combination of Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS), Visual Studio, and Xamarin including Xamarin.Forms
and when i mention the delegates, I had a few folks like Matt Thornton who came to both my sessions, asked poignant questions, interacted with others in the sessions, challenged the narrative where it needed to be and with others like him in my sessions made it a better experience for everyone who attended. Thanks Matt.
My Takeaways from my Sessions are here
- Hybrid Session
- Channel 9 Presentations I have done on Implementing Hybrid at TechEd and SharePoint Conferences
- My Blog Post On Hybrid
- Some of my Hybrid Scripts on GitHub
- WAMS Session
I can obviously only speak for myself, but I am sure that my sentiments are echoed by the delegates and speakers from what i have witnessed at the Conference, Attendee Party and Speaker Dinner…Steve Smith, Zoe Watson and the entire Combined Knowledge team accomplishes what no other conference does. Not to take anything away from other conferences I attend, may others succeed on their own merit via technology, managing attendee expectations, recognition of speakers, but i have yet to see, or attend one that does it so well in all of those three aforementioned areas. Don’t believe me, don’t take my word for it, check out this speaker line up and the variety of technologies in the agenda. At the time of this writing though all the pictures are not posted yet from the conference itself and the after hours activities, when they come out, prepared to have your mind blown 🙂
Here is a little bit of my experience
Getting ready for the Attendee Party in the Lobby of the hotel
We had Limos come to pick us up from the hotel
Attendee Party at Cafe Du Paris… and I realize I have not pictures from Speaker Dinner, i was so captivated by the performance at Circus.