My SharePoint Conference 2014 Wrap Up 4

The Lead Up

Back in November 2013 as I was delivering sessions for Andrew Connell @AndrewConnell and Dan Holme @DanHolme at #SPLive, I also got the great news that I was accepted to speak at SharePoint Conference 2014 #SPC14 with three (3) sessions.  This was obviously fantastic news, scary, but I knew I could do it superbly prepping hard for the months leading up. In that note I want to thank my Track Lead Bill Baer @williambaer for accepting me to speak and Mark Kashman @mkashman and team for putting on such a great event. As you can see I am smiling ear to ear


In this blog post I will be providing “my perspective” of #SPC14, I arrived to Vegas on the Sunday before the event with sessions to deliver on Tuesday, Wednesday and on Thursday, so I knew right off the bat, I would be heads down the entire time.  Notwithstanding that, I did attend a few sessions, do some Planet Technologies @PlanetTech booth duties for my employer, networked with a few folks I only knew in the Twitterverse, and finally around Wednesday night I started to let my hair down & stay out past midnight.  These are some observations & tidbits I want to share bout my experience both as a presenter & fellow attendee.

For more details on the session I delivered please see this post here also check out here for some deep insights into the overall theme of all my sessions which focused on:

  • SharePoint Business Connectivity Service (BCS)
  • OData and REST
  • SharePoint Hybrid with an emphasis on BCS and Search

Day 1 – Monday

I was fortunate to be in attendance this year and in row 2 to see Former President Bill Clinton @billclinton take the stage and deliver the Keynote for #SPC14 I thought it would be  interesting to hear if/how the @billclinton used SharePoint in his life & although I didn’t hear a specific correlation, I was intrigued about his message of Technology and Change, and how technology has impacted the work of the Clinton Global Initiative Group positively. 


As part of the keynote I was also very stoked to hear from SharePoint General Manager Jared Spataro @jared_spataro & Corporate Vice President Jeff Teper @jeffteper discuss the vision and strategy of SharePoint and all its investments both to On Premises and in the Cloud especially around Big Data really resonated. I was most impressed with the announcement of Office Graph.

Day 2 – Tuesday

This was my big day, my debut on the SharePoint Conference Stage as a new presenter.  I would be delivering my session on SharePoint Hybrid session #SPC319 and if you have not yet submitted your eval, I encourage you to do so. It not only helps the Conference Owners and Track Leads understand the session value, but it helps me better deliver in the future.


The Deck and Video of this session will be released under the schedule dictated by #SPC14 & I know I have seen links under #MYSPC, please take a look at it if you are interested in understanding more about SharePoint Hybrid i.e. bridging that gap between User Identity, Cross Farm Resources, BCS & Search with an On Premises SharePoint 2013 farm and Office 365 SharePoint Online Tennant. I really enjoyed this session as it was the most challenging for me; as far as I know only Kirk Evans @kaevans have ever delivered a session like this where you would live Demo a Hybrid One-Way Inbound in-front of a live audience 🙂 What really made my day was the fact that there were four members of the SharePoint BCS Product Team (the code owners) and a Product Manager in my session and after the session completed really paid me a the best compliment of my SharePoint professional career so far.


Thanks guys, and I look forward to speaking to you all in the next upcoming weeks.

Day 3 – Wednesday

On this day, I was honored to do a session alongside Chris Givens @givenscj in a session all about BCS in SharePoint 2013 with a specific emphasis on Alerts and Notifications #SPC313 which is NEW to SharePoint.


Now this session was going to be right after @givenscj session on Futuristic Search Applications using Kinect and Yammer #SPC405 which I attended, this was one heck of a session, I definitely will be pulling down the SDK and playing with this myself. Here is a picture from the session with Chris pulling indexed data from SharePoint with “gestures” using Kinect


I’ve never co-presented with my very good friend Chris before, and this session was both FUN and meaningful at the same time. 

Day 4 – Thursday

This day closed the circle, I would be delivering my last session of #SPC14; I was delivering a session that equally

  • Cross Platform
  • Cross Technology
  • Form Factor Friendly

This session was all about OData and my call to action for this session was to encourage EVERYONE to start thinking about OData as the medium of exchange for managing External Data whether it is inside SharePoint or Microsoft Office [the specific examples/Demos I did] or anywhere. This session was SPC330


and by this time, I understood the physical tolls that doing sessions three days in a row can have. While rewarding, and me sticking to a Water, Food, Work, Sleep, Repeat diet for the last four days, it felt like Marine Corps BWT exercise, but just like BTW, when you are finished, you feel so good that you accomplished it, you are almost ready to do it again 🙂

With all my sessions out of the way, this was the night i FINALLY left the hotel since I entered on Sunday. I was heading to the #SPC14 Speaker Party which was at the Hakkasan Night Club Restaurant and Bar. As my first party of the entire conference, I was quite excited and when @givenscj said he had already reserved a Table at the Club Level, I knew I as in for a night. Even the person who managed the Twitter Handle for @SPConf when told that Chris Givens throws the most Epic SharePoint parties saw our table and folks on the dance floor, they acquiesced 🙂 Check Twitter for the pictures but here is a teaser


This was our table and Chris went to town on the bottles 🙂 dude really knows how to throw down

Post Event

And then I had a day that I could sleep in as late as I wanted, well actually until I realized that it was 11 am PST and I needed to hurry up and check out 🙂

Day 5 – Friday

Imagine my surprise when for the first time I went outside the Conference Hotel in the day time an realize that it was 75 degrees and sunshine. After being inside the hotel for effectively five (5) days, I was like a hermit coming out of a cave.  So accompanied by @givenscj and his wife @lidiyater and co-worker @noidentity29 we first hit up Gillys where Shannon found out that there was a proper way to order food off the menu 🙂


Shannon & I are both followers of the show PawnStars, so we then did the tourist trap thing and took a cab down to the “Gold and Silver Pawn Shop” to do the tour and possibly some shopping




I made sure I had some proof i was there. After that, we met up with a few folks for dinner at New York New York Pub “Nine Fine Irishmen” and that was basically it.


This was the end, I had spent 6 days in Las Vegas and survived. Better yet, I broke even as I always do in Vegas, i.e. I give the casinos no money and guess what, I don’t get back any money 🙂 amazing how that works huh?

Lessons Learned

I have been to every SPC since 2009, this was my first as a speaker, the experience is certainly different, equally rewarding just at different levels. As usual it is always ALWAYS beneficial at these events to put Social Media names to faces; I have a few thousand Twitter Followers and it was absolutely GREAT meeting these community colleagues in person, if even briefly for a “Hi & Hello” moment, because that solidifies the virtual bond, now you know that person… or so I look at it, we are forever changed.

I look forward to watching all those session videos I missed but really wanted to see, I don’t think I have ever gone to a SPC and not visit my best mate Jeremy Thake @jthake session even if it is just to lend support, but I didn’t get a chance this year, plus he was so busy this year too with his new job announcement at Microsoft. Knock em dead Bro! we all know you can do it.

On the final day of the event POST Event Sessions I was fortunate to attend the “Post SPC Hybrid Training” Hands on Lab (HOL) led by some of my #SharePoint Heroes!

and a few others. This was great for me to be in the same time/space/place as these folks and have casual conversation with them about the technologies we all work in. This was very refreshing, rewarding, sobering in that I know there is soooo much I have left to learn, I am happy to have made these contacts.

What’s Next

  1. Well, all that work that have piled up in the run up to the Event that I had to move to the back burners, well they are back, and with a shorter timeline to complete. I love my “Session” work, but “Real World Deliverables” are also quite fun to do and get under you belt
  2. I have some SharePoint Saturdays that I will be submitting for… today in-fact, so get on your submission as well. I encourage anyone out there with a story to tell, a eagerness to learn and teach others, to sign up and speak at a SharePoint User Group (SUG), a SharePoint Saturday (SPS) and give back to the community, its both humbling and rewarding
  3. I also am looking forward to some more International SharePoint Speaking engagements, last year I was fortunate to do SharePoint EVO in London, I’m looking forward this year to hit a few more countries.

Until then, Keep It Irie! an Mi wi see unnu latah! [there you go Bill Baer.. more Jamaican]

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