SharePoint Conference 2011 Recap

Here is a short recap of all the cool stuff that happened this week.

Over 7,500 people showed up in Anaheim, CA on Sunday to enjoy networking and learning about SharePoint!  The event started off with the exhibit hall reception where you got your first sneak peak at the vendors. 

Exhibit Hall

The first big booths you would get to see was Quest and HP in the center.  HP didn't have much that interested me, but the Quest folks sure made things entertaining with their "Bonk" game.  You can find lots of pictures of SharePoint superstars on facebook and twitter, it was quite humorous and they gave away lots of cold hard cash to answer SharePoint questions!  In the following pictures you'll see @joelolsen @michaelnoel @buckleyplanet and then @ZlatanDzinic and @eusp

 

 To the left of HP was the the great guys from AvePoint (@danholme, @tweetraw, @jthake)!  As they have done for the past few SPConferences, they had a killer Ducati motorcycle to giveaway to some lucky attendee:

 

AvePoint also hosted the party of all parties, The Red Party, at a local bar called Heat Ultra Lounge.  Everyone was dressed in Red and the inside has all red lights, it was amazingly awesome!  AvePoint announced their new product versions including a Governance tool that has been under the wing of Jeremy Thake

On the right side of Quest were the very cool K2 guys showing off their awesome BlackPearl product and other workflow tools.  They were giving away a Segway for some lucky attendee!

 

Behind Quest and K2 were the good ole boys from fpweb.net ("fp" by the way means "Front Page" which was from an acquisition from a company called VTI which is the name of the web services directory VTI_BIN). fpweb pretty much has the coolest booth I had ever seen.  It has two stories with a full living room on the top floor.  It was of course roped off to only special fpweb MVPs and customers.  After a long day of sessions and walking the exhibit hall it was great to relax and drink a glass of wine on their very comfy couches.

 

fpweb.net had a couple of events during the week, including one that I master minded called the "Move like Jagger Contest".  There were several people at the conference that brought wives and kiddos and need extra passes.  It just turned out that three people gave me their passes and we decided to make people work for them by moving like Mick Jagger.  Rob LaMear, CEO of fpweb, put in some extra incentive by placing $100 bills on each of the passes, that got us about 10 people to do some Mick Jagger moves, one such person is @grumpytech. 

 

I'll be posting the video very soon!  The other event was a "fpweb.net is flexbile", where several young ladies came out and did some pretty amazing moves:

 

As far as new comers to the SharePoint software space, I though these two vendors had a pretty rocking demo:

  • #1 – ESRI – a long time ruling company in geocoding and mapping software came out with a Solution Package with a web part, custom field type with wizards to pull SharePoint list data and backend data to do geo-coding and mapping with heat maps. This stuff even knows how to use the SQL Server SpatialTypes to generate the data – AMAZINGLY COOL!  
  • #2 – SouthLabs – A very nice looking iPad and iPhone app for connecting to SharePoint with many authentication method support.  They were some very cool and bright guys from Uruguay and I think they will be able to win quite a lot of business from SharePoint customers with their mobile apps.
  • #3 – Pingar– They have an auto tagging solution designed by several computer science artificial intelligence people which used wikipedia as an input source to determine how to auto tag content in your SharePoint Farm.  It is by far the most advanced auto-tagging solution I have seen

And of course the hottest booth babe was my wifey who was hanging out at the @sharesquared booth:

 

Keynote:

The keynote area was HUGE!  As you can imagine, fitting over 7500 people into a room is quite a task.  During the keynote we had SharePoint Team member @thekameleon dj'ing.

 

The SharePoint trio, Jared Spararo, Jeff Teper and Kurt Delbene spoke and in-between they played some "cute" videos of celebrities, but unfortunately they didn't have anyone actually "present" for us to look at. 

 

The real highlight for me of the keynote was when the customer video played.  The very opening of the video had my customer eBay's intranet called "TheHUB".  The eBay mobile app also made an appearance with my name displayed and then immediately followed by me making a cameo on screen! 

 

I'll post the video link later so you can watch it!  One of the other neat demos they did was have a SQL Server Denali instance setup in a cluster with some pretty crazy numbers around data corpus.  They pulled the network cable on the active SQL Server and had the cluster failover to the passive SQL Server node.  The hardware was in the range of $1.5 million and as much as it was a fun demo to see, it is not likely that many customers would be purchasing hardware of that magnitude.  Especially when you need have to build out the disaster recovery component at a similar cost in a different geographically located data center:

 

Sessions:

There were lots and lots of sessions!  One thing I noticed was that FAST Search made an appearance in each of the session sets.  It was great for me as I had just finished my FAST Search course and was able to validate that everything was actually covered!  One of the coolest sessions on FAST was the one held by Joshua at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  They had done some pretty amazing stuff with FAST Search Center. The other impressive FAST Search session was done by Paul Branson, he was very knowledgeable and impressed me quite a bit with his demos and movement around the FAST directories.

Our eBay upgrade session was on Wednesday at 3:15, so we were able to party the night before and not have a early morning session where everyone was hungover and sleeping from the previous night!   We packed the room (with standing room only) with several Microsoft folks and saw several SharePoint colleagues in the audience.  I guess we did a pretty good job as our scores are right around 4.6 out of 5.0.  That's pretty outstanding survey results!  After the session I had several people ask me to blog about the MMS implementation and my upgrade tool.  I'll be doing that next week for everyone!

I'll be posting the slides to the SanSpug.org site for our members to check out as soon as I am able to meaningfully categorize them all. 

Parties:

There were a ton of parties this week. As I already mentioned, the best party was the AvePoint "Red Party" party, having an entire dance club to ourselves is pretty darn awesome! 

 

The next best party would have to be the Speaker Party on Thursday night.  They brought in two in-and-out burger trucks and cooked us up fresh burgers, fries and shakes…the best part however was their was a DJ.  And not only were the speakers invited, but the event staff too.  The speakers and MS folks kind sat around chatted, but the staff got down!  Two of the staff folks were just flat out awesome break dancers and started a competition…it was killer!  The DJ started to play the last song and then I yelled "Move like Jagger", he pointed at me and said "That's a better one…" and mixed/faded into it perfectly from Sister Sledge.  We danced for a good hour at that party and I had my heart going and sweated it up…

 

The next best party was the Disneyland event hosted by Nuedesic.  They managed to rent out the entire park just for the SharePoint conference, and what was even more cool, they had bars setup all over the park.  The staff said they had never seen alcohol served park-wide before, so I'm guessing they spent a heck of a lot of money getting that event setup for us:

 

The next best party of the week was the Octoberfiesta party, although we didn't make it over, I heard they did some pretty cool stuff and everyone enjoyed it:

 

The next best drinking event was the karaoke late into the night on Wednesday.  We had the likes of Andrew Connell, Dux Raymond, AvePoint folks, Dave Milner and several others singing it up.  I did the Sister Sledge, "We Are 'SharePoint' Family",but I'd have to say the best singer ended up being Dave Miler!  We (Randy Williams and I) tried to get a mosh pit going with some body banging, but the karaoke lady stopped us right away…darn it…

 

Summary:

Even though we didn't learn anything new about v.next (other than that they have hired alot of UI developers), the event was a great chance for the SharePoint community to come together, "new kids on the block" vendors to show off their products and have one heck of a set of parties!

Enjoy!
Chris

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