My SPC14 Conference Review:
This is my fourth SharePoint Conference. Every conference has been a completely different experience for us. Two of them I have spoken at, two I have simply been an observer. SPC14 was a unique one in the fact that the Project Server conference (my first) was 4 weeks before. In each conference I had three sessions. That's six sessions in 4 weeks! I spent almost three months prepping for those six sessions. In the end, I managed to etch out 4.4 or higher in all of them and am currently in the running for one of the top sessions of SPC14! My sessions included:
- SPC416 – SharePoint storage architecture, 2001-present inside and out
- SPC405 – Futuristic Search applications using Kinect and Yammer!
- SPC313 – Apps, BCS, OData, Search and O365…Oh My
However, this will be the last time I do more than one session! The work and expectations for each session are incredible, and given there are so many cool and awesome people in the Product Marketing Groups (PMG), you don't want to disappoint any of them! However, doing that many sessions is not advisable. You lose out on time to spend with friends and potential clients, and you don't get to watch many of your fellow speakers give it their all! That being said, I will look to do sessions in the future, but won't be so over zealous for the sake of the pocket book (ie missing opportunities).
I was a little disappointed about the PMG spending all that money on having Bill Clinton come out and speak. I felt it would have been a better use of the funds if they had gotten Satya, Microsoft CEO, to come and give a speech that gave us a rallying cry for why Microsoft is about to become the coolest company on the planet. It would have been free and much more exciting in my opinion. Not to mention we could have had some kind of cool artist at the attendee party (and then maybe we would have gone). In terms of the demos, awesome. Just plain awesome. The behind the scenes details of how those came about is pretty funny, and I was crossing my fingers when Julia and others got up to do them that everything would work out ok. And for the most part, they did! Now that all the marketing ideas have been dropped on the table (and yes folks, those things you saw last week are not yet fully baked, and its possible you may not ever see them again), its time to start the execution phase, good luck Building 17, and get SharePoint Server 2015 out the door!
None the less, this was a great conference as Lidiya and I got to see some of our favorite people again such as
But in addition we made some great new friends:
Oh yeah…and this guy too:
In terms of sessions I didn't get to see any [:(], but I will be downloading all the PPTs and doing a review as I have done in the past. In its place, I did manage to get several mentions and mention #SPC14 a lot on twitter!
Also, I didn't make it all the way around the Exhibit hall this year. I only made it about halfway, but did find some jewels during that period:
- WalkMe –
Can you say "COOL"?!? I will be exploring these guys thoroughly over
the next few weeks. I see a lot of potential for value add with the ACS
courseware moving forward!
I guess, and this is purely from the sales guy that was manning the
booth, the CEO is an old Microsoft Engineering guy that knew Infopath
was going to be dead even before the PMG knew it. The solution looks
solid, but I'd have to take it for a serious test run before I'd
recommend it to clients. Also think they could have come up with a better name?
- Sada Systems – A competitor to Qumu in the video streaming space. Their model is like Yammer in that all your content is hosted in their cloud solution
- HarePoint – An http module based approach at on-premise SharePoint analytics. Pretty awesome stuff! I don't think there is anything they missed from the data they collect! (Russian Developers)
- Datapolis – A competitor to Nintex and K2. They do have some pretty unique features that are worth checking out!
When there wasn't something major going on (or we choose to skip them because they were going to suck), we spent a lot of time in the V Bar in the Venetian. The door men got to know us really well and were so nice! And they had great music! The one cool thing about the ClubSPC was the DJ, he had an awesome DJ setup and is super well know around the Microsoft and tech community for his great DJ skills. If you want to contact him for parties, his name is Derek Mazzone (email@example.com). He left from SharePoint Conference and headed to SXSW to do some partying (horrible life right?).
In terms of the cool parties, as always, AvePoint did a killer job keeping us close to our hotel rooms, yet still getting us on the dance floor and providing wonderful refreshments at Tao nightclub! In terms of travel and cool factor, the Metalogix et all party was pretty sweet too. I can only imagine what happens if you have a cabana with your own hottub at the Marquee dance club, hope they clean the water daily and no one fell in! In addition, the K2 guys were nice enough to let us crash in their massive table area on the dance floor!
In the end, the club at Hakkasan was by far the best experience we had all week! This club had the BEST digital light display and dance floor effects I have seen in a very long time! If you ever get a chance to go to this club before its "not cool and too old", DO IT!
Oh and @SPCPartyPatrol was off the hook! They win the prize for most outgoing and partied out individuals of SPC14 by light years!
Here are some other conference reviews you can check out:
Overall, the conference was a blast, and although not everything went to plan (such as the MySPC site having major fails – and nothing to do with my wonderful amazing friends at FpWeb, and several other things you won't be privy too nor can I say anything about), the speakers, attendees and Las Vegas made up for it!