SharePoint Saturday UK; Hit, Miss or Maybe?

By | October 3, 2010

This weekend has been unusual for me.  I like to hunt, shoot, fish as some of you know; I am an outdoors kind of guy.

For a light change of pace on Saturday just gone, it was like being back in the US of A – I went to a geek event; SharePoint Saturday UK.

SharePoint Saturday UK was put together by those friendly folks at Lightning and ID (Brett, Tony and Mark) and was sponsored by the usual suspects in the SharePoint vendor world along with a couple of others whom I had not come across until now.

Was it worth my time?  On balance it was, but not for the reasons many others would have derived value.

I always find the sessions on events like this slightly frustrating.  Its nothing that can be altered, but it always leaves me with a sense of helplessness.

Let me draw you a picture.  I remember when I was choosing my GCSE “options” back in high school, you could never quite get the combination that would suit you *perfectly* and you had to make do with whatever you could schedule in the tracks permitted.

Hence I ended up having to pick Geography.

Geography?  What the frak am I ever going to need geography for?  “In about 10 years time some bright spark will invent a cost effective computerised replacement for a map that will get me to wherever I need to be anywhere in the world, right?” was always my way of looking at the world.

Anyway, I digress.  Events like #spsuk (for those of you who are Twitter enabled) are forced to utilise a track model and I never seem to be able to attend precisely what I want to.  Solution?  Running the event over a longer period (for instance, 2 days) may help the problem, but I wildly suspect that in a 2 day format all that would happen would be twice as much stuff would be crammed in exacerbating the problem and just adding to my frustration!

Am I complaining?  Hell no.

The event was (to all intents and purposes) free to attend and provided a great opportunity to combine catching up with old friends and acquaintances, networking with new folks and putting flesh and blood faces to Twitter posts all whilst learning more about the most addictive narcotic in Microsoft’s medicine cabinet; SharePoint.

In fact if I have 1 complaint it would be a more general statement about the SharePoint “circuit” which seems to have reached saturation with the same faces speaking across the globe.  Is nobody new stepping up to be counted or is there a conspiracy of an elite club of SharePoint “rock stars” freezing out the rest of the presenting world?  Who knows, but as somebody who has been in and around the SharePoint world for many years now, it surely must be time for some new faces to emerge from the shadows.

It was refreshing to see Veronique Palmer (a new face from South Africa with a light-hearted and frank approach to Governance), Symon Garfield (one to watch from my old firm) and the charming Dave Coleman and Mike Herrity (educators turned techno-entrepreneurs) amongst the familiar faces, I hope a slow influx of newer faces continues…

Will I attend next year?  Assuming I can get a seat, I’ll be there; you never know, I might even have re-emerged from the shadows by then and be on the other side of the PowerPoint deck…

My overall view? HIT!

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