WOW! What a conference! Despite ash clouds and travel disruptions the Combined Knowledge team led by Steve Smith put on one of the best conferences that I have attended. I was one of the lucky few to get on a Eurostar train from Paris to London on Friday 16th just before the major travel disruptions started. Our original flight was not due to fly till Friday evening from Paris but I was not about to take any chances so we got next available Train tickets straightaway from Paris to London. That was lucky since some of the other speakers were unfortunately left stranded in parts of Europe. AC @andrewconnell) was in Norway trying to get out. Joel, Paul Swider and Michael Noel was stranded in Dubrovnik. Bob Fox’s plane was turned away half way through from US to London. It was chaos.
Steve called a “War Room” session on Saturday (17th) afternoon to figure out and re-schedule sessions since we’d lost most our speakers from the US who were supposed to speak at the conference. Eric Shupps (Eric also has a great post about the conference) was one of the only US based speakers who made along with Mike Watson who is based in Scotland. By Saturday evening we had rescheduled most of Monday and we had speakers from the UK who picked up the extra sessions. I was originally doing only one session but picked up another extra two sessions to help out. It was amazing how people were willing to step up and help where they could. It shows what a great community of SharePoint speakers we have!
By Sunday afternoon we moved to a larger room as we had quite a few people join us and help with taking on sessions. We had Steve Smith leading with Spence Harbar, Neil Hodgkinson, Mirjam van Olst, Mike Watson and Andrew Woody along with a few others join us in the “Situation Room”. Some of the photos are on Flickr and there was a steady stream of twitter updates going on. One of the highlights was Tobias Zimmergren who drove from Sweden to London with Marianne and two others and took the Ferry and Train to get to London!
Key note and Sessions
Steve, Eric, Brett Londsdale and Spence kicked off the conference key note session on Monday morning. Steve showed the evolution of SharePoint from SharePoint Team Services (STS) back in 1999 through to SPS 2001 and then SPS 2003 and SP2007 (MOSS) and finally SP 2010. Each of them added to the keynote on what it was like to develop applications in those days and what it meant to them to be part of the Evolution. Spence showed the famous MCMS “WoodGrove” demo. For some of the attendees it was the first time to see actual live demos on the earlier versions of SharePoint!.
Then it was onto the sessions for the first day. I did a session on WCM for Power Users and how to approach publishing scenarios in the Real World which I will share later on this blog. I also did a session for Planning and Upgrading to SharePoint 2010 which is already on my blog. (See previous post series). Then on the second day I followed this up with a third session which was SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Deep Dive by outlining the upgrade options and doing an actual upgrade with Craig Carpenter of Combined Knowledge.
All attendees were treated to an awesome conference party on Tuesday evening with drinks and evening entertainment. It was a great SharePint party! Last day of the conference I was part of the ask the experts panels for IT Pro and Information Worker tracks. It was a great conference with over 650 attendees and a great line up of speakers who took up the challenge and delivered some great sessions.
Now looking forward to the New Zealand SharePoint Conference in June!