In 7 days Microsoft is bringing me to Las Vegas for the third time. From 1 to 6 March around 10.000 people will be visiting The Venetian for the Microsoft SharePoint 2014 Conference. Basically this means 5 days of technical sessions, drinks, conversations, meet-ups, more drinks, debates, American food, Q&A’s and Parties.
Some people might know I have been a SharePoint evangelist since the day I got my hands on the SharePoint 2001 beta. Although SharePoint 2001 had some serious limitations, it still was a much better solution compared to the tools I had been using in the previous years (combining Microsoft Site Server 3.0 with Outlook Web Access 5.5 :).
My first Microsoft SharePoint Conference was in 2002 with about 100 people in a Hotel at Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam). It was an one day conference and if I remember correctly, Mike Fitzmaurice and a marketing guy were the only speakers.
My second SharePoint conference was the ‘European SharePoint 2003 Conference’ organized by Microsoft in Amsterdam. If my brain functions properly it must have been a two day conference, and after a keynote it had 2 or 3 parallel tracks, Mike Fitzmaurice did most of the important sessions and the event was visited by 200-300 people.
With SharePoint 2003 (and WSS 3.0) the product really started the make waves. The product got picked-up by many IT professionals since Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 was an easy (and free) add-on to Windows Server 2003 that provided some useful collaboration tools.
Microsoft’s last and biggest European SharePoint conference was held in February 2007 (with the introduction of SharePoint 2007). The conference took 3 days and it had more than 50 sessions. The conference must have had around 2000 visitors. A lot of people I knew from the Dutch ‘SharePoint Scene’ were there and we had loads of fun during the evenings. But this was probably the first conference were I also made a lot of international friends. Here are some photo’s of the conference which I found on the net. During this conference I fully realised how big SharePoint had become…
When SharePoint (and Office) 2010 beta was about to launch, The only official Microsoft Conference was held in Las Vegas. The day I heard about the conference, I knew I had to be there. I’m not going to write much about the 8 days I had in Vegas (October 2009), but I can tell you it was a week I will never forget! For now, there’s only one picture I like to share and here are many more from other people if you’re interested.
I can be very short about the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 (which was in Los Angeles). I had a ticket, a hotel and there was a seat in the airplane, but I wasn’t there…. My wife was almost 8 months pregnant, and the day before I was planning to leave she had ‘false labour’ pains. You can images stepping into a plane didn’t feel right, so I missed that one….
Then there was the SharePoint Conference in 2012…. again this was truly epic! I went together with a good friend and again (just like SPC09) I could write a book about all the things that happened that week. Here are some random pícture from Flickr (somehow Christian Buckley seems to on all Flickr photos).
In between the Microsoft conferences I also visited most of the ‘SharePoint Connections’ conferences in Amsterdam, organised by the good folks of NC Communications. These are 2 days conferences to get some solid knowledge and meet-up with Dutch and European friends. In 2012 (a week after SPC12) I did a session on ‘How to create SharePoint 2013 Killer Apps’ during this conference.
So, that history….
While writing this blog another day has ended, and in just 6 days I will be flying to Las Vegas for the third time. I have always loved speaking with other “collaboration and productivity software” enthusiasts and one of the best places in the world for sharing knowledge and experiences is during a Microsoft SharePoint Conference!
I hope to see you there!