SharePoint Conference 2009: Recap

Wow! What a conference it has been. I am was at Las Vegas airport, returning back to Brisbane from Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009, when I started writing this post. It has taken me a while to get it done.

It has been a great conference with around 8000 people at the conference from over 43 countries! The main focus of this conference was the next version of SharePoint – 2010. It was finally showcased with the Beta2 build at the keynote and subsequent sessions. This post marks the beginning of a series of recap posts of my time at the conference, which far by was the best one I have attended till date.

I did intend to write this as days went by during the conference, but the evening events and networking with other SharePoint geeks took precedence. This series, although, quite late, means a lot to mean, personally, since I will relive the experience again whilst writing. It is going to be a long one, but I want to put down my experience in black and white, as it means a lot to me having self funded this complete trip! Read on … it gets personal …

Logistics

I am very committed to SharePoint (ask my family) and this was going to be my chance to reach out and meet fellow SharePoint Nation citizens, with whom I have been communicating in SharePoint space and only avatars to go by.

So, I bit the bullet, postponed my Lasik Eye Surgery trading it for SharePoint Conference 2009 pass and the works to be in Las Vegas.

Let me tell you, it was more then worth my Lasik Eye Surgery!

I woke up at 0300 hours on Oct 18 2009 (Australian Eastern Standard Time), to catch the 0700 hours flight to Sydney from Brisbane Domestic Terminal. I could hardly sleep that night! Excitement or the fear of missing my flight – don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine on that! Last minute packing of my gear for the conference included the following

  • Business Cards
  • Laptop with travel adaptor
  • iPhone
  • Zune
  • Windows Mobile
  • USB extensions
  • Nikon D-40 SLR
  • Passport

At 0400 hours I called for the cab, expecting that due to shift change of the cabbies at that hour on Sunday A.M, there will be some waiting for me. That was not to be. The cab arrived in 5 minutes! Cool! I was on my way to the airport!

Bags checked in, pulled up for (random) security check – nothing new there. Happens all the time! On board Virgin Blue flight, all I did was sleep with Zune music overriding any other news, announcements and the usual chatter you would expect to here on the flights! Safe landings in Sydney, transfer to International Terminal, bags checked in again and then nothing to do as such for next 5 hours other then have lunch and wait to board the flight to Los Angeles. Fast forward 5 hours … now on board the United Airlines flight to Los Angles. I knew lunch would not be edible and how right I was! Why did I even bother disturbing my own slumber! Any ways, it was a long flight and I didn’t sleep well. Again I suppose this was more so the excitement to get to the conference, then all the noise around me.

Day 0

Safe landings in Los Angeles, but the queue at the immigration counters was devastating, especially after 14 hours non-stop flight. I was out of immigration in under an hour! Since this was the first port of entry into United States, I (and other pax) had to collect our bags, go through Customs and then hand over our bags to United Airlines again. All done and dusted, back in queue for security check. Thankfully I did not have to go through the hassles of terminal transfers here, unlike Sydney. Queue at security check point was no consolation though, took me an hour to get past and make my way to the boarding gate. All done and on board the flight to Las Vegas. I did manage to sleep all the way through to Las Vegas, no surprises there!

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At Las Vegas airport, they had free Wi-Fi (thank you Google), that was so much appreciated since I could call up my family using Skype whilst waiting for fellow SharePoint Tweeps – Mark Rackley (@mrackley), Isaac Stith (@MrIsaac) and Kanwal Khipple (@sharepointbuzz) This was the start of SharePoint Conference for me! Meeting fellow SharePoint Tweeps for the first time in person.

The four of us headed to the car rentals, where Mark Rackley hired a car and then I suggested that we do the Conference registration first before the hotel check-in. It so happens that we were wise in doing so, because at 5:30 PM when we reached the conference venue, it was shockers! I have never seen such a long queue for registration at any event!

See for your self!

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 DSC_8665 (Nikon D-40)

 

We met @jthake and few other Aussies – @mrhodes, Peter Sullivan, James Milne. I also met  Joel Oleson at the registration desk. Once the meet and greet was done, we headed to the Welcome Reception where we met quite a few people.

We exited the welcome reception to go to #ShareIndian – which was jointly organised by @meetdux, myself and @eusp. Dinner was ok at Origin India, but the get together with fellow SharePoint tweeps (friends on Twitter) that mattered. I met Michael Noel(@michaeltnoel), Joel Oleson(@joeloleson), Mike Watson(@mikewat), Nick Hadlee(@nickhadlee), MO(@muhanado), Hersh Ajgaonkar, Kanwal Khipple, Meet Dux, Mike Herrity and few others. In all we were about
50, which in my opinion is a great number!DSC_8670

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After dinner it was time to go back and catch up on some sleep!

Jet Lag? What’s that!

I don’t travel a lot so not sure if this will suit everyone or not; but I tune my mind that controls the body that it’s time to sleep 🙂 Damn that jet lag! As soon as the flight takes off, I change the time on my wrist watch and I am very excited to get to the destination and visualize what it must be like there at that time! That’s just me and it helps since I don’t sleep before my flights or if it’s early morning flight, I make sure I am exhausted by the time I am seated! Eat well before the flight (since being a vegetarian, food is always an issue when not at home) and then have a wine and zzzz. Ensures that when I have reached my destination, I am ready 😉

That’s my theory.

In days to follow, I will continue my SharePoint Conference experience!