Steve, Spencer, Nick, Zoe (et al) and the rest of the CK guys had been planning the conference since last years Best Practices conference and they had done a sterling job. But the effort, thinking, planning and organising over the last 12 months was nothing compared to the 2 days leading up to the conference.
For me, the conference started a while ago, Steve and the guys selected me as a speaker last year, so it’s been a long wait, but well worth it…
With over 30 speakers not able to make it to the UK due to Eyjafjallajokull erupting there were a lot of changes to be made.
I travelled down on Sunday afternoon and headed straight over to the SPEVO 5-a-side Football tournament. Mark great idea really come off and a great time was had by all, big thanks to Mark for organising and ID for sponsoring.
I arrived in the ‘War Room’ late on Sunday afternoon and was met with a sea of laptops, cables, empty coke cans, post-it’s and whiteboards – the guys had been hard at it organising replacement speakers, re-allocating sessions and had just about got Monday’s agenda sorted while also planning out Tuesday.
It was hoped that some of the others would be able to make it for Tuesday and/or Wednesday so, rightly, the priority was Monday.
There were several amazing stories of what people had done in order to get over, the one that stands out for me is that of Tobias Zimmergren. Tobias wasn’t able to get a flight, or train, or boat, or carrier pigeon and so drove the 22hrs from Sweden to London!!
Dinner was a quiet affair, after a few drinks in the bar a few of us heading over to Cardinal Place for an Italian, as usual the conversations ran accross a braod range of topics but with @AndrewWoody, @mikewat, @diegotrashcan, @chris_OBrien, @nathanial and @draken around the table the topic of SharePoint did crop up occasionally ;)
The Keynote was delivered by Steve, Spencer, Brett and Eric and covered the evolution of SharePoint since
Tahoe SPPS2001 through SPS2003 and MOSS2007 up to SharePoint 2010. Seeing 2001 and 2003 again was like seeing an old friend!
After attending the keynote on Monday morning I was head-down rebuilding my demo (my SQL VM was deleted 4 days before the conference!) and helping out the other guys with theirs, there was a really good atmosphere in the speaker room with everyone pulling together – a real ‘blitz’ spirit!
The first day went so smoothly it was hard to tell that it wasn’t the day that was planned! The attendees I spoke to were all impressed with the first day, the evening kicked off with a games night at the conference centre, and then on to #sharepint
The second day kicked off bright and early, literally bright – it was a stunning day in London.
I started my session at 11:45 to a packed room.
Aside from the fire alarm going off (really quite distracting!!!) I thought my session on What does Web2.0 and Social Networking mean to the user went very well, some good audience participation and I’ve had some great feedback from several attendees.
John Anderson (Bamboo) has taken the time to write up and review of my session (read it here: http://community.bamboosolutions.com/blogs/sharepoint-2010/archive/2010/04/21/matt-groves-answers-the-question-what-does-web-2-0-and-social-networking-mean-to-the-user-at-the-sharepoint-2010-evolution-conference.aspx) – thanks John!!!
Managed to dip in to a couple of sessions in the afternoon, my old mate Andrew Woodward (www.21apps.com) did a great job (as usual) of delivering Paul Culmsee’s session on “Wicked problems and SharePoint”.
That night was the official conference party! Steve organised stretch hummer limo’s for the speakers ;)
We certainly travelled in style!!!
We arrived at the Grace bar for dinner and frolics, and had that and more………..
The live band was a guy from one of those X-pop-idol-factor-talent shows backed by Jamiroquai’sband!!!
There was also a Magician! – and if you’ve never seen a magician up close you won’t appreciate how “magical” it really is, seen loads on TV and never been overly impressed, but seeing tricks done right in front of you takes some beating!
He certainly impressed SharePointSara and I ;)
As the night went on (and more beer was consumed) the conversations inevitably included some SharePoint but mainly revolved around the conference, volcano’s and the great job Steve, Zoe and the CK crew had done!
The evening ended when Tobias told me to leave!
(at least that’s what I think it translated as!!!)
The Final day started with the majority of people nursing hangovers ;)
I had (stupidly) agreed to do the first IW slot in the morning with Steve Smith – I must have been drinking when he asked me!
So it was a very early start for me ;)
Our session went well – slides here: http://www.mattgrovesblog.com/2010/04/slides-from-second-session-at-spevo.html
After Steve and I had done our session I could relax a bit (until the Ask The Experts panels at least)…
After the ATE that was it, conference over….
There were a few people who were staying down on Wednesday night and Steve very generously took the remaining speakers (and a few other guests) out for Dinner!
I had a great time at the conference and the way that the speakers pulled together was amazing…
But, the most amazing thing was that the whole conference went off so smoothly, this is testament to Steve, Zoe, Craig and the rest of the Combined Knowledge crew – you deserve every credit for pulling it off! Well done guys!!!!!