Saturday, January 22, 2011


What I love about the SharePoint community, is there are always events like SPSEMEA taking place.  Although the time did play a factor, I tried to wake up bright-eyed and bushy tailed.  When I hopped on, I caught the end of the demo: Introduction to Business Connectivity Services.  Brett Lonsdale was on his game and I could tell I have a lot to look at in this area.  You have to remember that, the time here was around 5:30 a.m., so I was still in a bit of a Saturday Haze…  Next up: SharePoint and jQuery - What I Wish I Would Have Known a Year Ago by Mark Rackley (@mrackley).  This session had a lot of WOW factor.  I absolutely loved seeing the demos and since I’ll be working @ Juniper-Strategy next week, I’m sure I’m going to be shown how to do these things. Smile  I wanted to catch Jim Bob’s demo (@jbhoward), but there were some technical difficulties.  I did catch the first half, but I really would love to watch the video of that!  About 30 minutes until my demo, so I very carefully walked through the solution again.  Since this was my first public demo of my skills, I wanted to make sure everything worked.  Without a working demo, my session would have been doomed.


Next up: Matt Bramer (gulp)… I have to admit, I was a bit nervous.Sick smile My demo slot was aligned right along with some of the highest caliber SharePoint folks; Marc D. Anderson (@sympmarc), Ruven Gotz (@ruveng), Muhammed Nabil (@Muhammed_Nabil).  I had big shoes to fill…  My new boss was watching, so there was a bit of added pressure.  Luckily, I had the proper amount of time to put my demo together.  Surprisingly, there didn’t seem to be much of a lag and my audio didn’t break at all.  Cheers to the Demo Gods! 

I received a lot of positive feedback in Twitter during the whole demo.  That helped out to calm the nerves.  Hopefully, the nerves didn’t show…  I promised to upload my slides and code samples.  I’ve also added a site template of the demo.  Feel free to grab all of the necessary files here: SPSEMEA – Create a Document Dashboard.  I’ll also update this post when the video is rendered and available for download.  Mark Miller said it should be about 2 weeks.

Next year?

We’ll see…  I’m sure I’m going to be blasted with knowledge while working at Juniper-Strategy.  There very well may be some interest for end-users in what I have to offer.  I’d love to do it again, so till next time.  Many thanks to all of the sponsors and moderators of this event.  I tried to get up at 2 a.m. for the whole she-bang, but I couldn’t.  Kudos to everyone that put this amazing event together!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I’ll be speaking @ SPSEMEA

Live Online SharePoint Saturday EMEA is back on January 22nd, 2011. This is the second annual SPSEMEA and promises to be a huge event with over 30 sessions, 4 simultaneous Live Meeting Channels and a public text chat room open to participants and speakers.

Registration for SPSEMEA begins on January 11 and is free to the global SharePoint Community. There are over 30 SharePoint Evangelists, including 10 SharePoint MVPs, from around the world providing content you would normally only see at a paid SharePoint Conference. Tracks are set for SharePoint End Users and Business Managers on topics for "How We Did It: Real World Case Studies", "No Code/Assembly Solutions", "SharePoint Interface Branding", and "SharePoint for Business". The sessions will be recorded and made available two weeks after the event.

32PiecesOfFlairLast year was terrific and what I learned was invaluable.  This is a *free* event, so please sign up!  Look over the list of sessions and plan your day accordingly.  Of course, if you want to attend mine, I’d be very happy!  I’ll be showing off the series of blog posts that I put together:  I’ll be adding some flair, not a full 32 pieces, but hopefully enough to get some HS’s!

I have to give thanks to all of the great people putting this event together.  Without them, this simply would not happen.

SPSEMEA Organizing Team

Mark Miller (@eusp), United States
Toni Frankola (@ToniFrankola), Croatia
Isaac Stith (@MrIsaac), United States
Ayman El-Hattab (@aymanelhattab), Egypt

Thanks guys!

I have changed my stars…

Throughout my career, I’ve been afforded some exceptional opportunities.  Most people believe you create your own opportunities, however, I believe you need a little bit of luck as well.  A classic example is right after graduating college, I became the Domain Admin for a $70 mil/yr. company Denier Electric.  Who else has done that?  For me it was luck and I’ve been fortunate enough to know it was luck. 

During my tenure at Denier Electric, I continued my education.  I quickly began studying for my MCSA, but right before I was to complete all of the MCSA tests, I installed Search Server Express 2008.  Seemed like a harmless product, who knew it would define my career today?  Instantly, I recognized there was more to this than meets the eye.  Initially, I figured all I had to do was stand it up and move on.  After reading through the documentation on the “Best Practices” for installation, I felt I had that onion peeled.  Off to the next project… NOT SO FAST!  “We need to have our new intranet do something more than search…  Let’s manage projects on our intranet.  Matt can figure it out and do it cheaply.”Just kidding  Little did they know, the extent of my HTML skills was copy and paste…  Up until that point, I really only wrote VBScripts and Batch files.  I guess that translates to Web Programmer, but I digress.  Never the one to turn down a challenge, I grabbed the bull by the horns. 

SharePoint doesn’t like being grabbed by the horns

Until you realize that, then you are going to be constantly at odds with the platform.  There are certain things that SharePoint likes and you simply must live with that.  Shortly after installing, I received my first training session on SharePoint.  SharePoint Experts has a great training course on none other than DVWP’s.  It was during that training that I was talked into using Twitter.  Ironically, Dustin Miller (the guy that talked me into using Twitter) doesn’t even tweet anymore…  Life is funny like that Rolling on the floor laughing.  After being armed with my newly found skills, I set out to build some applications that would benefit every department.  I began to realize, I needed to know more. 

Where do you learn SharePoint?

What made it difficult to learn initially, was the fact there are so many great sources for SharePoint.  I had to find the correct information given my level of knowledge. has been a phenomenal resource for my learning and continues to be the top spot for information.  Then Twitter started making sense.  I kept following blogs of authors that were in the same trenches as me.  Marc Anderson and Michael Greene have guided me the whole way.  Even with all of this guidance, I still needed more.  Enter stage right: USPJA.  This academy has provided me with all of the tools I could possibly ever need to learn SharePoint.  My understanding has skyrocketed since becoming a student within the academy.  If you are looking for world class training, look no further.  If that doesn’t convince you, keep reading…

What’s next for me?

KaizenFalling on my face many times, grabbing SharePoint by the horns, going out of my way to help end-users, 5000 tweets later, has led me to this very moment.  I’m extremely proud, honored, and humbled to announce; Juniper Strategy has extended me an offer to be on their team.  Initially, I’ll be doing a lot of front end development, “Middle Tier”, if you will.  Shortly thereafter, Mark Rackley will expand my VB knowledge into the realm of SharePoint. 

I know I’m definitely entering into the realm of unknown.  I’ve never coded for food before, so I’m very interested in grabbing the bull by the horns again.  I’ll continue to post interesting solutions I find along the way, so we can both continue to learn together.  So here’s a huge THANKS for everyone that has allowed me to grow through the years.  I found this song to be very fitting.  I hope you do too.