Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Viva La SPC14!

In a few days, I'll be heading to Las Vegas for two conferences. First, I'll be attending the K2 User Conference at the Hard Rock Hotel on March 1 and 2. Then, I'll head over to the Venetian for the SharePoint Conference 2014. Both conferences will provide more knowledge than my brain can handle, but here's a brief look at what I'm looking forward to the most.
The K2 user conference is sold out. Thus, I expect to meet a lot of K2 users. Since I have not personally used K2 yet, I hope to learn how they are using K2, as well as picking up some general tips and best practices. I'm most excited about the Fast Forms session on Saturday, where I'll see how to build forms using K2. On Sunday, I'm looking forward to the Fast Workflow session, where I'll see, for the second time ever, how to build a K2 workflow. I don't expect to be a K2 expert at the end of the K2 user conference, but I do hope that I'll have a broader knowledge of K2 products.

The SharePoint Conference kicks off Sunday evening with a welcome reception. I anticipate that I'll see quite a few people I met at various SharePoint Saturday events last year. Many of them are SPC14 speakers, and I wish them well!

Monday begins with the keynote speeches, most notably (or infamously?) the Bill Clinton keynote. If Al Gore invented the Internet, then Bill Clinton invented SharePoint, right? I'll be sure to NOT wear a blue dress.

Once the breakout sessions start Monday afternoon, I'm going to be torn between the business (end) user track and the IT Pro track. To temporarily satisfy my dual personalities (I'm a Gemini), I have added two tracks to most time slots. When it's time to go to a session, I'll decide which one strikes my fancy at that particular moment. If I change my mind 10 minutes into the session, I'll know what my alternate choice was. Let's just hope they're located in close proximity. (If they're not, then I'll be breaking in my new shoes and gaining additional Fitbit steps.)

Are you going to the session on the retirement of InfoPath? I predict that this will be the most attended session of the entire conference (excluding keynotes). I'm thinking about going to a different session for a couple of reasons. First, everyone will be talking about what was announced during the session. Therefore, I can get all of the information second hand. Additionally, the session materials (and probably a recording of the session) will be available online after the conference. So I will have yet another opportunity to find out what the replacement for InfoPath is...first hand this time!

One way I plan to meet new people is to attend the two Women in SharePoint events. First, there will be an informal gathering at Sunday night's welcome reception. Then, on Wednesday, is the official Women in SharePoint lunch. (On MySPC, it's called Women in Technology Lunch.) The all-star panel includes Cathy Dew, Lori Gowin, Naomi Moneypenny, Laura Rogers, and Jennifer Mason. These ladies are sure to have some great stories and encouraging advice. If you're a woman in SharePoint, you should join us! Just put the session on your schedule. There's no extra fee to attend.

Another networking opportunity that isn't on the official schedule is the Netcast Hooligans breakfast on Wednesday. This is your chance to meet and dine with Todd Klindt, author, Netcast host, and SharePoint administrator extraordinaire. (Don't let his session on load testing with Visual Studio fool you into thinking he's a developer!)

If you're staying in Vegas Thursday night, be sure to register for and attend #ShareHofbrau. This is an annual, unofficial post-SPC dinner held at Hofbrau and organized by Corey Roth. I'll unfortunately miss this fantastic event because I'll be on a plane headed back to Houston.

For more ideas on what to expect at the SharePoint Conference, check out these blogs.
If you have a Twitter account, I suggest you save a search for #spc14 and follow @spconf, @spcpartypatrol, and @SharePointMadam. Yes, that last one is me. I'll be tweeting my SharePoint Conference experience throughout the days...and nights.

Those are my thoughts on SharePoint Conference 2014. Now it's time to pack. Wish me luck!