I almost didn’t post a “Year In Review” blog. I mean, why should you guys care about what I did, what was important to me, what made me shed a tear? I’m hardly so important that it matters to anyone but myself… But then I realized, before I know it I’ll be old and senile and will have forgotten what an awesome year 2012 was and if I don’t write it down then I’ll forget.
Remember, one of the main reasons to blog is so you can remember what you did.
So, wow, 2012 was a tremendous year on many fronts. Unfortunately I can’t name them all, but let me hit on some of the highlights:
Actually, I wanted to start with an apology and my low point for the year. I had such a busy year that I was really bad about blogging and replying to blog comments. I do apologize for that and I will endeavor to make time for you guys and add more value. I do greatly appreciate everyone who cares to read my ramblings.
If my math is correct I spoke at 13 conferences and events in 2012. I won’t bore you (or future me) with too many details about each, but definitely wanted to hit on some of the highlights:
I had the honor and privilege to speak at several SharePoint Saturdays including New Orleans, Twin Cities (twice), Baltimore, and St. Louis. I wish I had the time and budget to speak at more of these great events as there is not a better way to get plugged into the community, meet some great people, and learn about SharePoint all for free.
The organizers of SharePoint Cincy asked me to speak at their event last year. I’m guessing my most excellent friend Sean McDonough told them lies and half-truths to get me in, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. It was a great local conference and I hope I get to speak at it again.
The Experts Conference (TEC)
Quest/Dell organized a tremendous event in San Diego called The Experts Conference. Lots of deep dive sessions and great Quest/Dell people including Michelle Fallon, Susan Roper, and Chris McNulty. Not sure if Dell will keep TEC going this year or not, but definitely a good conference if you want to go deep.
One of my favorite conferences continues to to be SPTechCon. David Rubenstein and company just keeping making this conference bigger and better each year and with some of the worlds best SharePoint brains and premium locations like downtown Boston and downtown San Francisco, how can you NOT want to go and spend a few days? If you’ve never attended an SPTechCon, I highly suggest you go this year… rumor has it that you can even get a discount when registering if you use the code “RACKLEY”.
SharePoint Saturday Ozarks
After two previous SharePoint Saturday Ozarks events in Harrison, AR I figured it was time to up the ante and move the whole thing to a resort on Branson, MO. This year I pulled out all the stops and called in every favor I had to get the most awesome sponsors, the best speakers, and even Rob Foster’s band “This Modern Station” to come up and play for SharePint. It was… exhausting… but amazing. I could never thank enough those people who gave up their time and talents to speak and help make this event as much fun as it was. Thank you, thank you, thank you speakers and sponsors.
SharePoint Conference (SPC)
So, what could POSSIBLY top SharePoint Saturday Ozarks you might ask? How about speaking at THE Microsoft SharePoint Conference with one of your best friends during a product launch year? oh… and in Vegas baby!
Thanks to some arm twisting and a few good words as well as scoring well enough in Anaheim in 2011, Microsoft gave Eric Harlan and I the stage one more time for SPC12 in Las Vegas. It was by far one of the most fun sessions I’ve ever presented. We had a great crowd and only a couple of reported injuries. Eric and I were rewarded by our efforts with a pretty decent speaking score as well. Hopefully, you will see us presenting at SPC again soon.
If that wasn’t enough, I was also asked to be part of the SharePoint Conference TV panel discussing the SharePoint Community AND I was asked to be on the new Community Leadership Board started by Microsoft and spearheaded by Karuana Gatimu (more on that soon)
Did I mention SharePoint people in Vegas? I met a lot of new folks, hung out with some dear friends, and was so ready to come home when it was all over.
OH! and how could I possibly forget Dell and the PURPLE SKITTLES!!! (thanks again Michelle, I’m out by the way)
SPC was most definitely the highlight of the year (and decade?) for sure…
Why on earth would training be a highlight of my year? Well, let’s see, a week in Boston cramming my head full of SharePoint by day and then eating Italian and watching the Red Sox at night? Yeah, that was a great trip and it’s always a good idea to sharpen those skills even if you think you know it all. You can check out my thought’s on Critical Path Training and their shifty-eyed instructor Andrew Connell: Fill The Gaps–Why every developer should attend a deep dive training course
How do I top a week in Boston? How about a week in the UK with Steve Smith and the crew at Combined Knowledge? I spent a week tearing into SharePoint 2013 with some of the smartest guys I’ve ever met. These guys really know their stuff and some of the training tools Combined Knowledge offers are very cool. You’ll find that there’s a documented way things are supposed to work, and then there’s the way they ACTUALLY work. I watched Steve Smith and Ben Curry dig into Workflow, the App Store, Search, and all the innards of SharePoint 2013 to find out what it really takes to make SharePoint 2013 work and perform well. It was a great week of learning, growing, and finally eating some decent Indian food! It was brilliant really.
This year I made the long anticipated jump and joined the incredible guys over at Summit 7 Systems as a Solutions Architect. I first learned about Summit 7 Systems years ago when my good friend Lori Gowin joined their team. I took a look at their website and read their Mission, Purpose, and Values. I remember sending an email to Scott Edwards telling him that if this is really what they stood for, then I wanted to work there someday.
I had been in communication with Scott and Ben Curry ever since then and the timing finally worked out for me to come on board. It’s really great to be part of such a stellar team of professionals who really know their stuff. It’s hard to describe the feeling of finally being part of a well rounded team that you can reach into whenever you have a question and finally working for a company that “gets” SharePoint. It kinda makes me want to work for them for free… eh… no… not really.. forget I said that… but I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful team.
I don’t possibly see how 2013 can top 2012, but it’s already off to a great start. In addition to speaking at SharePoint Saturday St. Louis next weekend, SharePoint Saturday Austin in March, and SPTechCon in March, I will also be speaking at my first international conference in the UK in April. If you talk to anyone who has ever attended, The SharePoint Evolution Conference is by far one best in the world. I’m so grateful to Steve Smith for giving me this opportunity and look forward to seeing all of you guys on the other side of the pond!
So, Yeah, 2012 was a full year where I met some great people, made some new friends, and learned some valuable lessons. I may even look back and see it as the peak year in my career. Not a bad way to peak IMO, all I know is I’ll continue to enjoy the ride while it lasts, bust my butt to add value and not noise, and maybe stir a few pots a long the way. Here’s to 2013! May it contain many blessings for each and every one of you guys! Cheers!