SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities recap

Last Saturday (April 9th) was our third SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event. It was fabulous! The event involved:

7 months of planning
16 sponsors
20 sessions; 2 half-day deep dives
260+ attendees
50 gallons of coffee served

We started off Friday afternoon with setup at Normandale Community College. We had an oustanding team, and managed to get everything ready in record time! Thanks to Colleen Haviland, Mary Neumann, Angela Spores, Cyndi & Irene Kesler, Wes Preston, Raymond Mitchell, Cheryl Lesser, Don Donais and Chaitanya Khaladkar for all your help.

Next up, speaker dinner at Tavern On France. Was great to get the chance to meet some new folks, including Troy Ronning, Sean McDonough, Jason Trent and Carlos Valcarcel. Had a great dinner, hilarious conversation with Wes Preston, Raymond Mitchell et. al. and a to-die-for piece of chocolate cake.

We stayed after the speaker dinner for SharePint. We’ve never had the SharePint on the night before the event, but attendance was great. We had 25-30 attendees drop by (including Johnny Harbieh, Becka Armagost, Fred Baer, Jennifer Devens & Nick Giuliano) to kick things off. By far, the best SharePint we’ve had at SPSTC. Look for us to continue the Friday night trend on that in the future.

Day-of event, the planning committee was on-site at 7 am. The vendor area was humming by 7:30, and by 8:15 attendees were streaming in. We had 6-7 people covering registration, but the people kept coming! We ran out of attendees t-shirts by 8:45 am and were thrilled to smash our earlier attendance records! In October 2010 we had 150 attendees. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve grown to the 300 attendee mark.

We kicked off the day with the Welcome session and the top 10 list why SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities rocks. Here it is:

10. We have a cool hashtag – #spstc

9. We have 30 hours of presentations by 20 speakers. Sorry, though, there’s no session on splitting yourself like an amoeba. You can only go to 1 session at a time.

8. We’ve doubled our previous record for attendees. (This means even more people for you to follow on Twitter!)

7. Fitness is no longer a part of SharePoint Saturday. You don’t have to walk miles from the parking lot to the sessions.

6. Free food! With healthy choices. But don’t panic, we still have unhealthy choices.

5. Sponsors! Sponsors! Sponsors! Stop by their booth and say, “Thanks for the free event.”

4. We’ll track down presentations for you and upload them to our SharePoint site.

3. You don’t have to go outside to get to any of the sessions. (Inside joke for any of you that attended SPSTC at the University of Minnesota.)

2. You don’t have to fight Gopher fans (or take out a second mortgage) to get a parking spot.

1. You can win a Kinect! And we’ll even give you the Xbox to go with it.

Once we kicked things off, the day flew by. Attendees flooded the session rooms and visited the vendor booths. Lunch included networking and a chance to play the Kinect. My session, “I need some ROI…but I have no idea where to begin!” provided a great opportunity to get to know attendees (and their organizations) a bit better.

We finished off the day with a wrap/giveaway party. We had a bunch of Best Buy gift cards, educational books/DVDs, SharePoint Saturday shirts, an iPod shuffle and the Xbox/Kinect. Congrats to all the winners!

After the event was over, a few of us went to Khan’s Mongolian Barbeque. A perfect way to sum up the weekend. Am looking forward to the next SharePoint Saturday–after a bit of rest.

A couple of final notes:

I want to thank my volunteer team for all their help in making this event a grand success. We couldn’t do it without you!

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