This was my first time at the European SharePoint Conference, as well as my first time in Ireland (aside from several hours at Dublin airport some years ago). I attended as a sponsor, part of the Lightning Tools booth team, and I was very impressed with the level of organization and the venues for this event.
I had quite a long journey to get to ESPC, as I’m currently in (far) northern California for a couple months. That meant a 7-hour Greyhound bus ride to San Francisco, hanging around the city and airport for 12 hours, and then a 10-hour flight. At least I was able to get a direct flight from SFO to Dublin on Aer Lingus! Upon arriving in Dublin on Sunday, I took a cab to the Airbnb apartment Lightning Tools had booked, met up with the property manager, and did some shopping for essentials (read: Irish craft beer) before the rest of the crew arrived in the early evening (they drove from England so they could haul our rally car simulator).
We walked around Dublin a bit on Monday – saw the Spire, and the pedestrian shopping area – and then set up our booth. We shared the booth with Skybow, and we had a good spot, especially during meal times when some of the food was right in front of us. The exhibit hall ran Tuesday through Thursday, and we were quite busy during all of the between-session and food breaks, talking to existing and potential customers, demoing our products, and having people try to get on our Xbox rally car competition leader board. I had some very good conversations with potential partners, so I felt the conference was very productive from a business standpoint.
The racing game was great fun throughout the conference, with people returning again and again to see how they were doing on our top ten board. It was especially cool that the driver of the e-rally car which Lightning Tools sponsors was at the conference (because he’s a SharePoint guy), so he tried the sim as well (pictured here). We had announced that the leader at the end of the three days would take home the prize of a radio controlled Subaru Impreza. But when it came near the end on Thursday, we had 3 very close contenders, so we decided to have a race-off among the three, with a new track to race on. The race-off drew a crowd, and was quite exciting for everyone!
Wednesday evening was the big conference party, held at the Guinness Storehouse – what an awesome venue for a party! There were unlimited beers and food, and live Irish music and dancing, such fun! Another highlight was a pub crawl on Monday night; there might be a theme here 🙂 I also loved seeing so many of my SharePoint friends (old and new), as always!
Being so busy at the booth, I only attended a couple of sessions… I stopped in at Brett‘s session on SharePoint permissions, which was very well attended and generated a lot of interest, and also went to Adis‘ session about extending PowerApps, which I found quite interesting. The last day was a little quieter, so I made it to the final keynote session, where Vesa Juvonen was joined by several guests to talk about what’s new in the SharePoint development space. See the Lightning Tools recap here..
After a very nice quiet dinner with my Lightning Tools friends on Thursday, they headed out to the ferry early Friday, and I flew out around noon. Same looong trip going back, though during my 7-hour transit in San Francisco I was able to meet up with Michael Noel and his wife for Chinese food and coffees, which was a bonus!
I loved visiting Dublin, and hope to return some day for an extended stay to see more of Ireland!