Southern California in mid-January… who doesn’t want that? And a day full of SharePoint learning on top of that – and beer with friends afterward… can’t be beat!
We were looking for something to do during January that wasn’t too far away from northern California where we spent November and December, because we need to be there in early February for some appointments. I read about SharePoint Saturday coming up in San Diego on January 13, so that seemed as good an excuse as any to spend some time in the sun. I contacted some of the organizers who I know, and was able to fill in a speaking slot that had opened up. We arrived in San Diego on the 6th, and got an Airbnb about 2 miles from the SPS venue. This is our first time ever in southern California, and we’re enjoying it so far!
The speaker dinner on Friday night was at the oceanside clifftop home of a local SharePoint person, which was fantastic! Great taco bar, generous margaritas, and a full house of speakers and +1s.
On Saturday, the event was held at the San Marcos campus of Cal U, in the Student Union – a fairly new, LEED-gold certified building. I understand there were around 200 attendees, which is a nice number, and the whole event was very well organized – kudos to the SPSSD committee! Session rooms were nice, all the A/V worked as far as I could see, the range of sessions was very good, and there were lots of great raffle prizes.
The speaker lounge was the best I’ve ever seen: it was a student lounge on the top floor, so it was fitted out with foosball, pool tables, video games, couches, and TVs. And! It extended onto a rooftop terrace with more couches and tables in the lovely 85-degree sun.
The keynote to kick off the event at 8:30am was Stephen Rose, Senior Product Manager on the OneDrive team at Microsoft. He showed off a lot of the more recent feature updates to OneDrive for Business, and he also announced that the Files Restore feature that was announced at Ignite in September will be going live by the end of January. This article about Files Restore was published today, in conjunction with today’s message in the Office 365 Admin Center, but the functionality isn’t yet live. Judging by the number of tweets and retweets of that announcement on Saturday, it’s a popular ask.
After the keynote, I sat in on Galen Keene‘s informative session about PowerApps. PowerApps is one of my favorite things, as you know, and I present sessions on it myself, but I always learn something new every time I see a webinar or presentation. This was an introductory session, where Galen explained some PowerApps basics, showed how it can be used to customize the SharePoint forms on a list, and demonstrated some PowerApps work he’s done for a client.
Next, I went to Serge Tremblay‘s session full of advice on a successful implementation of Microsoft Teams. He demonstrated a number of the Teams features, and listed a lot of user adoption tips based on his experience with clients.
The lunch break was a variety of boxed lunches – sandwiches, chips, cookie, that sort of thing. I had my lunch up on the rooftop terrace, with Susan Lennon, one of the SharePoint Saturday founders, who I was pleasantly surprised to find volunteering here! I really enjoyed chatting about the SharePoint community with her and Nedra Allmond 🙂
After lunch, I chose to go to Liz Sundet‘s session about making your intranet go from Good to Great. Lots of awesome tips – “great” tips, even 😉
I spent the next time slot in the speaker lounge making sure my slides and demos were ready to go. Though I did take a break to play with the VR setup Joel brought with him – pretty cool, though I was too weak to tear off the robot’s arm 😀
My session was the same one I’ve presented recently in Baltimore and Cambridge: an introduction to Microsoft Flow. But of course, each time there are lots of new features, so I always update my screenshots, and change out my demos to show off cool new things. This time, my demos were:
- Save email attachments in a SharePoint library (demonstrating creating a Flow from a template)
- Create a Microsoft To-Do task when I’m @mentioned in an email
- Use the Flow Launch Panel, Modern Approvals, and Run-Only Users to submit a draft for approval and then move it to another folder if approved
- Click a flic physical button to record location, temperature and humidity in a SharePoint list, and then map it with PowerBI. A repeat from Cambridge, but with California clicks. Northern California is cooler and damper than Southern California – surprise! 🙂
I got some good questions during the session, and a few more afterward, along with positive feedback, which always makes my day! My slides are available on SlideShare.
I was in the final session time slot, but after that came an hour of TED-style talks themed around the workplace of the future, which was a pretty cool idea. We heard from Joel Oleson about how VR and AR could be used at work, Paul Swider brought us up to speed on enterprise blockchain concepts, Vlad Catrinescu reminded us that future tech from movies and TV shows is now here (including a video clip of the first time KITT talked in Knight Rider), and Liz Sundet went device-free to have real conversations about technology.
Then came raffle drawings, and then one of my favorite parts of any SharePoint Saturday, the SharePint! It was within walking distance, always a good thing, at the Urge Gastropub, which had quite a nice taplist including their own label and many guest beers. There were some app plates as well, brought out to the tables in the entire patio section that was reserved for us. This was the best-attended SharePint I’ve seen in a while – I’d guess maybe half of the attendees were there, along with (of course) all of the speakers. It was especially nice chatting with some people who were in my session. And then eventually there was a post-SharePint outing to a couple of dance clubs in Encinitas – a fun group as always!
In summary: This is one of the premier SharePoint Saturday events, to my mind. Between the location, the organization, and the people, you can’t ask for more. In the words of the SPS San Diego shirts…