Reflections on SharePoint Saturday Bend
Having helped launch several SharePoint Saturday events in the past 2 years, and trying to set the (unofficial) record for having presented at the most SPS events in a calendar year (I believe Becky Isserman holds the record at 15, but I will have at least 16 by end of year), I was looking forward to helping get the SharePoint community energized for the first inaugural event in Bend, Oregon this past weekend. It was a crazy lead up to the event, as it happened right in front of travel plans for the SharePoint Conference in Anaheim (in which I am sitting, waiting for the keynote to begin). But we do what we do because we are passionate about the technology, the community, and the adventure, and SharePoint Saturday Bend was born.
For those who have never been to Bend, it really is an amazing place. You can go hit Wikipedia for demographics if you are so inclined, but its high desert, within Oregon’s expansive volcanic plains, nestled near Mt Bachelor and the Three Sisters. In the summertime its all about fishing and mountain biking. In the winter its all about skiing. For being 3 hours by road of any other metropolitan area (Portland, Eugene), the area is surprisingly modern and new and vibrant. I love the place, and am hoping to take my family back to vacation.
The event planning team consisted of myself, Jason Hamlin (@JasonHamlin), Barb Troyer (@Beezelbarb), and Lynn "Bad Bang Day" Olhausen (@heyzues4), going back to a summer conversation while I was down from Seattle to present at their user group. We new the event would be on the smaller end of the SharePoint Saturday scale, but there was an opportunity to conjoin the event to the tail end of a week of Bend technology events. Every year, IgniteBend and Bend WebCAM combine forces to bring startups/entrepreneurs and digital technology experts, respectively, together for a week-long event. We wanted SharePoint Saturday Bend to be a part of the cycle, and so while our prep time was short, we launched the site and started pulling together a lineup of speakers and sponsors. Thanks again to Central Oregon Community College for providing us with the facilities to make this happen.
While we may have been small, our registration-to-attendance rate was 90%, which is incredibly high. What that means is — people who registered showed up. We had great dialog, good interaction between sponsors and attendees, and a lot of fun. Following the event, we made our way over to Fox’s Billiards for SharePint, where Jason, Barb, Lynn and I were able to take a quick group snapshot. We also walked over to the historic downtown, where the Bend Film Festival was happening, with live music and dancing crowds.
We’re already talking about next year’s event, which we know will be even bigger. Don’t miss it!