SharePoint Conference 2011 (#SPC11) is coming fast. This promises to be a great conference and I’m excited to see everyone again and meet some new friends. With any conference, it’s always best to be prepared. You want to make sure you bring the right things and get everything done before you step foot on a plane.
Here are some of the things I’ll be packing that might also be useful for you as well:
- Laptop – As a presenter this one is obvious. However as an attendee, you might not want to lug one around. It can be worth it though. You will find that you want some type of computing device so that you can keep up on twitter, follow the latest gossip, and find out about any impromptu #SharePint events that might occur. Maybe even read a few E-mails. As a presenter, I’m also having a colleague bring his laptop as well with my demos loaded on it in the event of an emergency / disaster.
- Netbook / Slate / Tablet / iPad – In lieu of carrying around your heavy laptop, I find carrying my netbook at conferences to be quite handy. I can keep up on twitter, the battery will last me all day. Bring whatever device or combination thereof you prefer, but keeping up on what’s going on at the conference using one of these small devices is much easier than trying to look things up on your phone. You also can use these to fill out session evaluations. There are usually incentives for filling out evaluations so I try to complete each evaluation right before the end of the session so I don’t forget.
- AirCard – The wireless networks at conferences are rarely good. They are jammed with geeks trying to post updates on Twitter and check out what’s happening on Facebook. If you have access to a wireless AirCard bring one. See if your company has any that you can check out temporarily.
- Cash – Just a little (more if you drink a lot :) ). There are a lot of free events but you might go to something before or after the conference and I am not a fan of running tabs at busy restaurants and bars.
- Chargers – I remember when I went to PDC05, I forgot my laptop charger. I was quite bummed. Don’t forget the chargers to your laptop, netbook, iPad, phones, etc.
- Bail Money – The Houston SharePoint Users Group has a running joke about always keeping a stash of bail money around when attending a #SharePint. With past history of SharePoint conferences, maybe it’s not such a bad idea. :)
Some other things you should remember to do before going.
- Set your schedule on My SPC - This will make your SPC organizers happy when it comes to capacity planning. You aren’t required to go to that session you schedule, but it will help you pick from the 10+ sessions going on at any given time slot. Go to My SPC and set your schedule now!
- Create your Bio on My SPC – Whether you are an end user or a SharePoint rock star, take a few minutes to write about yourself. Include where you work if you want along with what you typically do with SharePoint and what you want to get out of the conference. Upload a picture of yourself to make things more personal. Set your My SPC bio now.
- Arrange for Ground Transportation - Don’t forget to arrange for ground transportation. You really don’t need a car once you get to Anaheim, but you do need a way to get there. Taking a Taxi can be quite costly, so I opted to take one of the many available shuttle services from the Airport. It’s relatively inexpensive at $15 each way.
- Create a #SPC11 Search in Twitter – There is no question you want to keep an eye on the activity of the #SPC11 hash tag. You will find out about sessions, events, and it will generally give you an idea of what is happening at the conference.
- Follow @SPConf on Twitter – This is the official twitter account for SPC. This account often posts useful stuff about the conference. I’ve also used it to ask questions or provide general feedback and I’ve had good luck getting a response.
- Learn hash tags for the sessions you are attending – Every session you are attending has an associated hash tag that you can follow. For example, my Search Session is number 364, so the hash tag for it is #SPC364. You can go ahead and save a search for that one now. :) I hear #SPC348 is also a good one!
- Reach out to your local SharePoint User Group – Find out what your local SharePoint User Group is doing while at SPC. Many of them are having meetings or socials. For example, H-SPUG (#HSPUG) is having a happy hour on Sunday night.
- RSVP for Parties – There are a lot of them this year. Many of them require that you RSVP or stop by a booth so be sure and find out before hand. Mark Freeman put together an excellent list.
- Leave space in your bag – Between the conference materials and the vendors you are going to end up with a heap of product information, trinkets, and T-shirts. Make sure you have room in your bag to bring them home. Otherwise you’ll be hand carrying them on the plane or leaving things behind.
That’s my list. I’m sure there are other things to remember. Do you have anything else to add? Leave a comment. This probably goes without saying, but if you are not on twitter, now is the time to join. It’s the best way to keep up with what’s happening at the conference.
I’m also giving two talks at this year’s conference and I would love for you to see them.
- #SPC348 – Extending SharePoint 2010 for your customers and partners will cover everything you wanted to know about creating an Extranet with SharePoint 2010. Although, this topic is nothing new, this is a great talk for people just now looking to consider an extranet for his or her organization.
- #SPC364 – Making the most of Search in SharePoint Online. I am beyond excited about this talk because I get to talk about Search and SharePoint Online in the same talk. You might just be amazed at what you can do with Search in the cloud. I’ve got some great demos built using Silverlight and the Search API that you will want to see whether you want to extend search off-premises or on-premises.
Enough with the shameless plug. :) Get ready and I’ll see you at the conference. You can follow me on twitter @coreyroth.