For the first couple of years, January the 1st was always a nervous day despite generally nursing a hangover. There would be some frantic monitoring of the mail box (including the junk mail) until the notification popped up from the MVP Global Administrator congratulating you on being re-awarded for another year. Then in 2017, Microsoft made a number of changes to the program, including updating everyone’s re-award date (We’re not supposed to say renewal!) to be July 1st! Which of course is today, so as before with no exception I was monitoring the mailbox today! And I was very pleased to receive the e-mail with the big blue MVP header on it announcing that I had received the award for the fourth time (Third if we don’t count the free extension in 2017).
And the award came at the tail end of another great community weekend as I had flown back to the UK after attending the most excellently organised SharePoint Saturday Netherlands in Vianen about 30 minutes south of Amsterdam. Due to some logistical challenges with regards to my day job (the one that actually pays me wages!), I had to be on Coventry Friday morning, before dashing down to Heathrow Friday afternoon and jumping on a BA flight to Amsterdam. I have to be honest i think Schipol is one of the biggest airports I have ever walked through.. It’s a long way from the gate to the arrivals lounge!
I was a little later than most of the speakers arriving, so I joined them at a traditional Dutch pancake restaurant, built on top of a working farm, with the dairy cows in their shed just below us through a large window (closed luckily!). The savoury pancakes were awesome and the beer very welcome after my long travels!
The next morning, SPSNL kicked off with a great selection of content across a mixture of Office 365 and Azure technologies. To get a feel for the amazing buzz of the event, takes a look at the hashtag #SPSNL or #SPSNL18 on twitter and you’ll see that people had a really great day. I attended a number of sessions, including a number of the ones that I have selected to be presented at the SharePoint Saturday event that I’m arranging in Cambridge in September (You didn’t know? Go take a look here.)
I presented a session on Identity for Office 365 and Azure to a very engaged audience. I have to say I really enjoyed presenting to the Dutch crowd as they really join in with the session and ask questions (Some nice challenging ones too!). Having presented variations of this session a few times now, this was one of my favourite editions!
The weather for the day was amazing, with temperatures in the late twenties (Celsius) similar to those we experienced at SPS Zurich and ECS in Mainz a few weeks ago, but this time I remembered my shorts (Which is why the picture is cropped!) as it was the first time I ever presented in shorts.. but you’ll have to forgive me it was a very hot day!.
The day was over too briefly for me, but I had the opportunity to attend a few great sessions, catch up with some old friends as well as make some new ones. It never ceases to amaze me what a great community that I have the chance to be a part of. Ever since the first days of attending the User Groups, to my first SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas in 2009, I have always been amazed at the breadth and depth of people involved in SharePoint and Office 365. We have an amazing community that is made up of a very diverse set of individuals that I am very happy to spend time with!
I think a great example of this community spirit showed up as we all returned slightly drunk from the speaker dinner. Maarten from the organisation team told us that there had been a problem with the attendee bags and as a result they were behind and needed a lot of folders filling with Sponsor leaflets, as well as needing the agendas folding for the passes. With drinks in hand, all of the available speakers got stuck in and started filling folders or folding papers. It was a great moment of camaraderie and a brilliant example of just how great the community is.
Unfortunately I had to leave very early Sunday morning , so my SharePint was cut slightly shorter than usual but the trip home was swift and I was able to rush back for a family event that I needed to be at. I came home satisfied and added yet another SharePoint Saturday to the list of ones to make sure that I absolutely definitely submit for again next year!
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