On day 11 of the road trip we are packing up the Exchange Connection 2006 Conference and heading back to the roadster in St. Louis. I consider the bonus SharePoint Track a success, nearly all the session we held were attended by near max crowd. This conference was geared towards an admin-type audience and having near max attendance for our room tells me that SharePoint is finally getting to a critical mass. We expect more and more blogs, web sites and free (or near free) Web Parts in the future.
For myself even better then the actual sessions were those that hung around afterwards to talk shop. Even at attendee’s party as I made the rounds of the blackjack tables – where luckily the chips did not cost me anything – I had interesting conversations about SharePoint with everyone. It was interesting to hear that many attendees either came to the SharePoint sessions or wanted to but had to choose between sessions. I take them at face value that they wanted to be in our sessions – maybe they were just being nice. But for whatever it is worth – that’s my story and I am sticking to it.
As for swag for the trunk I never did find that must have shirt or gadget. I did make the rounds of the expo hall and there were the usual trinkets and magazines. Some booths were doing the “Win an IPod” or “Win an XBox360” and the ultimate raffle was the Harley Davidson bike – hard to do carry-on with that. Probably the best swag out of the conference was the conference shirt which had an abstract painting of the hotel. Looked pretty good for a conference shirt.
Of even more interest to me was the attendees that made comments on what sites and blogs they watch as well as what books are on their shelves. Back when it was SharePoint Portal Server 2001 and Team Services at the few conferences where SPS and TS showed up at there was little discussion on what site, book or blog anyone was watching. Another great sign the we SharePoint people are forming the community.