Allow me to let you in on a little secret:  when Microsoft employees attend Microsoft conferences, we are often learning just as much as everyone else.  The company is just too big, and we’re all just too busy, to really keep tabs on everything that’s going on, even with our immediate partner teams.

Last week’s SharePoint conference in Vegas was no exception, and was in fact the most eye-opening yet for me.  The moments where I sat/stood there thinking “Really?  We have that now?” really stood out this time.

So…  5 Things the ‘Pro Wants You to Know (About the Show)

#1 – SharePoint is suddenly HUGE

Where did this come from?  It wasn’t long ago that Microsoft teams were skeptical of betting on SharePoint – “it’s still new, are customers really adopting it,” etc.  Even while working on a team that was betting heavily on SharePoint, I must have fallen asleep, because WOW!

I’ve heard attendance numbers ranging from 6,000 to 9,000, and I’d believe anything in that range.  Wall to wall people (think:  techie Mardi Gras).  Quarter-mile hikes between sessions.  Sold out – even I had to show up without a reserved spot, and pull a major Houdini to get in just to staff the PowerPivot booth.  Row after row of booths in the exhibit hall, some of which had no immediately obvious connection to SharePoint.  That told me something:  SharePoint is now a platform and a center of gravity in the business world.  This felt a lot like the PDC I attended in 1998, when Windows was still the focus of basically all commercial software.

Oh, and there’s even a real-life SharePoint fairy now!

SharePoint Fairy

(I didn’t meet her – SharePoint fairies are intimidating! – but I hear she’s the marketing director for one of the vendors at the show.  Different fairy outfit each day, and walking around in those shoes can’t be comfy.  My feet and legs were hurting each night, and I wore Pumas most days.  Plus she had the guts to carry this off for a full week, smiling and outgoing all the time.  SharePoint Fairy, we salute you!)

Anyway, if you’re like me and have been snoozing on this one, here’s some advice:  investigate SharePoint.  Think about what it would mean to translate your apps/solutions/etc.  The customers are ahead of us this time.

Coming up:  Items Two thru Five