Share the Thanks

I am currently flying back to the USA from Amsterdam, where I rounded out my latest European tour. As readers might know, I was in Stockholm last week for SEF 2011. I then conducted a full-day workshop for a group of select SharePoint teams, and spent half a day working with the SharePoint team at one of Sweden’s largest and most well-known corporations.

Friday was spent with a new partner in the Netherlands—one filled with diverse and talented consultants. And Monday was a half day governance round table with more than a dozen representatives of SharePoint implementations from major Dutch companies. I will be sharing stories from all of these meetings later this year—some interesting things came out of them!

Tuesday I launched SharePoint Connections Amsterdam 2011, a classy and vibrant event held just outside of Amsterdam. I was lucky enough to be asked to keynote the event, so I put on my “industry analyst” had and provided my insight into the current state of SharePoint governance.

Governance has become a buzzword and, as such, has become burdened with multiple perspectives and agendas, and has become a word that incorporates concepts of strategic management, governance, and service management.

I tried to bring some structure to the discussion of “What is Governance?” and the attendees’ feedback suggested that the insight was both much needed and appreciated.

It’s clear that we need some more level-headed discussion about governance so that we can take away the buzz and the fear and give enterprises the tools they need to “just do it.” Stay tuned in December as I’ll start tackling that need.

My keynote and three presentations in Amsterdam yesterday marked the end of my insane speaking circuit for 2011. I have one keynote left at SharePoint Saturday Honolulu (actually held on Friday December 2nd), but that’s in my back yard so I don’t feel like it even “counts” because it will be so easy. So there’s a huge sense of relief surging through my body, as well as fatigue—I slept almost 12 hours after my last presentation ended.

About Thanksgiving Day: For our readers outside of the USA who may not be up to speed on this holiday, it started as a celebration of the harvest and there are ties to the initial relationship between the native Americans and the pilgrims who arrived in what they considered the “New World.”

Flash forward several hundred years and the holiday centers around feast, family, and friends. In my opinion, it is the last real holiday, surprisingly untarred by commercialism. For many of us, it’s about spending time with loved ones, sharing a great meal, and being thankful for the people, events, and other gifts of nature and man that surround us.

Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the holiday season in the US. It is followed immediately by crazy commercial pseudo-holidays like Black Friday, typically the busiest shopping day of the year as we walk off our over-fed feet in shops and malls to prepare for Christmas.

Black Friday’s most recent and unusual new tradition is the “early bird special”—extra special shopping deals offered to the first few shoppers. People line up for hours in front of their favorite big box stores and, when the doors open, it’s the US equivalent of the running of the bulls.

The following Monday is now known as Cyber Monday for its high levels of online shopping. Of course, both shopping days are watched closely by the financial markets, and it’s hard to believe that this year’s shopping days will be much to celebrate, given the economic conditions gripping the country.

For me, this weekend is an opportunity to stop sharing SharePoint, for just a few days, and instead to share much-needed time with family and friends in Colorado and in Hawaii.

I will be reflecting on how incredibly grateful I am for the opportunities I’ve had this year, both personal and professional. So allow me to indulge a bit of that gratitude here.

First, I am so lucky to have landed at AvePoint this year. AvePoint is one of the several very classy SharePoint ISVs, with an über-talented team that is a blast to work with. In a draft of this newsletter, I listed the many things I’ve learned from working with each of them, but it became a lengthy tome, so let me just say, to all, “Thanks!”

But a special shout-out goes to my fellow MVPs and partners-in-crime, Jeremy Thake and Randy Williams. It has been an honor and privilege to work with and learn from you!

Among the many things I’ve received from my association with AvePoint is insight into an incredible customer base around the world. In the last 8 months, I’ve visited more than 75 enterprises; I’ve had face-to-face meetings with almost one in ten of global 500 organizations; and I’ve worked with the leadership of the largest SharePoint customers on three continents.

What I’ve learned from those experiences is priceless, and I will continue to try to return that knowledge to my readers and to the attendees of my events.

Thank you to all of the folks who have been willing to share your stories with me, and to trust me to provide input and guidance in your SharePoint Journeys!

And to Penton Media, publishers of SharePoint Pro Magazine, Windows IT Pro Magazine, and producers of the Connections events, thank you as always for a wonderful and fulfilling partnership!

Most of all, I’m grateful to my friends—old and new—and family, who have supported me throughout my insane work and travels. To Keith, Julie & Johnny, thanks for keeping Oluolumau green. To Mom, Dad, Bob and Jax—I’m so grateful to have seen you almost every month this year, despite my work and travel schedule! To Lyman, Keith, Wyatt, Danny, Kevin, Frank, Ric, John, Lee, Asa, Rob, Don, Jack and my dearest Maddie, thanks for making “home” such a great place to return to!

And thank YOU, readers of this column, for tuning in each week. As we spend a day or two reflecting on what we’re grateful for, I think we can all be grateful for health, friends, family, and this incredible wave called SharePoint—riding it together with you is exhilarating indeed!
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