Posted courtesy of  Christian Buckley on Mon, Apr 04, 2011 @ 11:17 PM

Another successful SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles is in the history books, and I’m back in the Seattle office for a couple days to get some work done around an upcoming release. Next up for me? I’m headed to Axceler headquarters in Boston for a couple days, followed by SharePoint Saturday Boston (#SPSBOS), and a quick hop across the pong for the Best Practices Conference in London. A lot of traveling, but I relish the opportunity to meet with customers, partners, and the community to better understand what is happening out in the field around administration and migration, and to use that feedback to help drive the direction of Axceler. Having a constant dialog with the community helps us improve our products and refine our partner relationships, and I’m grateful to be able to meet with so many of you each month. Axceler was a Gold sponsor, and gave away a Kindle in the event raffle.

What made this past weekend a little bit different is that I was the co-host of the event, working with San Fernando Valley SPUG co-founder Nedra Allmond to put on the LA event. Of course, we didn’t do it alone – we had an amazing committee, including Wahid Saleemi (Avanade), Melissa Layupan (K2), David Constantine (K2), Jamie Aliperti (Axceler), Kevin Marshall (TechAwakening), and Henry Ong (Quest), and a dozen helpers who help manage registration, food setup, the speaker dinner, and the post-event SharePint. These events are truly a community effort, and everything came together for an enjoyable event. I highly recommend that everyone participate in some way when the next SharePoint Saturday rolls through your region.

In addition to giving a 101 session on metadata and taxonomy, I was also asked to moderate a panel event discussing best practices for building out a SharePoint community. The panel included Vancouver SPUG and SharePoint Saturday Vancouver (#SPSVAN) co-host (and newest SharePoint MVP) Michal Pisarek, SharePoint Saturday Redmond (#SPSRedmond) coordinator and Decibel Festival organizer Erica Toelle, international speaker, SharePoint architect and fellow Mt. Doom hiker Michael Doyle, and San Fernando Valley SPUG cofounder and SPSLA committee member Wahid Saleemi. The panel provided some great advice on how people can get involved and build out their individual brand, as well as how to build out community where they stand, within their own company. Pictures from the panel session are online, taken by Ken Lo.

SharePoint Saturday’s are nothing like attending the SharePoint Conference or one of the other major (paid) SharePoint events: the atmosphere is much more casual, and the experts who attend do it purely as a way to give back to the community. They are a great opportunity to ask questions and get to know the names and faces you may know from their blogs and from Twitter. For more information about SharePoint Saturday, and for a listing of upcoming locations (online as well as in-person), please visit