Howszit? Teched Africa Rocked!

Some SharePoint people might come away from Teched and say… meh the content was ok, but those that are honest will say it was way more than the content that made it a rich experience.  Teched this year so far, not only in Africa, but also the U.S. was like meeting up with a friend whose been pregnant for 8-9 months and hoping to see the baby.  It was good seeing the friend, but they hadn’t had the baby yet.  We know SharePoint 2010 disclosure information is due in October.  So we continue to count down the days.  In my sessions I showed small snippets of the 2010 sneak peak videos and continue to encourage all SharePoint fans to check them out if they haven’t.  Richard Riley an old office mate from my MS days remotely performed more than one demo for me this week.  Thanks buddy!


As well you may have heard I’m setup to do a webcast on PREPARING to Upgrade to SharePoint 2010 Today.  Exciting stuff, not to be confused… this session essentially provides a masterful level of guidance based on tools in SP2, the team blog system requirements, links to the sneak peak videos, and a major emphasis on the pre-upgrade checker tool and its reports and output. (No NDA information is revealed in this webcast – period.)

Joel with elephant small


If you haven’t been following my tweets on my adventure through Southern Africa with Eric, I won’t get a chance to include too much of that, but do suffice to say that we had an incredible journey. 


Eric Harlan, principal SharePoint Architect/Consultant got a really good taste of what it’s like to see the world with me.  It was a blast taking him out of his comfort zone on occasion and going into places where neither of us speak a world of Portuguese, animals that would prefer us for breakfast (lion shots and elephant bulls), and days with little concrete plans with God as our guide.  We captured a just few memories with his massive lens and my HD flip, but only we and the charging elephant will remember how close we came to this.

(pictures to come)

You have to check out our first video – SharePoint Wild Boys in Africa a compilation of the big 5 a snippet from the night safari and traditional dancing. It makes more sense when you see the video.  Before we arrived at Teched we 3 nights at Kruger National Park including a night safari, and morning walk to hunt (photo shoot) a pair of white rhinos.  We saw hundreds of elephants, thousands of impala, buffalo, zebra, and many illusive animals like hyenas, lions, rhinos, and dangerous hippos.  After our time at the park we went across the border into Mozambique to Maputo for a night having an adventure we’ll both remember for our lifetimes.  Then an adventure in Swaziland sleeping in traditional huts that look like beehives and doing traditional dancing.  The video captures just a few highlights in HD in only 5 minutes.

I did 5 sessions at Teched Africa below are links that are currently available to the decks on  If you want to use them in your company that’s fine.  If you want to redeliver them, or use any of the slides in your decks please give me a heads up through twitter.  Some of those slides are used with permission from Mike Watson or Paul Culmsee for example, and the right people need credit.

Teched Africa 2009

OFC304 – Demystifying Backup and Restore and Disaster Recovery in SharePoint 2007

OFC401 – SharePoint Foundations & Best Practices to Physical and Information Architecture

OFC301 – 10 Steps to Successful SharePoint Deployments

SharePoint Architects Panel (Chalk Talk) – Joint session Zlatan Dzinic and Eric Harlan, recorded by Hilton (recording to be available soon on the MOSS Show Podcast)

Teched Online – “Twitter and the SharePoint Community” – Joint session with Eric Harlan

I’ve also been uploading my pictures of this adventure to facebook. I’ll likely get up more of the bulk of them to flickr when I get a solid connection and time.  LOL, I wonder when that will happen.

Above: Elephant poo.  A featured item in a sack (shellacked elephant poo) that resulted in a webcam being given away.  Can you believe the first official answer was that poo was in the sack?  I couldn’t believe it.  The Physical and Information Architecture session I did included a youtube video of Bear Grills showing us how to survive without water by squeezing elephant poo.  My analogy with all this was trying to help people get through the poo to understand the difference between Sites and Site Collections and get the guidance and core foundation they need for successful scalable SharePoint deployments.

Beyond all the cool animals which were many many many.  I have to say it was the cool people that really made this trip stand out.  First off I need to call out Veronique.  The IW User Group lead for the South African Information Worker community in Johannesburg or Jo’berg as they call it here.  Veronique was the first to meet us at the airport and help us feel welcome.  She helped us get where we needed to go and even packed us a lunch and let us use her phone!  The pack of biltong (pretty much jerky sticks) came in handy as well when the picnic area that was suppose to have lunch wasn’t there.  

iphone 362


Here are a few of the people I met, (below) many of which I don’t remember their names, but I do remember how they made me feel like a friend.  I know I have many friends around Southern Africa.


Even the random Canadians we met in Maputo who we shared dinner with.  Really nice people that were donating their time to help the people of Swazi better deal with the disease situation.

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I had some great jam sessions at Teched Africa that apparently our Rock Band Pearl Jam Star performance made it to youtube, it was even played during a session.  Don’t believe what you hear, the poor recording equipment and speakers were to blame for anything that doesn’t sound awesome.  It definitely sounded a lot better in person, and yeah we were rocking it with XBOX 360 RockBand in the Community Lounge.  Zlatan with his axe and our star drummer with me on vocals and various guest bass guitarists were ready to start a band right there.

I’ve been able to experience 17 Tech Ed’s across 5+ continents… Europe, Japan, Malaysia (South East Asia one of my most favorite), Australia, NZ and nearly a decade at Teched US.  Teched continues to be the best geek party on the planet and brings together people from all industries and helps inspire us geeks to be rockstars (best of the best).  The networking at Tech Ed continues to be my favorite thing.  It’s not the Teched dancers or Jam sessions or a beauty among geeks (last year’s Teched U.S. that featured a Beauty & the Geek Photo Shoot) that bring us together.  It’s a common interest in cutting edge technology that unites us and our passions that inspires us to do it for yet another year.  From what I was able to see, the attendees of Teched Africa were able to get that inspiration and ignite their passions.  Thanks for letting me share this experience with you! I’m already looking forward to next year… If it all works out.  As well looks like I’ll be speaking at Teched to SharePoint fans in Europe in Berlin.  See you then!

Dankie, Totsiens!

Thank you and See you later!

(Special thanks to Michael O’Donovan, Zlatan Dzinic SharePoint MVP, and Veronique Palmer for making all this happen.)

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