ShareFEST – ‘SharePoint Starts the Fire’ at the Combination SharePint & Live Webcast Q&A with Dux Raymond Sy & Michael Gannotti

Dux Raymond Sy and Michael Gannotti's Live Webcast Q&A at the ShareFEST ConferenceCoinciding with the inspired Beer Tasting Hospitality Suites event which followed the official reception in the exhibit hall at ShareFEST this evening, Dux Raymond Sy and Microsoft’s Michael Gannotti hosted a Q&A with the audience which was webcast live to the global SharePoint community. Worldwide attendees of the webcast included at least two from Denmark (where it was the 1 a.m. hour) and one from Israel (2 a.m.) and, in addition to a spirited discussion which touched on the iPad (and tablets/slates in general), SharePoint 2010, and ShareFEST session highlights, the big finish was the world premiere performance of “SharePoint Starts the Fire” by Dux and Michael, an exercise in crowdsourcing instigated by Dux, who is no stranger to performing live SharePoint-themed songs at conferences.

In his introduction to the webcast, Dux mentioned that “the beauty of conferences like ShareFEST is that it speaks specifically to how SharePoint can be applied in a single industry.” Following Dux’s welcoming remarks, Michael went straight to asking the attendees what was the best session they saw today and, in response to the first respondent, who mentioned the ProtonMedia session I blogged earlier, Michael said, “that rocked my world.”

Asking if anyone saw a case study today, the first respondent spoke highly of the Shire case study I also blogged earlier (I’m 2 for 2!), saying that his company is currently wrestling with similar problems, specifically regarding license management of SharePoint.

Michael introduced Dux’s iPad next and, while displaying the season’s hottest gadget, Dux referenced his recent blog post, Maximizing SharePoint 2010 on a Mac + iPhone or iPod + iPad. Dux demonstrated a SharePoint 2010 site on his iPad, showing off the document library functionality, including drop-down menus (in the process reporting a bug, that drop-down/flyout menus will occasionally stick on the iPad, but also reporting a fix: if it gets stuck, “tilt [the iPad] and it’s fine”) and div overlay functionality. Since no Flash or Silverlight works on the iPad, Dux obviously couldn’t demo that, but it set Michael up to quip, “now, there is a fix for that, you know … it’s called the HP Slate, running Windows 7.”

Before moving on from the iPad topic, Dux also demonstrated the SharePlus app that he’d just discovered today. With SharePlus, you can access your SharePoint 2007 environment, and it also provides offline functionality.

In response to a question from the crowd regarding the ability to edit documents in SharePoint 2010 in browsers other than IE or on devices, the answer was a resounding, “yes, including the iPad.”

Regarding Office Web Apps, a ShareFEST attendee asked, “what about licensing?  Is it free like Google Apps?” I’m going to recommend that you refer to the recording of the webcast (see below) for the spirited, if somewhat defensive, a discussion which followed, and which began (much to Michael’s mugging dismay) with Dux’s recommendation of Google Apps under certain circumstances, and concluded with Dux stating that, “there’s a misnomer about free apps.”

An interesting question that came in via one of the online attendees was, “if SharePoint’s already a burden [in your organization], how do you reintroduce it?” Unhesitatingly, Michael replied, “don’t call it SharePoint.” Dux chimed in, saying, “look for the pain point you can solve, and call it that.”

(As an aside, the company my wife works and administrates SharePoint for doesn’t call it SharePoint. Which is fine as far as it goes, of course, but as the author of a SharePoint end user-centric blog, it does leave me feeling sorry for all of the end-users in such an organization, since they can’t easily discover a source of self-service answers to their problems if they don’t know that what they need to Google in order to discover the answers they seek is called SharePoint.)

Dux put in a good word for the SharePoint community, saying, “I’ve never seen a community like the SharePoint community,” explaining that odds are that if you ask a SharePoint-related question on Twitter, you’ll not only get a prompt response, but the person responding may very well be the author of a SharePoint book. An attendee of the discussion via the webinar followed up, asking about recommended resources for discovering SharePoint communities such as user groups, and Dux responded by saying that he had two recommendations: “the ISPA, and Bamboo Nation.”

In a discussion of SharePoint Workspace (formerly Groove), Michael wryly observed, “SharePoint is Pac-Man, we’re swallowing everything.” With a devilish grin, Michael went on to say, “my prediction is that in the next five years it will be called the SharePoint Office Client.”

It was at this point that we came to the moment everyone had been waiting for: the live debut performance of “SharePoint Starts the Fire.” Dux had explained at the beginning of the webcast that he’d come up with the idea of a SharePoint-themed song set to the tune of the Billy Joel hit “We Didn’t Start the Fire” while driving up to Philly from D.C. earlier in the day and since he didn’t have time to write the lyrics to a complete song himself, he decided to throw it out to the global SharePoint community as a crowdsourcing exercise and tweeted the idea to get the word out. That was around noon today, and by 5 p.m. he had the completed lyrics to the song in hand, courtesy of the global SharePoint community and the “unstructured collaboration” that crowdsourcing represents.

In response to that preface from Dux, Michael said, “we’re gonna harness the power of the masses right now” and, cueing up the Billy Joel song as their musical track and reading the lyrics from Dux’s site, Dux and Michael proceeded to make SharePoint, crowdsourcing, and ShareFEST history with the world premiere live performance of “SharePoint Starts the Fire.”

I won’t spoil anything else about it, but I can’t resist sharing my favorite line from the lyrics: “CIO is blown away, he just learned about the cloud today.” Too funny.

I’d say you had to be there, but since the whole thing was recorded and is available for your viewing pleasure, that’s not necessary. I can, however, say that you really need to see and hear the performance to believe it, friends. And you can do so right here.

Update:  Dux has now released a solo studio recording of his latest hit song, and the video includes the complete lyrics:


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