SharePoint Saturday Arabia was a live online, ten hour event on March 27th 2010. There were 15 Speakers,including 8 MVPs, and two simultaneous sessions running every hour. We had 750 registrants and around 150 attendees.
Throughout my blog, twitter and Facebook, I had wonderful opportunities to get connected with tons of nice folks in the Middle East and especially in Arabia and the one thing I have noticed in common is the thirst for SharePoint knowledge.
These people are in true need for answers, they feel like they are alone, they don’t have enough conferences as with the case in Europe and America, they don’t have Visual How To’s in their native languages and they just cheer up when they come across someone who knows their struggles.
The first step for bridging the gap and fulfilling the needs was creating a community channel and a place where Arab SharePoint professionals can share their expertise and hence http://www.sharepoint4arabs.com was created.
Moreover, after the great success of SharePoint Saturday EMEA and the amazing feedback I received about my Arabic session there, I decided to follow Mark Miller’s footprints and to organize a similar event with more localized content for Arabs.
First step was contacting Marwan Tarek, my partner in most of my crimes and asking him to help me in organizing the event like managing speaker submissions, sponsor requests and making sure that speakers are having good and reliable internet connections. I have also contacted Baransel Dogan and Ruari Plint (MEA MVP Leads) asking them to spread the word and ask more MVPs to participate.
I would like also to point out that Mark Miller (EndUserSharePoint.com) has done a terrific job putting together the lessons learned from SharePoint Saturday EMEA in a brilliant article here (http://www.endusersharepoint.com/2010/02/26/notes-on-running-a-sharepoint-live-online-event/ ), I would encourage anyone willing to run an online event to strictly follow the advices presented by Mark in this article.
We had Six MVPs + Two other people who were recognized as MVPs just 5 days after the event (I am happy to be one of those).
We also had other seven SharePoint experts in different countries and time zones, I would like to seize the opportunity and thank them all for their wonderful sessions and the willingness to help and share. Special thanks go to Dux Raymond for staying up very late and keynoting the event, it was very nice having a
he event went very well; the speakers were punctual, interactive, and keen to share their expertise with the audience. We had one moderator per session; the moderator was responsible for keeping an eye on the chat room, managing the audience requests, passing the questions to the speakers, resolving any audio issues and recording the sessions. Egypt SharePoint User Group leaders and Ahmed Ramy from dotnetwork user group were responsible for moderating the sessions.
The best part about the event was the closure. We had an interesting talk with the audience about the ways we can improve the event, whether they like this type of online events and how frequent they would like to see SharePoint Saturday Arabia.
The feedback was positive, I would like to refer to two blogs post that really made me happy and more determined to organize and sponsor more online events. I have even quoted some paragraphs here:
SPS Arabia event was truly amazing: http://techforceblog.com/2010/03/28/sps-arabia-event-was-truly-amazing.aspx
SharePoint Arabia (nontechnical view): http://baraahomari.blogspot.com/2010/03/sharepoint-saturday-nontechnical-view.html
“Yesterday, I’ve seen the success after months planning, I’ve seen achievements after team working, I feel so honored to join such a wonderful team. I almost felt like I’m one of them! The way they introduced each others was my favorite, they way they thank any speaker after his session was amazing, all speakers were proud to be a part of it. The online chat room was really active, the attendees were so friendly, I knew many SharePoint related new guys“, By: Baraah Omari
“Each session lasted from 45 to 55 minutes followed by a Q & A session. All of the speakers were well versed in their topics and inspired a lot of questions from attendees. I was only able to attend 8 of the 16 sessions. The set up was really nicely done with two LiveMeeting Channels set up (one for the Arabic sessions and the other for the English sessions) this was used for the slide presentations and audio from the session speakers; along with an online chat room sponsored by endusersharepoint.com for questions from the attendee’s. The sessions started and ended pretty close to on time and everything was done really well.”, By : Johnathan
Here is another feedback that I received from Razi Bin Rais, SharePoint MVP and one of SharePoint Saturday Arabia speakers :
“Thanks for an amazing event, kudos to all the team members behind SharePoint Saturday Arabia. I been chatting about the event with couple of folks from Asia Pacific region and they are impressed by the quality and execution of the event. I am planning to do a detail blog post once the recording of the sessions are available.”
Waiting for your blog post Razi and thanks for your e-mail :))
Another one is from Fabian Williams, one of the great experts who joined us in SharePoint Saturday Arabia :
“I have to echo the remarks and accolades for both the organizers and speakers in this event, spot on mates… I am looking forward for the next one. ”
Thanks Fabian for your e-mail, I have received wonderful feedback about your session! I look forward to having you in our next event; Arabs love you man 😉
I have received lots and lots of e-mails, Twitter DMs and FaceBook messages from our attendees and people registrants asking about the recordings and the slides. I know I am late, sorry guys for this, but the recordings needed some extra work and editing, all what I need to do now is uploading them, so the recordings along with the slides will be available within 24 hours. Please keep an eye onEndUserSharePoint.Com, SharePoint4Arabs.com, SharePoint Saturday Arabia site and my blog for any updates.