Wow, the SharePoint 2012 Conference in Las Vegas is almost here and this years conference is sure to be a great one. I’m excited to see old friends again and to make new ones! I’ve been attending Microsoft Conferences for several years (SPC since 2007) and as with any conference, it’s always best to be prepared. And preparing for a conference of this size can be a bit overwhelming, so I decided to put together this quick SPC12 Survival and Readiness Guide to offer some tips I’ve learned to make the experience more productive and enjoyable.
Also, I’ll be sporting my custom @SPHotShot twitter tag plate on my conference badge so look for me and say hello!
What Are Your Goals?
It’s important to think about what you want to accomplish while at the conference, so planning ahead makes you much more likely to accomplish your goals:
- Looking to network with other professionals? Then don’t be shy. Talk to everyone you can. You’ll be surprised what tidbit you’ll pick up from others just by having a short conversation! However, remember that attendees are arriving from all over the world so don’t always automatically assume that English is their first language. So if you are an ADHD candidate, don’t start off with a 100-mile-hour intro greeting. Also, don’t forget to bring lots of business cards.
- Looking to learn new and emerging technologies? You’re definitely in luck! You’ll see a collection of well-rounded (and some somewhat bleeding-edge) sessions and demos that focus on the latest and greatest of Microsoft products and services, so this conference should meet or exceed expectations in this area. Also, don’t get stressed out about choosing between two or more sessions that may occur at the same time. We fully expect Microsoft to post full session videos after the conference.
- Looking to find out about vendor services? The exhibit hall will be filled with top-shelf vendors as well as Microsoft reps who are more than happy to demo their products and answer questions. Take time to visit all of them. However, try not to burn too much time at a vendors booth just because they have a few ‘booth babes’. Just enjoy the eye candy and move on ..
Be sure to vote on what your main goals for SPC12 are!
- Create or Update your MySPC and Attendee Profile - For connecting with other people, it’s important to take a few minutes to make sure your information is up-to-date. Be sure to include what you typically do with SharePoint and what you want to accomplish while at the conference. Upload a (recognizable) picture of yourself so that others will make the connection when they see you. While you’re at it, update your other social profile pics too.
- Set your schedule on MySPC - This will help the SPC organizers ensure adequate capacity for sessions. You aren’t required to go a session that you schedule, but it will help you plan ahead of time (you may discover that you chose two consecutive sessions that are across the conference building from each other).
- RSVP for Parties – There are sure to be many this year (several on some nights). Most require that you RSVP or stop by a booth so be sure to look into this before hand. Joel has also posted an SPC12 activity planner on his blog.
- Logistics - Have copies of all reservations in the event of confusion at your point of check-in, and secure ground transportation ahead of time. Taking a taxi can be costly but drivers often know about good places to eat or what other happenings they are aware of during your stay.
- Communication Device(s) (e.g. – Laptop, Notebook, Tablet, Phone, etc.) - You’ll want to think about which type of connected device you want to carry around based on how you intend to use it. And don’t forget chargers for all devices you may bring (extra batteries too if you are able).
- Stay Connected – Once you decide on your primary device(s), use them to keep up on what’s going on at the conference via Email, Twitter, Gowalla, FourSquare, or other social application. Being connected also means you’ll find out about any last-minute or spontaneous events that might be happening. In addition, particular sessions may offer incentives for filling out evaluations immediately, so be ready to complete yours at the end of each session you attend. Vendors will also be promoting Twitter posts for entry into specific drawings and give-aways. Also, keep #SPYAM on your radar for places to watch for conversations and what’s happening. See http://yammer.com/spyam.
- Pre-Configure the #SPC12 search scope in Your Twitter Device - This will help you discover any updates on sessions or events and will keep you connected on what’s happening at the conference. Also tracking the posts for @SPConf will help as well.
- Cellular Wireless Card - With so many active devices present, wireless networks at conferences are often congested and rarely offer satisfactory network speeds, so possessing a cellular wireless card can offer a real bonus.
- Camera - Bring one (or more for backup). Memories are made at conferences like this. But beware: what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but there are sure to be many camera-carrying geeks taking potentially reputation-changing pics that will last for an eternity.
- Dress Comfortably - You’ll be walking and standing ALOT! Good shoes and comfortable clothes will leave you with more energy to last for the nightime events.
- Foreign Germs & Hygiene - This isn’t something that’s usually at the forefront of the attendee thoughts, but keep in mind that this is a conference where people from all over the world are mingling in rather close quarters and are exchanging as many handshakes as they are conversations. Avoid getting an illness from a foreign germ by the liberal use of hand sanitizers. You will find that many of the conference vendors will be handing out small Purell bottles. And it’s typical to see portable sanitizer stations stationed around the conference areas as well. Take advantage of this. No sense in having your conference time cut short by an unexpected illness.
- Cash - There will be a lot of no-cost events and gatherings, but you might want to join up with others before or after particular conference events. Cash is always quicker to process (and always well-received) at busy restaurants and bars, and it’s the preferred medium of exchange for Las Vegas Bail Bondsmen ..
- Pre-Plan Space for Conference Swag - You are going to end up with a lot of conference ‘stuff’ (product information sheets, T-shirts and other goofy swag). Be sure to allocate extra room in your bag to get it all back home. Don’t put yourself in the inconvenient position of either having to hand-carry them onto the plane, leaving it behind, or being forced to ship it home (I had to do this for SPC09).
- Check With Your Local SharePoint User Group - Find out if they are conducting a special event while at SPC.
- Pace Yourself - These conferences are known to leave even the best of conference pro’s exhausted. Think you’re gonna survive partying into the wee hours every night without missing the next days sessions? Unless you happen to have completed Navy SEAL school, think again. Plan to choose a few nights to go home early (or at least earlier than most).
- Post-Party Morning Kit - Vegas hotels are notorious for furnishing absolutely no ammenities (coffee, water, etc.) without a significant upcharge to your hotel bill. Keep some snacks, aspirin and water in your hotel room. This will help you get going in the morning after the inevitable all-night bender.
- Stay Nourished - Eat when you can. Conference food tends to be buffet-quality at best. Get a good meal before heading out for nightly events. Also, be sure to stay hydrated.
Wow! What a whirlwind week-end! I don’t usually write a post-mortem article about a SharePoint Saturday event, but SPS-Austin is an exception to the rule, and I believe has set the bar for all SPS events going forward!
Sponsor and Contributor Support
So, where to begin? Naturally, we have to thank the sponsors (of which there were many). It cannot be mentioned enough that these events simply could not take place were it not for the financial and resource commitments of these organizations to the product and community at large. And a very special mention goes out to the many conference associates (‘red shirts’) floating about gleefully answering questions, guiding attendees to their appointed places, and even keeping a few long-winded <grin> speakers from exceeding their session times. On that note, let’s also give a special thanks to the all-star lineup of speakers who shared their knowledge of the platform with attendees and each other. The atmosphere of learning was a very positive one!
I think it’s safe to say that everyone was unanimous in the feeling that the AT&T center was a top-notch facility to hold a technical event, and the Twitter comments confirm this. The conference rooms were laid out very well (with the semi-circle, progressively elevated seating commonly found in larger university settings) and the A/V services were excellent (dual projectors and good audio arrangements). Too bad the sessions were not video-taped, but it’s understood that would be cost-prohibitive. Also, the WiFi service was excellent throughout the facility and the catered food services were on par with those found only at vendor conferences.
Overall, despite a number of last-minute session updates (due to weather conditions preventing some speakers from attending), the sessions flowed very well. The general layout of the event center certainly contributed to the ease of everyone quickly orienting themselves to the location of session rooms, sponsor booths, dining, and restrooms.
The speaker dinner at Salt Lick BBQ was simply awesome, and the ’refreshments’ were plentiful .. not sure who all participated in the ‘sing-along’ in the back of the bus during the return trip, but just don’t give up your day job. During the conference, I and others attended a rather animated Women in SharePoint discussion forum and there was plenty of very interesting (and entertaining) bantering going on! In addition to her usual ‘blunt’ manner of gesture-based communication, Tiffany Songvilay even managed coin a few new ‘terms’ for the women in the community. I can’t mention them here: most are NSFW.
Also, Marcy Kellar, Christina Wheeler and others managed to catch some cool shots during the conference so look for those. And Geoff Varosky and Chris Essler managed to pick up some really nice cowboy hats while in Austin (both of which are already modeling these in their twitter pic).
Many, many kudos go out to Jim Bob Howard and Matthew Lathrop for their outstanding efforts in bringing this event together. I suspect many other event organizers are already revisiting how they plan future SPS events in the future. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the nice weather, an element clearly appreciated by those who traveled from more northward latitudes. Lastly, from a personal perspective it was a great pleasure to see old friends and make new ones. This is one reason why I enjoy participating in these events! Hope to see you all again soon!
For attendees at my session “Visualizing Your Data with Mapping Services in SharePoint”, here’s a link to my presentation.
For attendees at my session “Visualizing Your Data with Mapping Services in SharePoint”, here’s a link to my presentation:
Well, I’m back to work after a week in (mostly) sunny Anaheim attending the SharePoint 2011 Conference. Quite frankly, I’m still a bit exhausted. And it’s not from what I thought it would be. For me, the conference held an expectation to accomplish several goals (in no particular order): see old friends, make new friends, have fun at parties, and learn something new about the platform as well as what’s happening in the SharePoint community. Most goals were met, but my post-conference evaluation ends with a mixed bag of results.
There was much anticipation leading up to the keynote, and the on-stage DJ mixer helped to spin up the enthusiasm for everyone attending. We heard from several Microsoft speakers (Jared Spataro, Jeff Teper and Kurt Delbene) about how SharePoint’s adoption (and associated license sales) in the corporate space has been phenomenal along with plenty of marketing speak that is common to Microsoft conferences. The central message here was a simple vision for the week – for each of us to never have to say “I didn’t know SharePoint could do that!”. Later in the keynote, a live demonstration of the failover capabilities of cloud computing were demonstrated. However, the surprising announcement was that another SharePoint conference is planned for November 2012 in Las Vegas (interesting). Alas, no announcement of anything similar to ”Tablets for everyone!” occurred (like at the Build conference). Oh well …
I think that overall the session collection was a pretty good mix of Cloud, Azure, ECM, Performance and Best Practices though my emphasis was on sessions specific to cloud computing and moving SharePoint to the cloud. Andrew Connell’s ”Out of the Sandbox and into the cloud” session (SPC410) was very well done. Jeff Mann’s ” Clearing away the Clouds: What’s Hype and What’s Real” session (SPC209) was surprisingly good. Finally, Steve Fox’s “Developing Cloud-Based Applications for SharePoint Online” session (SPC276) as well as his post-conference boot camp were the highlight the conference for me. I attended other sessions, but nothing striking to comment about.
As I’m sure you have probably read elsewhere, the sponsored social events were impressive. Monday night’s Red Party (sponsored by AvePoint) was simply the best I’ve seen at a conference. As predicted by Christian Buckley, many Tuesday morning sessions were missed because of this event. Tuesday night’s DisneyLand event (sponsored by Nuedesic) was fairly good, though the rides (from an adult perspective) were a bit lame. However, it made for good socializing (and a chance to recover from Monday night’s fling). Wednesday night’s OctoberFiesta party (sponsored by Axceler) was a real blast; there was even a Cher look-alike roaming about (in the spirit of numerous ‘Cher-Point’ shirts handed out by Christian). I attended some other private, invitation-only parties and they were excellent from a socializing perspective.
Aside from the evening socials, one of my ‘social’ goals at the conference was to speak with as many attendees as possible about what they are doing with SharePoint, as well as visiting all of the exhibitor booths in an attempt to discover any new or exciting product offerings out there. On the former objective, the results were not as good as expected. Many of the (non-exhibitor) attendees seemed uninterested in socializing or networking with anyone they didn’t already know, know of, or was handing out swag (as this was a conference that was better than 90% male, a female in my position would have yielded quite different results). On the latter objective, I had good results. I especially enjoyed catching up with old friends and previous co-workers at ESRI, Perficient, EPC Group, and Gimmal Group. Overall, while I did make some new friends (and that was great!), I already knew most of the people I spoke to ..
Logistically, the conference seemed to go off without any major hitches. The food was good, but it was noticeable that the number of snack and beverage kiosks were fewer in number than at conferences in the past.
Overall, this was a good conference to attend, but not a ‘great’ one. There were no ‘big announcements’ about the platform; it was really just a chance to see old friends and talk SharePoint. So for me, it wound up to be something of a ‘Catch-22′: having now attended, I probably would have passed on it, but not attending would have made me kick myself for not accomplishing what I thought I could (but didn’t).
I’m certain Vegas will be better next year … and I will be there!
The time has come for consensus to be reached about the true definition of SharePoint roles. The more pessimistic of you might roll your eyes and think “Oh, we’ve been down this road before“. Other more pragmatic readers might say “There are so many variances to how businesses administer, develop and deploy SharePoint. The definition of a role in one organization might not align well with one of the same name in another organization“. Others may even dismiss this idea with “It really doesn’t matter what you call yourself“. I would very much disagree with all of these statements, and I will explain why. Before I do, I would say that I find it somewhat disheartening that even among the supposed ‘rock stars’ of SharePoint (presumably with a combined experience measured in decades in this platform), there is significant disagreement around the definition of SharePoint roles, often involving discussions sprinkled with a liberal dose of intellectual sparring, bantering, and friendly ribbing (and even a bit of round-robin ass-kissing for good measure). The only consensus I see among these otherwise high-profile peeps is an agreement around “it varies”.
Yes, It Matters
Among many discussions I have read over the last year regarding the meaning and definition of SharePoint roles, Kerri Abraham’s somewhat meandering article stands out. In the article, she asserts that clever administrative updates and configurations (via the UI, SPD, or other admin tool) makes one a ‘sharepoint developer’ merely because a business need was met. While this bold declaration may sit well with Administrators, Designers, and Power Users, I (and many other Developers and Architects) would disagree. This kind of casual merging of (and equally casual agreement with) what should otherwise be distinct roles does no good service to both consumers and providers of the product. There are actually some very important reasons why a strong consensus is needed regarding clearly defined SharePoint roles.
What Am I, Really?
First, clear and defined roles serve well for the aspiring SharePoint professional-in-training. More than most, these technologists need a clear delineation of role definitions so that they may measure self-progress in their mastery of the many ‘hats’ we old-timers wear daily in our varied travels with this technology platform. Ambiguity in role definitions is confusing and impedes a proper self-evaluation of ones own skillsets. Without a clear definition of the activities and responsibilities of each SharePoint role, how would one answer the questions “And I progressing?” and “What role skills do I lack or need to work on?”.
More importantly, role confusion leads to real-world problems for the intermediate (or even advanced) SharePoint specialist. Consider a scenario where “John”, a SharePoint Specialist, has been working with the product for a year or two in a somewhat entry-level administration or design position. He has learned the ins and outs of Central Admin, web page creation, web part configurations, and other UX tasks. Maybe he even dabbles in some advanced configurations using Designer. In performing these activities, he has solved numerous business requests; he feels ‘empowered’ by the technology and is excited about it. So, in the course of searching for answers about various roles, he happens on one or more posts similar to Kerri’s and begins to think “Hey, I’m really a Developer!”. Let’s go further and say that “John” then spots one or more SharePoint Developer job listings, scans through the requirements and thinks “Well, I meet a lot of those requirements; after all, I’m a Developer!” After applying to a number of listings, and assuming he makes the initial cut and lands a technical interview (because HR doesn’t understand role requirements well either), this is where disappointment is sure to greet him. More on this in a bit.
So, Are You In the Market For An “Opportunity”?
How many times have you heard this from a recruiter or an HR representative? Now, I won’t go into a rant about recruiters; that’s not what this article is about. I will say that in my experience there are few recruiters that are really worth dealing with. Experiences with HR personnel tend to be better, and they rightfully deserve more consideration due to the simple fact that they have inside knowledge and a direct link into the organization. However, with both types I see the same issue time and again: confusion regarding the definition of various SharePoint roles (and the skills associated with those roles) and how they apply to a job description.
Specific to calls or emails from recruiters, its bad enough to try to have a conversation that centers around the premise of “I know a guy, who knows a guy who needs a SharePoint [fill in the blank]“, when it comes down to the technical requirements (originating from somewhere deep in HR land) more often than not it’s a loosely defined collection of talking points whose content is common enough to presume that the job writers are merely copying (often bad) generic bullet points from each other. Why does this happen? I suppose there’s a bit of laziness in this, but I what I really suspect is that role definitions are just not clear.
With the HR person, it’s somewhat easier to tease out the real requirements of the job (‘role’). A smart and knowledgable SharePoint professional will quickly spot discrepancies between the job title, it’s summary, and the requirements and will ask specific questions about elements of the job. In my experience, during the course of the conversation I am often delegated to educate the HR person about typical (note, not widely accepted) roles and responsibilities on a SharePoint team; something that is supposed to happen before we talk.
Words Have Meanings
Over the course of my varied career in SharePoint and other technologies, I have conducted scores and scores of technical interviews mostly because I’m just good at it. It’s a talent I stumbled upon and didn’t realize I had. I enjoy it, too. Every interview teaches me something about both the product and how people perceive it and themselves. Now, all of us have pet peeves and one that is near the top of my list during a technical interview is a misrepresentation or misunderstanding of one’s true skill set. As a technical interviewer, I typically deal with fairly well-defined job requirements (that otherwise translate to a ‘role’ within the SharePoint team or organization). However, there are times (when needed) where I will push back to HR when I see ambiguity in a job description; it does no one any good to have a job position where the title varies from its task requirements. And quite often the written requirements of a job will contain skills that overlap those of other roles. However, a well-written job posting will contain a solid majority of requirements that are central to one of the primary roles, with others being denoted as optional or ancillary (“they can learn that OTJ, if necessary”).
Returning to “John” and the technical interview, for a good interviewer it would soon become clear that after only a handful of lightly probing questions that “John” is best suited as an admin or designer (maybe even IT Pro) position. The interviewer is now somewhat disappointed (maybe even a little angry at HR for wasting his time on this candidate). And “John” detects that the questions are not aligning to what he thought the job describes. If the interviewer is polite, the questions may then shift to those more suited for a position that “John” is really qualified for. Or if the interviewer is not in a giving mood, the conversation will probably be cut short with a simple (and disheartening) “we’ll be in touch”. Upon conclusion of this stressful exercise, “John” is left somewhat flummoxed and confused. How will he know what went wrong? Chances are, the interviewer won’t tell him unless pressed on it. In this exercise, it becomes clear that roles do have meaning when they are applied to a real-world experience.
What about the recruiter or HR professional? Often, these are people who just don’t know the platform like we do (why should they?) so they often take the path of least resistance to translate what the technical team is telling them in order to get the job description out the door: Google and Bing. What do they find? Maybe some arguing or fighting or even sniping about who is what in a role. What they won’t find is a commonly accepted definition of SharePoint roles. Confusion reigns.
Where Do We Begin?
So, what guideposts might we use to aid in clearly defining SharePoint roles as they are inferred by its creator, Microsoft?. We might start by looking at what Microsoft measures on certification exams. Exam 70-576: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications measures skills such as UX design, application navigation, localization, security, performance and optimization, deployment scenarios, composites and solution sets. Exam 70-573: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development goes even deeper on subjects including leveraging the API to transform and manipulate practically everything occurring on the platform. There are a few others on configuring and administering SharePoint, but nowhere do I see one where the skills of an administrator (using the UI) or designer (using SP Designer) would measure as a Developer. In fact, just the opposite. According to the measured skills, a Developer must have knowledge not only in Designer but as well as custom code deployments.
Additionally, Microsoft has published a long-standing TechNet article regarding team roles in SharePoint, but the information is very general in nature and falls well short of addressing the issues of role definitions being raised here. As well, one not intimately familiar with the platform may actually come away from this article thinking that a technician performing configuration tasks in Designer is a Developer.
Where Does This Leave Us?
Like many aspects of SharePoint, Microsoft has left numerous areas of the platform to be enhanced, refined or otherwise more clearly defined by third parties and the community at large. What of the need for clear definitions regarding SharePoint Team Roles? It would seem that the MVP community would be an obvious choice to address this matter. According to the MVP site:
MVPs make exceptional contributions to technical communities, sharing their passion, knowledge, and know-how. Meanwhile, because MVPs hear the opinions and needs of many others in the technical community, they are well-placed to share highly focused feedback with Microsoft
Furthermore, for every MVP or other ‘high profile’ SharePoint professional out there professing their views about this or that, there are hundreds if not thousands of others quietly and effectively solving business challenges by whatever role they wish to (or not) call themselves (all without the fanfare of self-aggrandizing posts and tweets that some are known for). So I would call on those ‘quiet professionals’ to chime into the conversation as well.
So, what say you MVP community? Who cares to step up to the plate?
The SharePoint 2011 conference promises to be one of the most socially-connected events ever! In that spirit, I’m scouring the internet and collecting information regarding publicly advertised events, book signings, give-aways, and tips while attending the week of the conference. Enjoy!
|Saturday (Oct 1st)|
|Dave Coleman and Seb Matthews are hosting an Early Bird SharePint for early arrivers at the ESPN Zone (7:00pm-???).|
|Sunday evening (Oct 2nd)|
|Conference welcome session for all attendees (6:00-9:00pm).|
|Monday evening (Oct 3rd)|
|BlackBerry is hosting a welcome reception at Hilton Hotel: Anaheim Club SPC (5:00-7:00pm).|
|Yammer is hosting a Have a Drink on Us event at 19th Hole Bar, ESPN Zone (5:30pm-9:30pm).|
|Bamboo is hosting a social [SOLD OUT; WAITLIST ONLY] at the House of Blues Bourbon Street (5:30-pm-8:30pm).|
|Idera is sponsoring a “Have a Duckin’ Good Time” Party & Book Signing (RSVP required) at the ESPN Zone (6:30pm-8:30pm). Several SharePoint authors will be giving away signed copies of their books.|
|Eric Harland is hosting a SPC11 MSPFE Meet and Greet at Roy’s Restaurant at 6:00pm.|
|AvePoint is hosting The Red Party (RSVP required) at the UltraHeat Lounge (8:00pm-????). Tip: these guys know how to throw a party!|
|Tuesday evening (Oct 4th)|
|Ruven Gotz, Janis Hall and Anders Rask are hosting a ShareSushi [SOLD OUT] at Koisan Japanese Restaurant (6:00pm-7:00pm). Here’s a map.|
|Neudesic is sponsoring an attendee party at DisneyLand.|
|Wednesday evening (Oct 5th)|
|Chris has posted on the ACS Blog regarding a SoCal SharePint at Bar Louie’s (RSVP Here) (7:00pm-9:00pm) sponsored by some of the local Southern California companies.|
|SurfRay is hosting a VIP mixer (RSVP required) at the Hilton Anaheim (8:00pm-???)|
|Andrew Connell has mentioned on his blog a SharePint at the ESPNZone (8:00pm-????). SPC11 Twitter RollCall is keeping track of the attendees.|
|A SharePins event is being sponsored by Synteractive and Amazon Web Services (7:00pm-10:00pm)|
|Axceler is hosting an OktoberFiesta (RSVP required) at Tortilla Jo’s Restaurant and Bar (7:30pm-1:00am). This promises to be THE conference party to attend!|
|Thursday evening (Oct 6th)|
|CloudSocial (6:30) – more details coming ..|
- Jeremy Thake at nothingbutsharepoint.com is offering free SPC 11 t-shirts.
- CriticalPath training is having EIGHT scheduled book signings at the conference throughout the week.
- Mindsharp will be conducting book signings at their exhibit booth during the conference. They are also hosting several conference sessions.
- There will be a book signing for SharePoint Foundation 2010 Inside Out during the conference. Stop by and see the authors (Penelope Coventry, Troy Lanphier, Johnathan Lightfoot, Tom Resing, and Michael Doyle ).
- MSPress has announced several book signings here.
- Laura Rogers has listed her book signings she’ll be performing at the conference (addional link here).
- Wrox has listed a number of book signings occuring during the conference .
- Dux Raymond has listed his book signings on his blog.
Additional ‘Light Reading’ …
- Read 30 Ways to Follow the Conference from the Microsoft Feed.
- Read Cory Roth‘s SPC11 Readiness Checklist.
- Check out Marcy Kellar‘s posts on 11 Tips To Get the Most Out Of The SPC11 Conference and 20 Mobile Apps for SPC11 Survival.
- Read Jeremy Thake’s Social Event Survival Guide.
- For international attendees, here’s a helpful post from Thomas Sondergaard.
- The Houston SharePoint User Group has a LinkedIn page for members wishing to get together.
- Visit the SharePoint Conference LinkedIn event page and check-in there.
- Visit the Facebook page for the SharePoint conference.
- Here’s a Twitter link to follow the conference speakers list.
See you all there!!