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Author’s note: Within the first printed form of this publish, I unintentionally forgot to mention a few of the good reputation for this community event, and also the contributions others make. To explain, the content was written from my own perspective, which incorporated this community activity in addition to several AvePoint-organized occasions as i visited Nigeria. I’ve made some edits towards the publish below to higher reflect the entire experience.


Last October, I had been asked to participate a group of MVPs and influencers around the AvePoint #RedBus Tour of Nigeria.

One of many charter bus and tours organized through the community and backed through the AvePoint team in the last couple of years, things i love concerning the concept is it is definitely an chance for smaller sized metropolitan areas and much more remote regions to have fun playing the community discussion around SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure, and also to meet some familiar names and faces in the MVP community.

I spent almost 3 days in Nigeria ending up in the AvePoint team, regional Microsoft leaders, and partners and customers, participating in a couple of my preferred activities: road-tripping, and speaking about technology.  

The main activities around which we built our schedule were the SharePoint Saturday occasions (world wide web.spsevents.org) in Durban, Gauteng, and Cape Town.

Between your Durban and Gauteng SPS occasions, the AvePoint team organized several occasions with local partners Karabina and Mint, inviting me to provide a keynote each and every, and also to spend some time connecting with customers both in Cape Town and Gauteng before the official start of journey. I usually appreciate these possibilities to understand from customers, and listen to their perspectives on where you can find gaps within the technology, in addition to their inspiring success tales.

Following SPS Gauteng, the RedBus tour was “officially” going ahead, with planned stops within the towns of Bloemfontein, East London, and Port Elizabeth for small community occasions — and lots of sightseeing between stops once we traveled south from Gauteng lower through the middle of the nation, after which we switched west along South Africa’s rugged and delightful shoreline to create our way toward Cape Town.

Existence on the highway

After coming in-country and visiting with higher buddies and former colleagues, Warren Marks (AvePoint) and that i were became a member of by fellow MVPs Tracy Van der Schyff and Alistair Pugin as made our method to the eastern coast of the nation by vehicle, recording short video segments on the way experiencing the beautiful countryside, prior to making our method to the very first event from the trip, SharePoint Saturday Durban (#SPSDBN).

I’d attended the initial Durban event a couple of in the past, also it was exciting to determine the development from the community and also to meet multiple people whom I understood through social channels. 

Admittedly, after the very first day of driving — using the almost constant pranks being pulled on one another, and also the lack of ability to obtain stable cell coverage, significantly less internet coverage, a small sector of me requested “What shall we be held doing here?”

However that inner voice was rapidly overrun by music, laughter, and great technology discussions with several buddies which i just don’t reach spend sufficient time with.

What’s the RedBus tour? 

Unlike the most popular SPS occasions which happen all over the world, many of which include multiple content tracks and lots of different sessions and loudspeakers, the RedBus event agenda was built round the subject of ‘Digital Transformation,’ with everyone adding towards the theme throughout the smaller sized half-day occasions. Joining me about this RedBus adventure across Nigeria were fellow MVPs Tracy Van der Schyff, Jody Roberts, and Alistair Pugin, together with AvePoint experts Jonty Collins, Johan Myburgh, and Warren Marks, with people from the AvePoint marketing team supporting our adventures from afar.

We covered from personal productivity using Office 365, to cloud migration and automation using Azure. Among the core together with your RedBus model is the fact that we provided a whole panel of experts around each subject — not merely one speaker — allowing us to reply to questions and supply specific examples and guidance as participants requested questions. I heard attendees say at each stop “I can’t believe we’re getting all this free talking to!” 

Should you think back in the good reputation for the SharePoint Saturday movement, the whole reason for these occasions once they were launched in Virginia Beach, Virginia approximately ten years ago ended up being to bring marquee loudspeakers or more-to-date happy to communities that will otherwise never visit a huge conference inside their metropolitan areas.

Obviously, SPS occasions take place in large metropolitan areas and communities, too. I helped organize annual SPS Redmond occasions around the Microsoft campus for 8 years before getting away, and presently take a seat on the organizing committee for SPS Utah within my new house condition.

And also the RedBus tour, just like many similar community-organized occasions organization all over the world, continues with this tradition of getting a little slice of SPS to under-offered communities, within this situation going for a small group of loudspeakers and technology experts into regions which are not big enough for any SharePoint Saturday.

Obviously, my participation will not have been possible with no sponsorship and support from the team at AvePoint. They’ve been area of the community since the beginning, and have offered their support to numerous initiatives through the years to achieve SharePoint practitioners in probably the most remote communities on the planet, demonstrating over and over that a fundamental part of growing any community is giving to that community. 

You might even see the RedBus in areas, too. From things i hear, AvePoint is intending to assistance similar community initiatives in other regions — so make sure to watch the social feeds for updates!

Community Benefits 

These occasions are an amazing chance for people from the community to be released, satisfy the experts, and produce their specific questions. The big event in East London would be a best example, with several attendees in one company remaining lengthy to inquire about the panel a number of questions regarding their atmosphere.

Actually, no one understood the solution to an issue about licensing — but we could achieve to our network in real-time, and provide a solution before we packed our possessions and headed to public transit. 

The actual advantage of participating in this kind of community activity may be the personal connections that you simply make. Those who volunteer time for that RedBus tour — or the SPS occasions — do so because we’re passionate about community, and want for connecting with folks.

I’m constantly telling individuals to ‘t be shy, but to achieve by helping cover their questions or comments. I might not be aware of solutions to each question requested, however i have a friend who — and I’m always pleased to make new connections and supply introductions. 

The way forward for the RedBus 

They at AvePoint has already been planning more RedBus tours, so keep watching the social channels for updates.

With the much change happening inside the Microsoft ecosystem, and also the rapid pace of innovation around SharePoint and Office 365, the city needs greater number of these smaller sized and focused community occasions, giving users within-offered areas the opportunity to learn and get questions, making connections. 

Personally, I really hope to become in Nigeria this fall to sign up in another RedBus tour, particularly with the 2 Microsoft data centers being launched later this season. Should you hear news of the RedBus tour in your town, I encourage you for more information and participate, if you’re able to.

Don’t miss this excellent chance for any deep dive into SharePoint and Office 365 in your house town! 


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