SharePoint Server MVP Again for 2012

On January 1, promptly at 13:00 EST (that’s 1pm to us Yanks), I got the email from Microsoft informing me that I had received the MVP Award for SharePoint Server again for 2012.


As in 2011, I feel tremendously honored and humbled to receive the MVP. I view it as a statement by my peers that what I do in the community has value, even if that isn’t the real reason I received it.

Yes, there’s some controversy around the MVP award. I’ve seen the good (many of these), the bad, and the ugly in posts about it over the last week or so. I can understand and echo some of the bad and the ugly, frankly. If there’s a point to the whole MVP program, I’m not sure what it is, either. No client of mine really cares about it if they know what it even is, other than to give me a gibe or two about it from time to time. Microsoft really doesn’t choose to share much with me that I can’t learn by following links on Twitter. The group of us who are MVPs represent vastly different skills sets, attitudes, and – dare I say it – aptitudes – me included, of course.

What the MVP *has* meant for me over the last year, though, is that I’ve gotten to interact with that incredibly interesting, diverse, and talented bunch of my fellow MVPs. We don’t all see eye to eye all the time, but that’s part of the fun of it. We have interesting conversations and debates about how SharePoint works, how we can best solve problems with it, and where we hope it goes as a technology. At the MVP Summit in Redmond last year – and I look forward to it again in February – I was surrounded with the best and the brightest in the SharePoint world. That interaction alone is worth being proud of the award. Whether or not Microsoft cares about us or wants our input is certainly moot, but I’ve written that part off by now.

So, thank you Microsoft for seeing something in me that deserved the MVP award, and I look forward to more and more opportunities to learn from my fellow MVPs and the rest of the SharePoint community in 2012. I’m having a ball.


Memorable Moments from 2010…and What’s to Come in 2011

Well, what a year 2010 was, and what a year 2011 looks to be. I abhor all of this end of the year / start of the year reminiscing and promising, but here I go anyway: I thought I’d do it, too. [I started this over the holidays and then got sick and it languished as a draft. figured I’d set it free.]


2010 was quite a year for me professionally. Mainly due to the state of the economy, I had some lows and blabbed about them here and here, among other places like Twitter. Being an independent consultant running one’s own business can sometimes do that to you. There was far more upside than downside, though. Let’s focus on those high points, shall we?

USPJ Academy

In January a reprobate named Bjørn Furuknap and I started talking about his idea for an online Academy focused entirely on SharePoint. The more I heard, the more I was intrigued. I’d always wanted to try my hand at teaching somehow, and this seemed like a great way to do it. After meeting Bjørn in person at SPTechCon in SFO in February, I signed on to maybe create a course or two. I also had the pleasure of meeting Bjørn’s partner in crime, Anil Sharma, with whom Bjørn founded the Academy, through Skype (which is such a common way to “meet” people these days). That led to many more conversations, me taking on more little tasks here and there, and now I’m fully entrenched in the USPJ Academy. We even had a faculty meeting in June in Dubai where we all met in person to brainstorm about the Academy and work on the foundations.

I’ve built a set of courses focused on what I see as the three key Middle Tier SharePoint development disciplines: Data View Web Part Basics, Enhancing the User Experience with jQuery, and Introduction to the SharePoint Web Services.

The Academy has been great fun, and it’s really going well. Bjørn and Anil and the rest of the Faculty have been great to work with. We continue to be excited about what we’re doing and the feedback that we’re getting from our students.

Middle Tier

Speaking of the Middle Tier, in April, I published a white paper called The Middle Tier Manifesto: An Alternative Approach to Development with Microsoft SharePoint.  Talking about Middle Tier development has gotten me either:

  1. Opprobrium and scorn
  2. Thanks and interest

The former tends to come from purists who say that the term “middle tier” already means something else. I know that, of course; thus the capitalization to indicate a different meaning. The latter comes from people who use SharePoint and can’t figure out how to get things done using only formal .NET development. Regardless what we call it, this “other” way of developing on top of SharePoint has legs.


Some of those legs can come from using my SPServices library. My work on SPServices continued apace, and it really moved into the mainstream. In 2009, there had been a total of 2400 downloads, but in 2010 there were over 15,000. Now that’s a ramp up!

Not only were there a lot of downloads, but some of the big players in the SharePoint world started taking a look, providing feedback, and also using the library in their projects. I also see from the email domains from which I receive questions that some of the largest organizations in the world are using SPServices here and there.

It’s truly gratifying to know that SPServices is in such wide use out there. Of course, that also implies a real responsibility on my end to keep it moving forward.

Client Work

Of course, the backbone to everything was the client work I did throughout the year. As I mentioned above, there were some lean times, but in the second half of the year things really picked up. I had one long term project which lasted over six months, as well as a number of smaller projects, anything from a few hours to a few weeks. All projects teach me something (I like to learn!), and there were lots of growth opportunities in all of these projects.

This Blog

Another thing that really took off in 2010 was visits to my blog, which is yet another gratifying thing. When I write stuff, I never know what is going to be helpful.I don’t try to titillate or blog about whatever’s hot, but to offer a little of what I’ve been learning. In fact, if I wanted to pander to the stats, I’d write a lot more posts about Harvey Balls. That’s consistently the search term which brings the most people to my blog. The nice folks at WordPress sent me a summary of the year’s activity, and I include it ant the end of this post.

SharePoint MVP

Even though it technically happened on January 1, 2011, I was awarded the 2011 Microsoft MVP Award for SharePoint based on my work in 2010. What an honor, and I truly look forward to whatever having the MVP status will bring.


Here’s what’s going to happen in 2011… Well, actually, I have no real idea, but here’s what I *hope* will happen.

  • I’d love to work on more seriously challenging client problems
  • I’d like to see USPJA really take off and become one of the gold standards for SharePoint training
  • I’d like to move SPServices forward significantly, especially to work even better with SharePoint 2010
  • I’d like to do more writing and speaking
  • I’d like to meet with and talk to even more of the great people in the SharePoint community

Thanks to all of you for a swell 2010 and here’s to an even better 2011!

My WordPress Stats for 2010

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 190,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 8 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 174 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 548 posts. There were 529 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 26mb. That’s about 1 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was October 12th with 1083 views. The most popular post that day was SPXSLT (SharePoint XSL Templates) Release 0.0.1.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for harvey balls, funny comics, harvey balls powerpoint, jquery opacity ie, and harvey balls powerpoint 2007.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


SPXSLT (SharePoint XSL Templates) Release 0.0.1 October 2010


Cascading Dropdown Columns in a SharePoint Form – Part 1 July 2009


Cascading Dropdown Columns in a SharePoint Form – Part 2 July 2009


Microsoft Excel Error: “There was a problem sending the command to the program.” February 2010


jQuery Fun with Animation and Opacity July 2009

I’ve Received the the 2011 Microsoft® MVP Award for SharePoint

Yesterday, I got the very nice — and surprising — news that I’d been awarded a 2011 Microsoft® MVP Award for SharePoint. I’m seriously honored by the recognition of my work in the SharePoint community. If you’d like to read a bit about the Microsoft MVP program, head over to the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Web site.

Believe it or not, and I’m not blowing smoke here, I haven’t been doing anything that I’ve been doing to try to earn awards, but instead to gain the rewards I get from doing fun, interesting work. Sure, some of those rewards are tangible, like a good income, but many of them are intangible, like the feeling at the end of the day that I’ve helped people or developed a good, solid solution.  I love what I do, which I haven’t been able to say very many times in my career. I’m happiest when I’m learning, and SharePoint, and most importantly the community around it, provides an almost limitless opportunity for learning.

This is an award for what I’ve done in the past, but my reputation is only as good as my most recent project, update to SPServices, blog post, or answer to a forum question. I don’t plan to flaunt this award or even talk about it very much. I want to keep doing what I do and also keep enjoying it. There are some who pooh-pooh awards like this (and I’m occasionally one of them), but I’m happy to accept the MVP award based on my work in 2010 because I’m proud of what I’ve been doing. Now I have to get back to work. There’s more stuff to do.

p.s. Thanks a million for all of the kind words I’ve been getting since this was announced! I’d try to thanks each and every one of you directly, but I’d miss someone and then you’d all gang up on me and call me names.