I am an outsider here.

All around me are people who spend their professional lives working in SharePoint. Me - I'm a jack of all trades, dabbling in a variety of development technologies. But I never buried myself in SharePoint, learning its secrets and architecture. It's clear the others at this conference have.

I came to SQL Saturday because some of my co-workers are attending, because my employer (Sogeti) is a sponsor, and because it is close to my home.

But I also came precisely because I have such limited experience with SharePoint. Sometimes we need to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone: to explore technologies that are mysteries to us. We need to learn how people solve problems using other tools and other patterns.

SharePoint developers boast a strong community in Michigan. User group participation is very high and this conference attracted 163 attendees (not including sponsors and speakers). There is also a strong .Net community in Michigan and I don't see much communication between the two communities. It's a shame because there is a great deal we can learn from one another.

One of the most well-attended sessions at SharePoint Saturday was Karl Swedberg's jQuery talk, even though Karl admitted he knew nothing about SharePoint.

SharePoint is just one area where I can expand my knowledge. To be a better developer, I need to reach out beyond what I do every day and find out what others are doing. I won't become an expert by spending a day at a conference, but I will improve my perspective and I'll be better for that.