San Francisco

Last month I flew to San Francisco for a week of meetings. My new colleagues at Silverside were coming across for a conference the week of February 20, so we split the distance and met half way. We held three days of planning meetings for 2017 and then did the conference thing; me for one day, and the others for the full three days.

Some comments about San Francisco and the time there:

1. Mixed Remote and In-Person Meetings. While we can sometimes get everyone in the same physical room for a meeting, it’s more usual in organisational life to have some people together and some not present. That was true for our three days of meetings in San Francisco too. We made good use of the collaboration and communication tools available to us to bridge the geographical divide, including a Surface Hub at Silverside HQ in Rotterdam, a couple of Surface Pro 4’s in San Francisco, and Skype for Business. We had some teething problems over the days, mostly due to poor WiFi in the hotel, but on the whole it did actually work. And regardless of the technology issues, it was good to renew relationships with the Silverside colleagues I had met before, and to begin that process with those I had not.

2. Regus Was Fantastic. On the first day we needed a good meeting room just for a day, and after looking at the options, we booked an office at Regus Mid-Market. Good clean facilities, quiet working environment, good network speeds, etc. Highly recommended.

3. Swimming Pool. The hotel didn’t have a swimming pool, but Active Sports Club Union Square was a 10-minute walk up the road. If you’ve read any of my books, you might have seen the line in my bio that says “Michael enjoys running and cycling, and swimming any time he can find a pool.” The closest pool to where I live in New Zealand is a 30-minute drive, so with a pool 10-minutes walk away in San Francisco, I made good use of it. I went six of the seven days I was in town, swam 585 lengths, or just over 13km. That was just fantastic for dealing with jet lag, getting good exercise, and doing something out of the ordinary while away from home. Of course, swimming that much is what the swimming super stars do every single day. The facilities at Active Sports Club Union Square were top rate, and I’ll be back whenever I’m in town.

4. Heart Rate. In January I purchased a FitBit Charge 2, with the heart rate monitor built it. So I’d worn it in New Zealand for 2-3 weeks before leaving for the United States, and knew what my general stats were. What I found most interesting was that being away from home and in SF saw an immediate increase of 15% in my resting heart rate. I slept as best I could. I exercised 6 out of 7 days – slightly more than at home. But I ate different food, was away from home, and the ambient noise in downtime SF was significantly higher than at home – all through the day and night. It took 14 days after getting back home for my resting heart to return to its pre-trip level. I plan to monitor this on future trips; it was quite a surprise for me.

Net-net: a good trip, with some positive outcomes and a strong plan for 2017.

A Change of Pace in 2017

In early 2013 I was attending a conference in the United States, and on the man-made beach at the hotel resort was introduced by one of my readers to her boss. It became evident fairly quickly that my interest in user adoption and collaboration strategy was commonly held between the three of us, and after getting back to New Zealand I was invited to present a one-day workshop based on my user adoption book for their clients. That happened in June of that year. The next year it was October (and the workshop was presented twice). The year after that was June again (and presented twice again). And while there was no workshop last year (due to my unavailability mid-year), I helped the firm with its positioning to do more in the user adoption and change management space across a wider geographical footprint. And when we met in person again during my September visit last year, we started talking about a more regular and formalised collaboration in 2017.

Net-net: With thanks to Roland and Effy, I’m joining Silverside as a Research Consultant for PACE, Silverside’s implementation methodology for change management. I will be working from New Zealand most of the time, with a couple of visits scheduled to work with my new colleagues (including the first in a couple of weeks to IBM Connect in San Francisco).

It’s pretty cool how business relationships that start small can flourish into something much larger when the people stuff is done right. In our highly connected world, I’m grateful for readers, friends, colleagues, and advisors across the globe, and I look forward to making a contribution in a changed way in 2017.

Effective Use of Office 365 – September 23 in Brussels


On Friday September 23, in conjunction with Bart from, I will be in Brussels to present a half-day workshop called How to Make Effective Use of Microsoft Office 365.

In this workshop you will learn about the most recent features in Office 365 and exactly how you can create value from these features: how you can make your business stronger by using them.
This workshop will be based on Michael’s new book titled Re-Imagining Productive Work with Microsoft Office 365. We will work on three scenarios (chapters in the book): managing meetings, holding discussions and running team projects. All attendees to the workshop will receive a (digital) copy of the book.

For details and to register (space is limited), please see Eventbrite.

The Art of the Possible: Digital Transformation in a Changing UK – September 20 in London


On Tuesday September 20, with thanks to the team at Automated Intelligence, I will be speaking at The Art of the Possible: Digital Transformation in a Changing UK in London.

Cloud is changing the digital landscape forever. What does that mean to you?

Come along on 20th September to learn how Microsoft and Automated Intelligence are helping customers take advantage of digital innovation.

Hear from industry experts, take part in workshops and hear from private and public sector organisations who have embarked on their digital transformation journeys.

How much can your business be transformed in a day? We’ll show you the Art of the Possible at Microsoft’s new HQ in London. The results will astound you!

Following a series of key talks, my session is in the afternoon, called Reimagining Transformation and Productivity with Office 365 (1.50pm to 2.15pm).

See The Art of the Possible for details and to apply for a seat at the event.

SharePoint Congress 2016 – September 22 in Netherlands


On Thursday September 22 I will be speaking at the SharePoint Congress 2016 in Utrecht, hosted by Entopic.

On September 22, 2016 Entopic organizes Congres SharePoint & Office 2016. This fifth edition of the yearly Dutch SharePoint conference will give best practices around governance, roadmap design and will give a vision on the future of SharePoint in organizations. The conference is focused around the business use of SharePoint and offers visitors the opportunity to inform themselves about business applications, new developments and best practices around SharePoint. It is intended for senior management, communication staff, information managers and IT professionals. In addition to the accumulation of knowledge, the network factor is clearly present at the conference.

I’m looking forward to attending and learning from the other speakers and delegates during the day.

I have two sessions to give:

  • The opening keynote called Your Future with SharePoint? That’s from 9.30am to 10.15am. Mark Morrell (of Intranet Pioneer) will give a second keynote to share his experience on SharePoint intranets from 10.15am.

  • Breakout session on Creating a Roadmap for Office 365, from 11.20am to 12.00pm.

The Congress runs for the full day, with dual-stream breakouts running for most of the day. I’m looking forward to it.

See the programme for more details, and get registered to attend.

Keynote at the Digital Workplace Conference NZ

In 5 weeks I’ll be up in Auckland for the Digital Workplace Conference. In addition to the two workshops I will be presenting, I am delighted to announce here that I will be presenting the opening keynote for the conference.

Change Management for Digital Transformation

Achieving digital transformation requires the right combination of both – digital and transformation – as well as the inclusion of a few other elements. Digital enables transformation, but transformation requires more than just the availability of digital tools. In the context of Office 365, and drawing lessons from leading organisations here and abroad, let’s construct a framework for approaching digital transformation, and an appreciation of how change management is the core discipline for enabling a successful journey.

It was a great honour to be invited to present the first keynote, and I’m looking forward to presenting on the above.

(Debbie and her team at ShareThePoint say this is the 21st conference across the region, and the 8th conference in New Zealand. I counted back to check, but yes, I was there at the very first one in July 2009; and actually, it was at that first event that I released my second book SharePoint Roadmap.)

My Two Workshops at the Digital Workplace Conference NZ 2016


I’m excited to be attending and speaking at the Digital Workplace Conference New Zealand in Auckland in early August. In addition to a conference talk or two, I have signed up to present both a pre-conference and post-conference workshop. I joked with a friend that I was a glutton for punishment, but actually I am really looking forward to an incredibly busy and interesting week.

The pre-conference workshop (Monday August 8) is Re-Imagining Productive Work with Office 365 – the one-day version of the workshop that goes with my new book:

The Re-Imagining Productive Work with Microsoft Office 365 workshop is all about exploring the possibilities of using Office 365 in business and work. To many people, Office 365 is just a new name for the Office productivity suite, but nothing could be further from the truth. The workshop is designed around eight core work activities that people do on a regular basis, and looks at the improvement opportunities available by using Office 365.

Audience: This workshop is intended for intranet managers, knowledge managers, Office 365 project managers, solution architects, collaboration strategists, IT decision makers, and others involved in using Office 365 inside their firm.

The post-conference workshop (Thursday August 11) is Driving Effective Use of Office 365:

The Driving Effective Use of Office 365 workshop provides a forum for learning and engagement about helping end users to incorporate appropriate Office 365 capabilities in their day-to-day work. During the one-day workshop, you will learn what effective use looks like, and what needs to be put in place in order to lead users to this outcome. Attendees have multiple opportunities to discuss and debate what they are hearing with other attendees, and to share experiences in driving effective use of Office 365. It is a very participative workshop!

Audience: This course is intended for intranet managers, knowledge managers, Office 365 project managers, solution architects, collaboration strategists, IT decision makers, and others involved in using Office 365 inside their firm.

Both are excellent workshops. You’ll learn a lot from me, and a lot from the other delegates. I strongly encourage you to come if you have anything to do with the effective use of Office 365 in your firm.

Go for it! Register for the Conference and my Workshops

Europe Visit in September 2016

I will be in Europe in September, speaking at a conference in the Netherlands. That is Thursday September 22. I also have a tentative booking for an Office 365 workshop on Wednesday September 21.

That means I have up to three days available during the week for other workshops or consulting engagements.

Days available – anywhere in Europe or the United Kingdom – are:
– Monday September 19
– Tuesday September 20
– Friday September 23

How can I help you in your work? Please get in touch to discuss.

Then the Footsteps Came


Along the icy road we drove,
To the hospital for 9am, an appointment to keep.
But when we arrived she was underway.
And so we waited, and she swayed.

Swaying through the morning, we waited for the child.
Been here ten times before, knowing what to do.
The midwife encouraging the lady,
“You’re doing well. You’ll hold this baby today.”

But some hours on a darker turn was taken,
The baby’s cord not in the right place.
The furtive glances increasing in frequency,
The midwife’s words of reassurance unable to erase deepening lines of forehead worry.

With a last look of resignation and a slight nod of the head, Carolyn pushes the red button.
Then the footsteps came.
A rush of many women to save a life,
Each with a job to do, well practiced, flowing together intense and swift.

On the cliff between death and life,
It’s in the hands of George who wields the knife.
She’s delicate of frame, despite consuming voluminous medical books galore.
Enables her to be the life saver.

And much later, although only minutes had passed,
The baby is wheeled out sporting a mask.
But the oxygen needed to resuscitate,
Is no longer needed when we get upstairs with the neonate.

The lady is stitched back together again,
Although the grogginess sits as a heavy blanket for some hours.
And while she is there, I hold the little girl,
And know that in many of her footsteps yet to come, it will be up to me to bring life.

In different words:
Michael and Katrina welcomed Rebekah Carolyn Sampson, weighing 4.8kg (10 pounds 9) on Monday June 6, 2016. Born by emergency c-section at 1.44pm. Baby well. Mother recovering and joyful. A little sister for David, Matthew, Philip, Daniel, Timothy, Susanna, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Joshua. Many thanks to midwife Jean, and the staff at Christchurch Women’s Hospital for their care, attention, and life-saving expertise

April Fool’s Day

I was subjected to a number of April Fool’s Day pranks today, as recounted by one of my sons:

Happy April Fool’s Day! Last night and this morning provided a lot of laughs for me. A younger brother stuck my mouse to the mouse pad with blue tack, and my sister hung a pink and blue dress on the clothes hooks I recently put up in my room. My older brother also switched around the drawers at my computer. Here’s a few of the pranks I pulled:

  • Hiding my dad’s biking/running gear in the washing machine
  • Replacing my dad’s phone with a toy one and his computer mouse with a Lego rat
  • Putting a tiny computer screen on my dad’s desk in front of his much larger one
  • Removing the refill from a brother’s pen
  • Pulling out all the plugs on another brother’s computer
  • Changing my mother’s desktop background—a picture of our family—to the same picture with my youngest brother’s face pasted over everyone else’s
  • Texting “Happy birthday” to a friend

And a few more, which were funny but not quite appropriate for public mention. All in all, today has been a great day for laughter and pranks, and I’m happy with what I’ve done this April 1st. That doesn’t mean I’m going to refrain in the American April 1st, though… Hey. It’s only once a year. Might as well play it to the fullest.

Actually, when I came into my office this morning I was rather slow to notice the changes. I thought there were all good logical explanations for what had happened (a little kid left the toy phone on my desk, another son wants to get rid of a monitor, my mouse needs to be charged, etc.), but it did finally dawn on me that I’d been pranked.

Thanks Matt, I guess 😉