Archive for May, 2010

SQL Saturday 35 Recap


I made my way to Dallas to take part in the SQL Saturday #35 that the NTSSUG was sponsoring.  After reading the excellent reviews from Jonathan Gardner, AJ Mendo, and Bill Fellows.  I thought Id keep this very short and say “I concur!”  –Profound aint it?

Ok, Ill dig a little deeper–

I saw some great Sessions, met some great people, and caught up with some old friends.  All In all a great way to spend a Saturday!

Having had more than a little experience with putting on large SQL events, I think the volunteers and organizers of the event really need to pat themselves on the back, they pulled off a wonderful event and did it with style.  In my opinion, one of the best measures of success when trying to tell how well an event “worked” is to gauge what the event looked like to a normal attendee.  By that measure Id say the even the toughest critic would say it was a resounding success.  Everything looked buttery smooth, and this “normal attendee”  didnt see any obvious distractions.  It looks like the SQL Saturday model appears to be maturing at a very rapid pace, and this is excellent news!  In talking with the organizers at the after party, they were relaying some of their more interesting challenges, I’m not sure I said it at the time (maybe too many beers??) so Ill repeat it here for posterity: I hope the organizers aren’t too hard on themselves because no matter what level of prep, thought, or organization you put into an event, something is ALWAYS going to slip through the cracks and/or not work quite as expected.  How these “challenges” opportunities are handled is what separates the avg from the great, and in this case everything was great.

1 general observation I do have –> The after party of the event was, as usual, one of the great benefits of this event and I made plenty of contact with others at Humperdinks and while it was obvious that a few of the speakers, and a most of the volunteers showed up, I suspect I was one of less than 10 “regular” attendees that attended.  This is a tragic situation and something that we in the SQL Community need to figure out how to increase participation.  The information&contact info gained from the social pieces of community events is an aspect that most attendees are obviously overlooking.  I’ve often wondered if it was apathy or just lack of communication about these events and this time it was obviously not communication, It was pretty tough for anyone to overlook the after party event at #sqlsat35, I saw the after party mentioned in at least 3 different places in the guide book, not to mention verbally at the closing reception.  I’m not sure how we can encourage people to attend these events but, they are a core part of the “connect” piece of the equation.

I’ll be attending SQL Saturday 35

I’m happy that I finally figured out how to clear my schedule enough to get to Dallas and soak up some free SQL Server Training

If you happen to be at the SQL Saturday #35 in Dallas this weekend, please introduce yourself.  Ill be there and as always wearing my (Ugly)green SQLPASS 2006 laptop bag.

I really wish PASS still gave out real laptop bags, you’d be surprised how many people will stop and ask you about it if they’re SQL Server related.  Its too bad they decided to do away with this ice breaking networking tool in favor of a 1 time use, throw it in the trash poly bag.

I’m excited that I’ll finally be able to experience a SQL Saturday firsthand.  Sure its about a 6ish hour drive but I’m sure the experience will be worth it.  Not to mention being able to catch up with a few friends who I’ve spied on the attendance list

Expect a post after the event with my first SQL Saturday impressions

Special Houston Area SQL Server group meeting

Want to learn SQL from a master (or even better a pair of masters?)  Have a free evening?  Live within a reasonable drive of Houston?  You wont want to miss this presentation.  Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to listen to hundreds of different SQL speakers and 2 people who would make my short list of “don’t miss presenters” happen to be presenting at a HASSUG meeting this month.

If your not in Houston, I’d recommend using the LiveMeeting link!!

The following Info is from the site

Special Evening Meeting in THE WOODLANDS!

When: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – 6:30pm-8:30pm

Where: Woodforest National Bank

25231 Grogans Mill, Suite 550
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Topic: Essential Database Maintenance

Presenters: Kimberly Tripp & Paul Randal, SQLSkills

LiveMeeting Link for May 18 presentation –

Online portion of meeting to begin at 7pm

Conference Call for audio – 1-888-320-3585 (passcode 76027128)

PASS Summit Call for Speakers Now Open or “enter now for your chance to win!”

Hey, I bet you’ve heard by now that the PASS Call for speakers is now open.

No matter what your skill level as a public speaker, I would encourage you to submit an abstract.  Even if you think you’re not good enough or don’t have enough speaking experience, go ahead and submit an abstract.  It may be your lucky day and your abstract will be selected, at worst it will be practice in the art of composing a good abstract.

Why will this be good experience?  After looking through thousands of abstract submissions for years I’ve decided that composing a good abstract is an art.  It requires equal parts black magic and pixie dust to make a good abstract, and even when you have that it takes a bit of luck to get it accepted at a national conference.

In order to help potential speakers understand why their abstracts weren’t selected, last year I asked the review teams to tag each unaccepted abstract with a reason that it couldn’t be accepted.  As you might expect this created quite a bit of extra work for the teams but, for new speakers there should be good value in knowing whether the reason for no selection was the competition, a poor abstract, lack of interest in the topic, or some other reason noted.  The system isn’t perfect by any means because we don’t have the means to provide a detailed reason for no selection but, hopefully its useful.

One final reason I think everyone reading this should submit an abstract—> if during the submission process you select the “speaker bureau” checkbox, your info will be used by other PASS events needing speakers so you will have more potential exposure that will help you get the experience needed to speak at the Summit.

Important pages I would use if I were submitting an abstract to ANY SQL related event

I love examples, and learning from examples is what works for me so the currently submitted abstract list is a wonderful resource for learning how to write an abstract, not to mention scoping out the competition

The definition page – Obviously you cant submit a session if you don’t know the rules

Pre/Post Conference prerequisites – Already an expert? ready to present a full day and get the recognition you deserve? this one is for you

Understanding the selection process – Want to know how your abstract will be evaluated?  This is the place!

The speaker resource page – lots of good info here, don’t be afraid to dig around

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