I have only attended two SQLSaturdays and both were in Dallas. The first was May 2010 (my post from last year) and the second a few weeks ago on April 2. I have to say, when comparing the two, this year’s event was hands down 10 times better.
Let me clarify a few things first. When I attended the event last year I was just starting to get into the community. With following so many SQL people, and having conversations here and there on Twitter, I had not met anyone in person yet. So, volunteering allowed me the opportunity I was looking for. To meet many great people within the SQL community.
This year was different. I knew the location, and area of the event. I knew some of the cool people from the NTSSUG and I had volunteered the previous year. So even though I was excited, it was a different kind of excitement.
I was able to leave early enough to take a leisurely drive and arrive mid-afternoon on Friday in Dallas. This also enabled me to show up to the event setup meeting and lend a hand with whatever needed to be done to get ready for the next day. There were minor things like hanging a few signs and some other small things. Once we were finished I was invited to the speaker get together. I was not expecting that, but graciously accepted the invite.
Once I arrived I recognized a few people so began to mingle, after all, that’s what we were there for, no? I was able to meet the likes of Jessica Moss ( twitter | blog ), she was really cool, but not as tall as she looks on twitter 🙂 . David Smithley ( twitter | blog ), I did not realize he was a Texas boy too. I was able to talked at length with David Stein ( twitter | blog ), he is one funny and crazy (in a good way) SOB. If you get a chance, look up his posts on his hiking adventure in the Las Vegas area. I also talked with the one and only Wes Brown ( twitter | blog ) he is one cool guy (working the brownie points here). I had been planning on attending the special “live” viewing of infamous MidnightDBA’s ( twitter | blog ), (Jen and Sean McCown) show but it was getting late and I was getting tired so I just went back to my room.
The next day the event was nothing short awesome. I arrived early enough to grab some coffee and mingle a bit. When getting coffee I ran into Andy Warren ( twitter | blog ), I mentioned to him I had seen him the night before but did not get a chance to introduce myself or talk. He then said, “I see you on Twitter from time to time.” That shocked me for a minute. Someone of Andy’s reputation and stature and he recognized my name. Well, my Twitter handle, not really my name, but they are getting to be synonymous. After a few minutes I checked my watch and politely excused myself since I was going to be late to the first presentation I was supposed to help with.
I had been assigned as the room attendant for Wes Brown‘s presentation on Solid State Storage Deep Dive. I have heard Wes talk about Solid State drives several times (he is the leader of the CACTUSS group) but this was a new one. Next on my assignment was room attendant for Adam Saxton’s ( twitter | blog ) presentation on Getting Started with Reporting Services, this was a basic class and well received. He also mentioned a few cool things coming out with the next release of Reporting Services (Denali) that should be really cool to use (read his blog for more information).
Then I kind of stumbled into Andy Warren’s presentation on Building a Professional Development Plan. I can look back now and say that presentation had the biggest impact on me (more about that in a future post) that weekend. Over the years I had been doing some of the things he spoke about but never put them down in writing. As a result I have now.
After lunch I attended Jessica Moss’s presentation, Introducing Microsoft’s EDIM Products. After some technical issues that were cleared up or made worse) by the likes of Steve Jones ( twitter | blog ) and David Stein, Jessica got under way. She mentioned a few features in Denali’s Integration Service that are going to be really cool to use. Then there was Sean McCown’s ( twitter | blog ) presentation, How to curse in an interview. Sean’s presentations are always entertaining and informative.
Then the next big event was the end of day raffle. As usual at these types of events there were some really cool prizes. Congrats to all that one something. Even those who “never win anything!” Congrats to Eric Humphrey ( twitter | blog ).
At the after event Networking Social I was able to talk with some new SQL friends like Adam Saxton , really nice guy. Even though I was assigned to assist with his room during his presentation we did not have time to talk. So I took advantage of the opportunity then. I was able to talk with Andy Warren again too (by now it seems I like I was stalking him). He had some really enlightening things to say about SQLSaturdays, the vision, how it was started and where he hopes to see things in the future. I was able to talk more with Jessica Moss, and found out she resides and grew up in Virginia not far from where I lived for about 15 years.
I also talked with the usual suspects Ryan Adams ( twitter | blog ), and Tim Mitchell ( twitter | blog ), Jeremy Marx ( twitter | blog ). It is just not possible to list everyone here I talked. Sorry if I did not mention your name. Hopefully, with a little luck and a lot of hard work we will host an event in Austin and get to see some of the new friends I made that day. (Stay tuned for details)
I am not sure you noticed, I didn’t until I was proofing this post. At first I referred to everyone “people”. At the end of the post, I referred to them as friends. Hopefully, they see me in the same light.
As you can see, from one event to another, from one year to the next, getting involved in the SQL community, it’s all about perspective.