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Summit 2012: Lessons Learned

Now that I have been home a day, I thought it would be good to review some of the lessons I learned this week from attending my first SQL PASS Summit.

  1. This week is a marathon, pace yourself.  Enjoy all of the activities but get plenty of rest all week so you will be able to finish the week out.’
  2. Carrying a laptop and a bunch of crap in your backpack all week was not necessary.  Unless you are on call, use an ipad for notes or even your phone.  This added weight will wear you down quickly.
  3. Carrying a power strip was not as necessary as I thought it would be since I didn’t see very many power outlets and since I wasn’t using my laptop.  The only thing that needed charging was my phone.  The ipad holds a great charge all day long.
  4. Buy an extended battery case for your cell phone as I saw many people with them, what a great idea.
  5. Never pass up an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone who you want to meet, I did that a few times this week because they looked busy.  I did not get another chance to meet those people again.
  6. Walk, walk and keep walking.  I had no idea the amount of walking involved this week.  I usually walk about a mile three times a week, but next year I will need to be in much better shape to handle the rigors of walking everywhere all of the time.  I endured it this year but it was not easy.
  7. Be prepared to stand in hot rooms for long periods of time.  Being DBAs, we are usually sitting for most of the day.  Many of the activities here at Summit, were standing room only for hours at a time in rooms that apparently had the heat on even though it was only maybe 55 degrees outside making most of these rooms like saunas for me.
  8. Never pass up an opportunity to hang out and network with someone when it presents itself.
  9. Buy the session DVDs so that you can watch them after the conference.
  10. Most importantly, if you want to do #SQLKaraoke, put your song in early!  I put my name in every night and did not get called once.  What a bummer.

Don’t let this detour you from coming, these are just things I now know and will be better prepared for next year in order to attend the greatest event of the they year, see you then.


The Summit is Over

All good things must come to an end and the 2012 Summit is now officially over for me while I sit in the Atlanta airport waiting on my flight to Tampa. I just said goodbye to my last two friends who joined me on the flight to Atlanta and a new guy I met sitting next to me from Nashville.

The greatest thing I took away from the Summit experience really is the friendships that simply cannot be described here on this blog or at least not and do it justice. Until you’ve experienced the family reunion type atmosphere, you cannot truly understand what makes it so special. If I have any control over it, I do not plan to ever miss another Summit. This is a bold statement, but it is one goal I would like to truly strive for, it is that important to me and my career.

Honestly, I met at least a hundred people personally this week, many of which I knew on twitter beforehand. However, others were people sitting at my table or passing by and who joined in. We are all now connected and I have a great network of SQL Friends now that is strongly built by the bonds of this week and all that we did together. I am already looking for a hotel for next year. See you all in Charlotte!

Summit: The Final Day

Today is the final day of the PASS Summit 2012.  There are still a few great sessions that I want to see today, but I am sad that the conference is coming to an end.  However, yesterday I began looking for a hotel room for next year’s conference in Charlotte so that I can see all of my new friends again.

Last night was the Customer Appreciation Party at the EMP museum which was a fabulous venue for the rockaraoke event.  I also spent some time a group of SQL peeps from South Africa, Holland, Germany, and a Scottish-Australian.  We all had one thing in common:  a love of SQL.  This conference is simply amazing, come join in me in Charlotte next year.  Enjoy!


Summit Women In Technology Luncheon

Today I was honored to attend and blog live from the tenth annual Women In Technology Luncheon at the SQL PASS Summit 2012.   This is my first Women in Technology luncheon at any level.  I have attended several SQL Saturdays but there has not been a WIT event at any of those events.

There was a phenomenal turnout and many people, men and women alike, are sporting the #SQLKilts in honor of the event.  Wendy Pastrick hosted the event and the panel included Kevin Kline, Denise McInerney, Kendra Little, Stefanie Higgins, and Jen Stirrup, the PASSion Award winner for 2012.  Wendy noted that the room was setup for 720 people and from my perspective it appears that the room is close to full, I found out afterwards that their were 695 attendees from the count.

The luncheon was streamed live via PASS TV and on twitter with the #PASSWIT hashtag  and was sponsored by SQL Sentry.  The recording is available here.

Stefanie Higgins, founder of the original WIT luncheon, began by discussing the lack of women in her college computer science program which continued later into a certification course that she attended where she was the only woman in the class.  The instructor ignored her throughout the week and later admitted after she passed the course that he ignored her and was intimidated by her presence in the class.  Stefanie stated that “I think we’ve come a long way, we have more to go though.”

Denise McInerney then discussed that back at her first Summit in 2002 there were only 1 or 2 women in each session and how WIT has women’s participation in the organization as well as SQL Saturday.  She stated that in 2011, the first year that the statistics were collected by PASS, the organization consisted of 15% women among attendees and speakers for SQL Saturdays.  She also stated that women leave technology careers twice as much as their counterparts.

Kevin Kline then discussed the SQL community and how the board grew the Summit into a friendly conference as opposed to bigger conferences like those sponsored by IBM and Oracle.  He also discussed his perspective in raising six daughters and their struggles with technology coming primarily from their friends and not as much from patriarchal structure of society, which has gotten better but still exists.

Jen Stirrup then spoke about the declining percentages of women in technology across Europe.  She also discussed their efforts to grow the WIT organization across Europe.  Although they have had low numbers of women attending the SQL Saturday WIT events, they are seeing many men attending and discussing the issues surrounding WIT and it is encouraging for the future.

Kendra Little, MCM and MVP, starting speaking at SQL Saturday events and she discussed how that changed her outlook as an “employee” and then she started connecting with people in her sessions and that led her realizing that she could be a mentor and a teacher.  She started to feel like she could be a consultant and own her own business whereas when she was an employee previously it had never occurred to her.  Now she encourages other women to start speaking and sharing.

It was at this point that the luncheon was turned over to the floor for questions and comments.  There were many insightful observations and questions from several audience members.  Many people wanted to find resources for their local area so that they could become affiliated with the WIT organization.  They were referred to, which has resources available for everyone if they are interested in starting their own WIT chapter or looking for more information in order to make their local groups more successful.  The e-mail address is also available.

Personally I would like to see more being done in my area with my user group as well as my local SQL Saturdays throughout the State of Florida.  Maybe the discussion will begin with this blog or sometime during the planning of our next SQL Saturday scheduled for March.  Enjoy!

Summit: The Third 24 Hours

The third 24 hours in Seattle were even better than the first two, if that is possible.  I attended Grant Fritchey’s pre-con on Query Performance Tuning yesterday and was blown away with knowledge.  I cannot wait to watch that on DVD to recap my learning.  I then attended the First Timer’s events followed by the Welcome Reception.  These were both great events with an excellent dinner and networking opportunities and I enjoyed them thoroughly.  In the evening I checked out the Tap House and realized that Seattle does not understand the concept of increased air conditioning when you have increasing amounts of people in a building.

Today began the real sessions kicked off by amazing keynote presentations.  I attended a few great sessions and spent a considerable amount of time speaking with vendors about my upcoming project to compare SQL tools.  This was a great chance to talk with the vendors and explain to them what I was looking for and how their tools could help me.  The networking opportunities today were immense and amazing.  Tonight is #SQLKaraoke, stay tuned tomorrow for the updates!

Summit: Second 24 Hours

The second 24 hours in Seattle were even better than the first, if that is possible.  I knew #SQLFamily was amazing, but never realized the level of amazing.  After Redgate’s SQL in the City event, I attended the Andy Warren (b|t) and Steve Jones’ (b|t) networking event at Gordon Biersch.  All I can say is wow, it exceeded my expectations considerably and then some.  I expected a bunch of awkward table conversations as introverts struggled to network.  There were so many conversations and people circling the rooms and introducing themselves stopping at each table.  I met so many people and several of my twitter friends.  The #SQLFamily was so welcoming at this event, thank you Andy and Steve.

From there, several people decided to move onto Bush Garden for the first round of #SQLKaraoke.  It also far exceeded my expectations, but the place was much smaller than I imagined, but I had a blast.  Jason and Sarah Strate were great hosts and now I cannot wait for the next time #SQLKaraoke night on Wednesday so I can sing.

Until next time, enjoy!


Summit: First 24 Hours

After being in Seattle for 24 hours, I thought I would recap briefly for everyone. After a few travel snafus, the first 24 hours were amazing.

I started off seven pounds over on my suitcase and had to do some last-minute shuffling at the baggage counter to my back pack which did not have much room to begin with. That was after driving in the fog where I could only see ten feet front in front of me. My first flight was delayed 20 minutes for fuel and I only had an hour layover in Atlanta. I was worried and stressed out early in the morning to say the least.

After getting to my gate on time in Atlanta I met a twitter friend from South Africa and that was the first of many great encounters for the next 24 hours. I thought I was out of the woods, only to have someone take my suitcase on the shuttle to the airport. Honest mistake, just an aggravation which caused me to not be able to make the duck tour around the city that I wanted to experience. Then I get to my room in the Sheraton and the air conditioning is not working properly. At this point, I am thinking this is going to be a difficult week.

Things turned around quickly though. I met Tom Fox, another twitter friend, and we took the monorail to the space needle. What a blast that was! Then on the way back Tom and I got hustled into buying a couple of CDs on the street from an up and coming artist. We knew we were being hustled, but it was a fun experience to tell everyone back home.
At that point we registered early for the Summit and got lost in the convention center but then we met lots of twitter friends and received some great swag from the conference. From there we got invited by Pam Shaw, my chapter leader, to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. At that point, I got to meet and eat with Jason Brimhall, Andy Leonard, Amy Lewis, Doug Purnell, Michelle Ufford, Jorge Villalobos, Tim Mitchell, Jim Murphy and a few other presenters that honestly I cannot remember because I am horrible with names. What a great time and the cheesecake was awesome but I never saw Penny or Bernadette, weird. I also got meet Denny Cherry and his wife in the lobby of the Sheraton. I went to bed early because after getting up at 130 I was exhausted and I hoped an early first night would help with the rest of the week’s activities.
For breakfast, I ate with Tom Fox and got to meet Neil Hambly, Mark Broadbent, Amy Lewis, and two others. What a great conversation that was. I then headed to Redgate’s SQL in the City event and met a few new people but what was great was walking in and knowing people there. Now you are up to date. Check back tomorrow to see what happened next!

T-1 Days Until the PASS Summit, Time to Pack!

With the DATEDIFF script returning 1 today, I am bouncing off the walls with excitement for tomorrow morning at 2:30 am I head to the airport en route to Seattle for the PASS Summit 2012.  The week-long SQLpalooza kicks off for me on Sunday when I board the plane at 5:30 AM ET and does not end until I return late the next Saturday night.  I am busy going through my checklist and ensuring that my suitcase is packed properly and thoroughly for I am paranoid that I am going to forget something crucial.  See you on the other side, tomorrow.

Haven’t registered for Summit yet? Why not? Come on you know you want to! Enjoy!

T-2 Days Until the PASS Summit, Almost Time To Go!

With the DATEDIFF script returning 2 today, I am like a little kid off on Christmas break staring at the presents under the tree while my parents are at work wondering if I could open the presents early.   The Christmas I am referring to is the PASS Summit 2012.  The week-long SQLpalooza kicks off for me on Sunday when I board the plane at 5:30 AM ET and does not end until I return late the next Saturday night.  Are we there yet?  Are we?  ARE WE?

All I have left to do is some finalized last-minute packing and check-listing.  I am all set to go otherwise and just staring at the clock.  I will see you all next week!  I hope everyone has safe travels and see you in Seattle!

Haven’t registered for Summit yet? Why not? Come on you know you want to! Enjoy!

T-3 Days Until the PASS Summit, I Will Be On TV!

With the DATEDIFF script returning 3 today, I thought I would share with you a really exciting  new service called PASS TV, brought to you from the PASS Summit 2012.   This year they will be streaming LIVE from the Summit for 12 hours a day for all three days.  In addition, the 12 hours of content will be replayed across the next 12 hours in case you missed it the first time.

With PASS TV, there will be keynote sessions, as well as some specially selected technical sessions and community content such as interviews with users from the SQL community.  So if you cannot make it to Seattle this year, at least you can see how much fun we are having while we miss you!  The schedule for PASS TV can be found here.

Haven’t registered for Summit yet? Why not? Come on you know you want to! See you there! Enjoy!

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