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The annual SQL PASS international conference will be here in less than a week. OMG!!! It’s been a year already? First of all, if you haven’t registered yet, then why not? It is THE event for the SQL Community or #SQLFamily as we like to refer to it. Still not sure about attending, then check out this page. I promise that you will not be disappointed.
For those of you who have registered have you looked at the schedule yet? Do you know all of the great speakers that you want to see? Are you coming to see me compete in the Speaker Idol contest? I will be up in the first round on Wednesday from 03:15 PM – 04:30 PM in TCC 101. If I survive (and win) round one, then I will be competing in the final on Friday from 03:30 PM – 04:45 PM in the same room. Come see eleven other great speakers compete for a chance to receive a guaranteed speaking slot in next years Summit, but mainly come to cheer me on with three hundred of my closest friends.
Now with the shameless plug out-of-the-way, on to the main purpose of this post. Here are my tips for enjoying #Summit15:
- Meet people! Shake hands, but more importantly give them a big #SQLHug. We (well most of us) love #SQLHugs. Find me, give me a #SQLHug. I will be glad and happy to meet you! Standing in line for a coffee at the conference? Say hello to someone, introduce yourself. Set aside your introverted ways for this week!!
- Follow people on twitter before hand and let them know you’d like to meet them in person. Ask them where they are going to be during the week and setup a rendezvous point with them. Discuss some ideas and share a frosty beverage.
- Speaking of social media…if you setup your avatar to be a cute little ninja character, then do not be disappointed when no one knows who you are in real life. If I see that cute ninja, I am sure to say hi but I don’t think I will see him there. Use your real photo so I can find you!
- Go to as many networking events as you can possibly fit into the week. If you are turning in at 9 o’clock, then you are missing the best part of the conference. I have made so many lasting friendships over the years mainly because I went to the networking events and to the impromptu ones at Bush Gardens and the Tap House (not sure what those are, then bingle it with #SQLFamily and/or #SQLKaraoke).
- When NEW friends ask you to miss a session to go plant some gum on the Bubble Gum wall, go! Enjoy yourself, this conference is fun! Purchase the sessions and watch the ones you missed when you get back!
- Charge your phone, better yet carry a charging battery in your pocket and keep it charged throughout the day. You do not want to miss that great photo-op with your favorite speaker because of a dead battery.
- Ask questions. Don’t understand something, ask questions. Go home with answers to your problems!
- Go sight seeing, explore the city! Go a day early and stay a day later and check out the Pike Place Market, find the first Starbucks in that same area, visit the EMP Museum, view the skyline from the top of the Space Needle, and many, many more.
- Hang out in the community zone as its always an epi-center of fun!
- Wear a kilt! Thursday is kilt day to support the Women in Technology luncheon (which you should go to as well)!
See you there!!!!
I am humbled and honored to have been selected to present my “Backup Strategies are for Losers” presentation at the inaugural SQL Saturday for Cocoa Beach, Florida. This is SQL Saturday #231 as well as being the first for the Space Coast SQL Users Group, so please make your way to the chocolate beach on July 27th for a great day of SQL Learning.
You can register here, come on you know you want to hit the beach for the weekend. There is also a group rate code for the Hilton (SQLP), where the event is being held, that expires tomorrow (June 28th). You can reserve your room here. However, I will be staying just down the road at the Courtyard where my wife and I stayed on our wedding night before our honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas. I look forward to seeing you there. Enjoy!
On day two of our adventure, we spent the day reconnecting with my wife’s uncles and cousins and their respective families which was the original purpose of the trip. I had a great time meeting all of these people, what a great family.
However, on day three we set out for the tourist destinations of my youth: the Gateway Arch and the Saint Louis Zoo. The Gateway Arch is now a national park and it is a beautiful and spacious park at the base of the Mississippi River with the historic courthouse in the background as shown in the gallery below. Also at the base of the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion which seemed much grander when I was a kid but did have some animatronic characters for me to enjoy.
Later in the day we also visited the Saint Louis Zoo which was free (with a $15 parking fee, still not sure how that’s free). The zoo seemed bigger than when I was a kid which is always a plus. What a great day of adventuring. Enjoy!
Growing up with a stepfather from St. Louis, Missouri, we went there at least every summer it seemed as a small child. These were fond vacations from my memories: eating at the McDonald’s on the Mississippi River, going up in the Gateway Arch, fishing in the Ozarks, catching a Cardinal game in the old Busch Stadium, going to the zoo, and who could forget all of the museums. Great memories indeed.
My wife and I were trying to decide what new adventure we would take together on our anniversary. Being that her mother is originally from St. Louis and she hasn’t seen her family there in about twelve years, we thought this would make a great vacation getaway. I could meet some of her family, take in a Cardinals game on opening day in the NEW Busch Stadium, and ultimately relive a great many childhood memories with my wife who experienced many of those same memories separately.
What would make this even better? Meeting up with some #SQLFamily members or even a SQL Server User Group meeting along the way. No such luck in St. Louis as apparently they only meet once a quarter and their meeting was this month. Does anyone know of any meetings nearby or on the way? Any of my #SQLFamily on the way or close by that they would want to meet up? I will be coming through Atlanta as well. Maybe we can get together? Enjoy!
My wife and I are confronted within the next year with an interesting quandary. Come August, we will be empty-nesters at a young age. Our children will be either on their own or in college. This puts us in a unique position to move onto the next stage of our life. We still have around twenty years left in our professional careers, but where do we want to spend that? Do we stay in our beloved small town?
At this point, it does not look like our children will stick around to start families here so there is really nothing other than a lifetime of friends holding us to this town. We will however, keep our house and possibly move back here for retirement. Do we take the plunge and move somewhere totally outside of our comfort zones and reap the rewards. Do we live the life of nomads moving every couple of years to a new town just for the sake of new and exciting opportunities? We almost feel like high school seniors trying to pick the right college. What do you think?
As I mentioned earlier today on twitter, I think I will get a flu shot next year before the Summit. However, several friends stated that they did the same and still got sick after returning home. Was it the air travel? Trapped in a tube with hundreds of people or spending the week with 4,000 people from all over the world. I am not a germophobe by any stretch and if getting sick is what it takes to meet hundreds of people from around the world then so be it. But I wonder if I can minimize it somewhat next year. Thoughts?
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.
- 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.’
- 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.
- 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.
- Buy an extended battery case for your cell phone as I saw many people with them, what a great idea.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Never pass up an opportunity to hang out and network with someone when it presents itself.
- Buy the session DVDs so that you can watch them after the conference.
- 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.
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!
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.
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 wit.sqlpass.org, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!