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SQLSaturday #4 Lessons Learned

Earlier in the week I posted a quick & positive note about the event, today I'll add some notes about things that could have gone better. Finding places for improvement doesn't detract all from the value delivered to attendees or the efforts of the volunteer speakers!

  • We went with a smaller number of sessions at 75 minutes each to match the co-located Code Camp, trying to make it possible for attendees to cross events. In practice I saw very few cross over, and we would have been better off to have offered more sessions to increase the draw of the event.
  • We had a larger than usual drop from the actual registration count. I attribute that to; having to pay $10 to park, no free lunch (and no simple way to get to lunch), it being held on a summer Saturday, and to having less content than at previous events (12 sessions vs usually 30-36). I think having lunch and more sessions the most important points.
  • Just didn't quite generate the "buzz" we've come to love at these events. SQL rooms where not all located together, and the rest of the crowd was upstairs. Having a really large building actually works against us, there's value in putting people in a more constrained area.
  • There were a lot of free books, but they were just put out to grab if you wanted. Lots of people didn't hear about the books until they were gone. Our technique of giving out book tickets is a simple way to alleviate that and exercise minimal control.
  • Schedules and flyers weren't posted, leading to a lot of confusion the first two hours of the day.
  • Coffee was only on the upper floor, out of the way for SQL attendees
  • Not sure co-locating events is a huge win, it's mostly different audiences
  • Logistics for the event was weird because the communities were only responsible for content, MS/Convention Center handled check in, flyers, etc. So we ended up not doing some of the things that make events run smooth - didn't leverage lessons learned.
  • We had Sunday sessions planned that encouraged laptops, but we couldn't get a room with tables/power to the tables, had to run extension cords.




I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


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