I arrived about 7:15 and already quite a few people on hand. Registration was moved to inside this time, just inside the cafeteria, and seemed like a much better traffic flow. Few things I noted on arrival:
- Attendees didn’t receive name badges (this really helps speakers & networking)
- Breakfast set up looked good, no decaf though, and they were trying to break up large muffins to get a better portion size using tongs!
- Plenty of volunteers on hand, and easy to identify in red polos
Sat down to wait on things to start, ended up chatting with Jack Pines from oPASS about reporting and warehousing. About 7:50 am they started announcing the keynote for 8 am. Long walk down to the auditorium (event is held on a college campus) and they were announcing the start would be delayed until about 8:10 to give everyone time to get there. Keynotes are a challenge – worth doing to level set and to recognize sponsors, but I hate waiting on them to start, feels like time would be better spent in a session in most cases.
Found my room and set up early, started typing up these notes, in part to get them done, in part to have it up for a demo for the presentation. Noted that the doors didn’t have a session schedule, a nice to have that often helps attendees get to the right place a little easier. This first session was on networking and I had about 8 attendees, had some good questions, and thinking I’m ready to revise the presentation now after getting a good idea of the average experience level and questions.
Met up with Kendal Van Dyke after the session, he had quite a bit bigger crowd than me, probably 20-25, and then headed to the cafeteria to talk over early ideas for SQLSaturday Orlando coming up this fall. From there I made the rounds chatting with quite a few people and looking at how things were done. Have to say again that I really liked having the volunteers in distinctive shirts, made it easy to see them and that they were all putting in a lot of effort. They had music in the cafeteria which made it seem more fun, almost but not quite a party atmosphere. They also had “prize certificates” for software they were giving away, a great solution and I’m going to borrow that idea, saves a lot of headache to just give them the paper with the license key.
Lunch as Jason’s Deli which is a great choice, and they ordered a staggering 550 lunches! Attendees had lunch tickets and all seemed to go smoothly.
One thing I noticed was relatively few sponsors on site, and I think that was a function of how the sponsor plan was set up. It’s always a challenge to structure that in a way that works for everyone, but I think there is a lot of value in getting as many sponsors to the event as possible, so lowering the entry price to get a table is worth looking at.
After lunch I caught the last of the sql refactoring session by Plamen Ratchev, and then did my session on SQL Statistics, always fun because I get to answer a few questions about tuning as well. Probably 25 attendees, and only a couple DBA’s, great to reach the developer audience.
I caught up with event leader Esteban Garcia near the end of the day and the final attendance count was 480, just about twice what we average at SQLSaturday in Orlando, and a really killer turnout. Congratulations to Esteban and the volunteer team, I had a great day with them and they did an impressive job!
Some pics of the event (see the goto!):