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Notes from SQLSaturday #62

The weekend started with a later afternoon drive to Tampa, returning a couple calls and then chatting with Steve Jones for a while about many things community related. I found a parking place in Ybor City to wait for my family to arrive and knew it was really a SQLSaturday weekend when Mikey Nelson walked up – parking lot in a middle of a city I don’t live in and I see someone I know! Family finally arrived and we walked down to the Green Iguana, great burgers and some not bad live music. Pleasant and slow paced dinner, and then they dropped me off at Spaghetti Warehouse for the speaker dinner carrying a box of SQLRally flyers.

The dinner/party went really well, probably 50 or so speakers, spouses, and volunteers in attendance. Decent seating, 5 long tables with some room to move around. We started about 7:15 and the last of us departed just before 10 pm. Nice relaxing event. I walked the 6 blocks  back to the parking lot and made it to the hotel around 10:45, leaving time to relax a little before calling it a day.

Saturday morning started with a couple eggs and some milk at the hotel breakfast, then on to the KForce Building in Ybor City. Plenty of parking, maybe a bit light on signs, but a steady stream of traffic and it’s not at all a hard location to find. Registration was going smoothly when I go there at 7:30 due in large part to the “speed pass” that many used.  A speed pass is a PDF with a name badge and raffle tickets for the attendee to print at home, so they can just come in and grab a bag without having to wait for someone to find the personalized items. The event team would tear off one raffle ticket as they handed out the bags, giving them an easy way to do a fairly accurate headcount. We’re going to talk about this  more post event, it’s something that may get added to the SQLSaturday tool set.

I spent the first hour chatting with people and, looking in on a few presentations. I did a fill-in presentation at 10 am, doing the one on building a comprehensive professional development plan. It was such a late change that no one knew about it, so I managed to wind up with about 15 people that stayed even though they had been expecting an BI presentation. It went well, some good discussion, and one question I need to ask more is “how many of you want to move into management at some point"?” and the total for this group was zero. Interesting. Maybe even concerning, but something to investigate more.

Lunch was held in the building next door, a good one block walk, but entirely worth while for a lunch of yellow rice, chicken, pork, black beans, and plantains. It was really nice to sit at a table and enjoy the meal, and I have to admit it made me think again about our picnic on the grass in Orlando…I still like the picnic style lunch, but it’s a close call! Very nice lunch.

More networking time after lunch, though at some point it blurs between networking and just talking and typing a few notes here and there. The attendance seems to be over 300, still waiting on a final count as I write this part about 2:30 pm (writing and charging my phone, two for one). The afternoon went smoothly, and I left about 4:15 to spend an hour or so with my family riding the local trolley, and then back to the after party until about 8 pm.


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.


Posted by Denny Cherry on 18 January 2011

I've got to say, the Speed Pass that Pam put together was just a brilliant idea.  I got there a little late (shocking I know), but I heard from a bunch of attendees that the check-in lines were pretty short.  This tells me that the speed pass was a total success.

Posted by Andy Warren on 18 January 2011

It's a very nice bit of incremental learning. Now to try it again elsewhere!

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