I was back at MagicPASS last week to do a presentation, my first time with the group at the new site (Disney Vacation Club). Great facility. Plenty of parking, accessible (at least if you live on the South side of Orlando!), good room. Actually 3 rooms. One that they used for the meeting that seats about 25 and could go higher, one next to it that has the food and round tables set up so that people can chat without interrupting the main meeting and also used for the dinner break, and one next to that with more seating capacity that was unused this time.
I arrived about 6pm for the 6:30 pm meeting, there were already a handful there listening/watching a recorded presentation from the Summit last year. I think this is an easy value add that works well because they have two rooms – those that want to talk and step to the next room and do so. I’d like to see some kind of follow up at the end, maybe a quiz or discussion, and I’d like to see that presentation called out on the site at least afterward, let the presenter know they reached some more people.
At 6:30 Kendal Van Dyke started things off with slides mainly focused around upcoming events, local and nationally. It was interesting to watch. He approached almost all if from the perspective that you were new to PASS, SQLRally,SQLSaturday. About the only place I thought needed just a little bit more was to show the schedules,give some sense of the breadth and depth of content at the events. His enthusiasm showed and it felt natural, not forced. The more I watched the more I liked it – we can’t assume everyone knows, understands, sees the value. We need to tell that story every time. Definitely I wish we had a brochure that captured it all too, we need something concrete to give the new people at a minimum.
About 7 pm we took a dinner break, pizza, veggie trays, cookies, water, soda, even root beer for me (chapter leaders, that’s a nice tip – ask your speaker about beverage preference, it’s a little thing, but nice!). It felt like a slower pace than we used to do in Orlando, but I think that might have just been a function of being able to sit at tables and talk, less standing and eating. Very pleasant break.
At 7:30 I started my presentation and it ran long, though I had a couple break points planned for that just in case – everyone was content to keep to going so I finished about 9:10. Lots of notes and ideas for the next time out. Good audience, and a few that were there for the first time drawn in by a topic “for developers”, something we should do more often.
Kendal did a raffle at the end, gave away a few prizes, and that was it, a solid meeting with about 20 attendees present.