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SQLRally 2012–Thursday

  • Arrived at the convention center about 7:30, managed to arrive at the right end of the convention center and walked right into the end that had the room for the welcoming session. No coffee available yet.
  • Welcoming remarks were ok, covered PASS, other event formats, chapters, schedule changes, delivered by Sri and Ryan. Sri asked everyone to introduce themselves to the person next to them, a good start to the day.  I was disappointed to not see the PASS Board of Directors present – they have a board meeting on site, 30 minutes to attend this feels like it should have been doable.
  • Facility is ok to good. Functional, welcome room is a long way from the session rooms, as is the lunch/sponsor area.
  • First session was by Mark Tabladillo on Social Marketing. I like his map that shows his blog at the center, other types of social media around it – the blog is home.
  • Second session was on Report Parts by Jessica Moss. First time I looked at them,fairly straight forward to use other than some controls that you can’t use in them such as sparklines.
  • Lunch was sandwich wraps,pasta salad, chips, and a brownie, plus a drink, good stuff. No line at all, just grab food and sit. Sponsors were set up at each side of the large room used for lunch, very visible. Good lines at sponsors after people ate.  Spent some time after eating wandering the room, managed to meet a few more new people, say hello to a lot of friends.
  • Checked in at the Idera booth, they are giving away tons of rubber ducks!
  • Visiting Starbucks in the Convention Center, which is a long walk from the SQLRally area, but the upside is that there are tons of chairs, this will be perfect for the networking event tomorrow morning. Updating blog post for Thursday as I drink coffee.
  • Back on the SQLRally side I sit for a while with Craig Purnell to talk about networking and professional development, then I transition to a mentoring and coaching role until about 3:45.
  • At 4pm I do my presentation on Professional Development which goes well, about 25-30 attending. Post presentation I have a great conversation with an attendee that doesn’t know – literally – how to network. What a great chance to help someone, so we talked and I was able to introduce him to several other people right then, live coaching. I was also struck by the courage it takes to say “I don’t know how to…”. If only we all did that more often!
  • By the time I wrapped up it was time to move to the sponsor/food area for gelato, a Dallas tradition, and a nice treat to enjoy while doing some more networking.
  • About 6:30 we walked out to catch the bus (missing the first run) to head over to the Uptown Grill for SQLKaraoke. They had a nice patio and the weather was nice, so I sat outside with a mix of people I knew and people I didn’t, and got to watch Tjay Belt play Jenga with blocks made of 2x4’s, finally losing (though he disputes this!) to a stiff wind that toppled the pile. Food was ok, service was ok, they didn’t staff well enough, but good attendance. The bus over was a school bus and that was a pure win. It was only a few miles to the Grill, but I’m sure attendance was much higher due to having transportation over and back, all the way up to 2am. We should do this more often for near by events. I finally left about 11pm – not sure where the time went, only venturing inside once to hear some spirited but truly bad singing!


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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