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Notes On SQLSaturday Orlando #318

Notes from a speaker/volunteer perspective:

  • It was a lot of fun to talk to the students at our Student to IT Pro Seminar. Interesting to hear their questions, easy to forget what it’s like to be a true beginner. 70 people in the seminar. Win!
  • I had about 20 in my 9 am presentation. Went reasonably well and I identified some things to tweak before the Summit.
  • The chef coats we received as speaker gifts were just excellent!
  • We sold 25 SQLSaturday Orlando polos this year at our cost of $25. Not bad at all.
  • We had 8 serving tables to expedite lunch (which worked), but I could see attendees struggling to see past the lines at the front tables. Minor tweak for next year.
  • Lunch went very well and we had food left over that went to a local shelter
  • We had 5 or 6 schedule changes in the last two weeks, makes it challenging to commit to the door schedules – but change is going to happen.
  • The super sized schedules in the elevators were well received, perhaps in part due to the elevators being really slow.
  • We found a volunteer to do photos and I’m hoping those turn out well. We just didn’t have enough volunteers to do it the way we wanted.
  • 54 speakers is a massive schedule. Not sure I even got to say hello to all of them. We couldn’t do it without you.
  • Shawn purchased a water balloon slingshot that worked well for tshirts. Kendal was sending tshirts all the way to the back table in the gathering area
  • We had minor glitches that we noticed, but I don’t think anything that the attendees noticed (all 450+ of them)

We manage the event as a committee here in Orlando, with leadership alternating between oPASS and MagicPASS. I think this year was our best year so far and a really good team. Everyone had a pretty good idea of what they wanted to get done and stayed focused, and Kendal did a nice job of figuring out which ideas to take and which to leave on the list. Our weekly Tuesday calls really helped maintain communication. We also focused on numbers a lot; registration, speakers, sponsors, seminar registrations too. It was also nice to reinvigorate our relationship with ONETUG (.Net group here in Orlando) and we look forward to doing a lot to help with with the Code Camp in early 2015. We’re all writing up notes on what we could do better/different next year and in the next week or so we’ll have our first planning call for SQLSaturday Orlando 2015, then we’ll mostly be on break until March.

We had a lot of great volunteers, but I had a note to mention one – Rodney Landrum. Rodney is quiet and behind the scenes, but he gets things done. By the time I arrived Saturday morning he was covered in sweat from moving tables and handling problems, then came the student seminar at 9 am to teach students about what relational databases are, and then he went back over at 1130 to host the raffle for them, and that’s just the parts I saw. All of which took up so much time he didn’t get to do the thing he wanted to do – be the roving reporter. We’ll get that next year Rodney! I didn’t get to spend hardly any time with volunteers and I missed that, I like hearing the stories and having time to say thank you to them, something for me to do better at next year.

This year was the most I’ve been involved since I handed over the keys to Orlando years ago. It was good to be back. Interesting to see lessons learned, and some lost and re-learned (coffee plan). The local franchise feels strong. We’re lucky to have a lot of people in Orlando with talent and energy. It was good to have the time and energy to put into trying to push the edges back some, and sometimes a challenge to remember that while ideas area good, they can be stressful when the team sees something else that might get added to the stack.

I meant to take more photos, only ended up with a couple. Here is Jedi Knight Mark Souza defending the attendees against the Empire, which was attacking with a t-shirt slingshot. He put up a valiant fight but was finally knocked to the ground by Sith Lord Rodney Landrum. Obi-Wan was bent and a little crumpled, but was able to attend the closing raffle by leaning against the wall, light sql saber still at the ready!

 

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This is mid-raffle. It’s a lot of people! Green shirts are volunteers. The walkway behind the crowd is where we put the serving tables at lunch (and check-in before that), with the building that has our classrooms on the far side.

IMG_20140927_175644165_HDR

That’s for it this year, now we have to finish up our joint meeting of OPASS/MagicPASS in October featuring Mark Souza, then it’s off to the Summit and then I think it will be time for the end of year break. Time flies.

SQLAndy

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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