SQLBits in Nottingham was where it all began. A short conversation on whether there were any plans for a SQL usergroup in Newcastle with Richard Douglas (@SQLRich) and whether there was scope for me to begin setting one up quickly moved onto conversations with Chris Testa-O’Neill (@ctesta_oneill ) and eventually Jonathan Allen (@fatherjack). This became quite a lengthy chat regarding the ins, outs, ups, downs of setting up such a thing.
This was back in May. Four months of venue hunting, speaker negotiations and marketing led to the first ever SQL Usergroup in Newcastle – #sqlnortheast :)
The schedule was set up for Gavin Campbell and Neil Hambly to make their merry way up to the north east and give two fantastic sessions. So with venue sorted, speakers sorted, food sorted, attendees sorted, we were all set. Boooooom! Then the bombshell hits, a few days before the UG Neil anounces he can’t make it :(
With the first SQL UG in the north east hanging in the balance, up steps a very good friend of mine Chris McGowan (@ckwmcgowan), who was willing to make the trip from Manchester at such short notice and save the day! With 18 people regstered, this was about 17 more than I was expecting. With no initial indication as to the level of interest we could generate in the Northeast I was over the moon with the uptake. The integration between the group was phenominal and there was such a broad range of knowledge and skills ranging from hardcore sql internals DBA types to developers to Azure – made for great conversations.
So, September 3rd came along and surprisingly all seemed to be going well. Both speakers turned up on time, food turned up and most importantly 15 people turned up on the evening which was gobsmacking. All in all it turned out to be an extremely good evening / night. Few beers with everyone afterwards on the Quayside led to far too many beers with Chris and Gavin back at the hotel bar – wasn’t a pretty sight the next morning!
What an experience and from the excellent all round feedback received from the attendees, this is something that they hope will continue.
Michael Robson (@heymiky) and myself are currently trying to work out dates for next year and organise speakers. We’ve had a bit of a break from the UG due to taking on a leg of sqlrelay in Newcastle (November 25th) but we do have a “SQL on the Lash” evening session set up for December to end the year on a high.
I’ll be reporting back with the how it all goes with sqlrelay and with any further anouncements on dates for sqlnortheast UG in 2014.
Few pics from the session: