Saturday June 14th 2014 seen the Christchurch, New Zealand SQL SERVER user group host its second SQL Saturday (#316).
We learnt a lot from running our first SQL Saturday back in August 2013 – which was SQL Saturday #252
For the second year in a row we hosted this event in conjunction with the local .NET and Infrastructure / SharePoint groups. We always get a bit of cross over between these events, which is good, and it’s an opportunity to attract more people to our group and also give the attendees a little exposure to other technologies that they may not necessarily deal with on a day to day basis.
Running a combined event also gives our sponsors a bigger audience, which is always an added carrot! This year one of our main sponsors was Varigence Australia – of BIML fame – and they were able to run an entire track focused on BIML. That track attracted a fair few curious people throughout the day and it was great having them fly over from Sydney, Australia to make some great contacts in the Christchurch area.
In addition to the BIML track, we were able to run 2 more tracks – making 3 in total. The obligatory Enterprise DBA track saw some big name speakers including Rob Farley (MVP and MCM) (blog | twitter) – who made the trip from Adelaide, Australia, Warwick Rudd (MCM) (blog | twitter) - traveling from Brisbane, Australia – and Brent McCraken (MCM) (blog | twitter) - who flew in from Wellington, New Zealand.
With so many MVPs and MCMs in town, this was quite a coup and we took the opportunity to do a session titled “Meet the Masters \ Ask the Experts” which ran as a single event across all three streams and was a huge success. I’ve seen similar sessions run at other SQL Saturdays in the lunch break and they were good as well, but we took position of making lunchtime an opportunity for attendees to network and for our sponsors to meet and talk to people. It worked well for us.
The local polytechnic (CPIT) were kind enough to host us for the second year and this gave us the chance to talk to students who had an interest – or even just a healthy curiosity – in SQL SERVER.
We had attendees travel some distance to this event and speaking to them at the “after match” function, I got the impression that they though it was worth the investment they had put in – both in terms of time and money – and not just the free “after match” drink talking
So, hopefully more of the same next year. We learned a great deal from our first two successful SQL Saturdays and we’re already looking at possible dates for our third event next year so that we can give our audience and PASS plenty of notice. We’d like to attract more overseas speakers and we’re looking at ways of doing this – obviously New Zealand is a long way from most places but rest assured it’s worth the visit – if you plan in advance.
In case you’re wondering why I didn’t speak, well due to an excellent piece of planning by the committee of both events the date fell two days before the expected birth of our second baby – so there was always a chance I wouldn’t be there. However, our second child -Robert Michael – was born on the Friday – 24 hours before SQL Saturday #316 – and so I was at least able to attend the event as both mother and baby were doing well and there was no shortage of visitors to keep them occupied at the local hospital, who’s staff were amazing in their level of care.
So, at this stage hopefully you’re considering speaking or attending at next years event – we’ll try to tie it in with other events in the area, such as other SQL Saturday’s in Australia and New Zealand – so feel free to get in touch – “What are you waiting for!”
have a great day.