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SQLSaturday Porto edition 2014 Session Selection Process explained

From the very first SQLSaturday event that I have helped to create (SQLSaturday #78 Portugal), I have always desired to make the process of session selection to be a more community-oriented and open process.
I know personally the vast majority of those who submitted sessions for SQLSaturday Porto 2014, and like every year I will have to do some very tough choices when selecting.

Important Note:

Since DEVELOPMENT track is managed by NetPonto Community, they will be choosing their sessions separately.

Disclaimer:

This is not an intention to show any other type of event of how to prepare, organize or select speakers. We are all grown-ups. I do this because I believe in growing personally and letting my work grow. I work extremely hard on our local Microsoft Data Platform Community and now it is time to see it becoming something more than before – a true community.

The Catch:

We are focused on SQL Server 2014 (since there was absolutely no official presentation of the product from Microsoft in the northern Portugal), Cloud & PowerBI.

This list represents my personal thoughts and criteria of selection:

  • Being capable of delivering true value (and not a copy of TOC) and experience is the most valuable thing.
  • You better be passionate about that topic. I do not like presenter’s who simply don’t care and do not vibrate with the stuff they are presenting
  • Your name has an important role for me – if you are a known speaker, you get more chances to get picked up. If a known speaker have submitted a crappy session (DBA who has never talked on BI is doing a deep dive into a complex technology) – then it damages your name for me, and so your chances on being selected at all. Do not bullshit the bullshitter. ??
    An example for me personally would be trying to deliver a deep dive on the Data Mining – I am absolutely unqualified.
  • I always want to see a couple of new speakers delivering sessions on this scale for the first time. We all had our break-ins when someone has opened a door for us.
  • You should start at the beginning, and so if you have never presented at any User Group events or any other technology events – you are not qualified to present at SQLSaturday Portugal as far as I am concerned.
  • Portuguese speakers that have not presented a session for SQLPort in the last 12 months are automatically disqualified. You have had not time to speak for the local guys for free and without great visibility, but now you are looking for the spotlight? This is not fair. Note that this rule is very public and we have implemented it in the last 3 years. There might be some exceptions, but this has to be a very special case.

My thoughts are:
why are we doing this type of events? Because we want to promote the knowledge and growth between our local country people.
who are those events for ? Community, or local people.

This is why we took a decision to finally include those who are registered in advance into session selection process.

The Selection Process:

  • Every attendee that is registered by 1st of July will receive an email with the link for the voting. (1st – 7th of July)
  • We shall be controlling and filtering out the situations when person has registered more than 1 time (we have identified 3 such cases in this moment). This total shall get 40% of the weight.
  • Organisation Committee (consists of 10 people) shall be voting apart, after the public session selection. This total shall get 60% of the weight.
  • Precon speaker(s) shall get 1 session independently from the above voting.
  • Organisation Committee reserves the right to approve 1 specially invited speaker per track. (Because we are running the show, we need key people to deliver key sessions in order for the event to be cohesive.)

This is a first attempt of building something very transparent and I am confident that we shall learn a lot from this process.
We are ready.

Niko's blog

Niko Neugebauer is Microsoft Data Platform professional. A SQL Server MVP, he is very passionate about Data Platform (with a focus on Columnstore) and Community. He is a founder and a leader of the Portuguese SQL Server User Group, SQLPort and a co-founder of 2 more Data Platform User Groups in his home country. His passion for community led him to organise the first SQLSaturday outside of North America – #78 Portuga. Niko presented at a number of different conferences, including PASS Summit, SQLRallys, SQLBits, and SQLSaturdays around the world.

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