I was privileged to be able to attend and present at SQL Saturday 46 in Raleigh, NC, this last weekend. It was a great collection of people presenting some amazing stuff. I want to say, right off, I think this is the best SQL Saturday event I’ve been to. I say that despite the fact that I’ve helped put on a SQL Saturday. I also say that despite the fact that my sample size on SQL Saturday’s is fairly low. I’ve only been to three (including the one I put on).
You have to understand, the people who put on #sqlsat46, the Triangle SQL Server Users Group, did an absolutely outstanding job. They had clearly done the early work of getting sponsorships and organizing. This weekend, all that early work was on evidence. They had speaker shirts AND they had volunteer shirts. You could always tell who to talk to when you had questions. There was excellent signage, including signs on every door for all the sessions that were taken down as sessions finished, so you could tell which sessions were coming up and didn’t have to try to figure out what time it was or anything. The speaker dinner was at an EXCELLENT restaraunt called The Pit in downtown Raleigh. Sandra, the amazingly hard working volunteer responsible for the speakers did an simply wonderful job of making sure we had everything we needed to get our presentations off without a hitch. On top of that, she was really funny and fun to hang out with. There was a shuttle to get the speakers from our hotels to the speakers dinner & back. The food was excellent at breakfast & lunch and there was plenty of it. They even had an afternoon snack. They gave away a ton of excellent prizes. It was just a very well run event and a real pleasure to take part in it.
I can offer up but one criticism, and it’s pretty minor. The facilities were a little bit weak. First off, they were rather confusing to get around in and at one point Tom Larock (blog|twitter) and I got locked into a hallway that we couldn’t get out of. A little pounding on a door got someone’s attention and we were rescued (before I had to kill & eat Tom). The rooms that most of the sessions were in had an orientation such that entering or leaving the room required you to walk right in front of the speaker, so it was hard to show up late or leave early without being very disruptive. But, that’s it. Other than those two, minor, weaknesses, the facilities were nice, clean, well appointed, comfortable… you get the point.
As to people… Wow! Is the best thing I can say. I went to excellent sessions, one each by Andrew Kelly (blog|twitter) and Aaron Nelson (blog|twitter). I got to talk to and hang out with Andy Leonard (blog|twitter), Tom Larock, Allen White (blog|twitter), Tim Chapman (blog|twitter), Kevin Boles (twitter), Geoff Hitten (blog|twitter), Jessica Moss (blog|twitter), Eric Humphrey(blog|twitter)… yeah, look at that list. I’m not dropping names, I’m just in awe of who I got to talk to and I’m not listing everyone that was there. These guys at Triangle SQL pulled together an amazing group of people to present. The networking opportunities were just excellent. I got to meet a lot of new people too. Special shout out to Eli Weinstock-Herman (blog|twitter) who I met for the first time, ever, and had a great conversation with at the after party (along with Allen and a bunch of other guys).
I presented two things. A session on Red Gate’s excellent new piece of software, SQL Source Control. The room was full, the people were engaged and I had a great time. I hope everyone enjoyed the presentation. I also presented a preview of one of my presentations for the 2010 PASS Summit. Unfortunately I had spent most of my rehearsal time getting ready for 24 Hours of PASS, so I didn’t rehearse adequately for this session. I just didn’t do as good a job as I’m capable of. I’ll work on it some more and get it polished up for the Summit. But it was well received, so hopefully people got some good from it. That’s sure the goal.
To sum up, great people, great place, great opportunity. Thank you, very much to Jimmy, Brent, Sandra and all the rest of the magnificent people at Triangle SQL who put this show on. You guys should be damned proud of a job well done.