This year we’re back at our usual location on the campus of Seminole State College for SQLSaturday #1030. You may remember that last year we couldn’t use the college and had to rent space at the Marriott. Beautiful space well suited to an event, but definitely not free. We have a strong preference for free of course, especially when attendance and sponsorship are expected to be down somewhat from the normal years of the past. It was also important to resume our relationship with the college, even if we might want to try the hotel again at some point. Our main contact going back to 2007 retired last year and our partner contact there is moving to another role this month. We’re not starting at zero, but we definitely want to put effort into making sure they know who we are and what we do.
We’ve set a registration goal of 300 and an actual attendance goal of 150, about 60% of a great year for us. If we see the registration numbers go substantially higher we’ll probably look to add a track to our current schedule of five tracks of five sessions each. The schedule has been published and this week we’ll start to really work on registration and sponsorship.
We’ll have our usual basic breakfast of coffee plus donuts. No sandwiches for lunch this year, it will be all out BBQ (and a vegetarian option) and we’re hoping to have many of our speakers working the lunch line. Definitely some kind of mid to late afternoon snack too!
We’re taking the Student to IT Pro seminar we always run for students and bringing it into the same building with SQLSaturday as we attempt to simplify logistics and try to really give them the sense of attending an industry event. Normally we run a completely separate registration, but this year it will be all done via the SQLSaturday registration with a checkbox to indicate they are students. They’ll attend four student focused sessions in the morning (not on the schedule yet) and then have the option to stay for the rest of the day.
We decided against pre-cons this year; they are a lot of work and a gamble in the best of years. Related to that, if you want to present a pre-con (which is a great experience to do at least once) consider adding your name to the list at https://callfordataspeakers.com/precon.
So far we haven’t figured out the “something new” to try this year. Definitely an emphasis on just doing the basics to support the event. We’re trying to do as much of the work as we can as a team on evening calls, feels less lonely and is a good way to knowledge share too.