Data Saturdays and SQLSaturday

  • While I am very attached to SQL Saturday, I see Randolph's point about Data Saturday. Perhaps Redgate can use the name recognition of SQL Saturday to boot up Data Saturday as in "SQL Saturday is now Data Saturday. Go into Steve's points about there having been sessions on Oracle, Python, MongoDB, etc. and make it clear that this is to be more aligned with the content and open it up to a wider audience. Just a thought...

  • I am biased, and I agree with Randolph.

    The argument on my part is that the branding is powerful. Lots of people know the same and website, so that has a lot of value. I do hope to get something settled soon here and moving with regards to the sqlsaturday.com domain, so that this can continue to grow.

    For many people that have attended events, or sponsored them, the brand is powerful and effective. For those that have not, it may not matter, but the more people know it and talk/write about it, the more powerful it is. I am certainly in favor of pushing forward MS data platform oriented events as sqlsaturday. They have had plenty of attendance, recognition, and support from non MS people.

    At the same time, I've watched lots of other events try to grow with dataxxxx in their names. The ones that seem to have had the most success are the ones that were sqlxxxx (SQL Relay, SQL Grillen), and in those cases, I think it was the fans of the event. They don't care about the name and the brand was more about timing/location/spread from small users. I've watched lots of meetup and other "data xxx" groups not get great traction. I really don't think it's the name, but I do think marketing is very, very hard. I would not let this go lightly.

    My vote, as 1 of 1,000 of 300,000 is that we continue with SQL Saturday, but consider co-branding or co-marketing with datasaturdays, and other events.

  • Could SQL Saturday and Data Saturday run in parallel? Or could we keep SQL Saturday for the name recognition and start pushing a Data Saturday track in SQL Saturdays that could be all thing data related that are not SQL Server specific?

  • See, this is why I started off by suggesting Data Saturdays is the top of the hierarchy and SQLSaturday falls under it (which was one of Steve's ideas).

  • I think anything is up for discussion. TUellner, how would you see this organized? If you need a sample schedule, here's one: https://sqlsathistory.com/SQLSat0962.html

  • Since Data Relay was mentioned above (and I'm one of the organisers - and I normally do sponsorship)...

    We'd been meaning to make the switch for a couple of years before we did, but it was never the most important issue.

    That changed when MS told us in no uncertain terms that it would be a lot easier to get our sponsorship approved if we renamed from SQL to Data.

    SQL Server had an image problem. Microsoft were very, very keen to change the focus.

    Something for any potential event organisers to think about. Especially if you are hoping for some MS sponsorship.

  • Branding is important. That is not at dispute. (If someone disagrees, they are welcome to be wrong, but we oughtn't argue that here.)

    There are two arguments in this thread that I'll summarize here in my own words:

    1. SQLSaturday has very strong brand recognition, so let's double down and keep using it.
    2. SQLSaturday's branding is too narrow. We should dump it for DataSaturday.

    BOTH OF THESE ARE CORRECT. If anyone is trying to convince "the other side" they are more correct then the conversation isn't going to make any progress. The fact is, SQLSaturday has strong brand recognition among attendees & sponsors. As Randolph pointed out, PASS has also tainted the brand for many folks--mostly organizers & speakers (myself included)--who regardless of all rational thought that PASS is gone, will still carry that little bit of bitterness toward the name. It is also true that "Data" events are more inclusive, and provide better avenues to funding from Microsoft, et al.

    I'll also add a #3 to the above list that hasn't been mentioned before:

    3. SQLSaturday was a fairly non-inclusive US-centric and Western-centric event, dominated by white & South Asian men, and by white women. The brand's positive image is far worse once you set outside that biased bubble. Dropping SQLSaturday is an excellent opportunity to start fresh and build a more inclusive brand. Like it or not, the SQLSaturday brand is white-centric and western-centric. IMHO, getting rid of that negative branding association is far more important than preserving the good branding association.

     

    "SQLSaturday" is a brand that tells me the events are fully focused on SQL Server, to the exclusion of other technologies. If the desire is to reach a broader, more-than-SQL-Server audience, then going with "SQLSaturday" in perpetuity is foolish. If the goal is to specifically build that narrow, specialized brand, then going with "SQLSaturday" in perpetuity is the right call.

     

    If the goal is to both leverage existing SQLSaturday brand recognition among attendees & sponsors, and also open up to a wider audience, then the right branding choice would be to go with "DataSaturday" and use the "SQLSaturday is now DataSaturday" messaging for at least a full cycle of events. Most events run yearly, but with the pandemic, that would probably mean an 18- or even 24-month cycle to ensure that everyone who knew & loved SQLSaturday was able to see the message about the rebrand.

     

    When doing a branding exercise, it's important to keep in mind that our emotional ties to the brand (as organizers/volunteers) need to be put aside. Many folks who volunteer their time to run & speak at these events have strong emotional attachment for (or against) the brand, based on nostalgia and our past experience. Letting that nostalgia hold back change is a huge mistake for the events' future.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  AMtwo.
  • Just get the act together and brand as "DataSaturday incorporating SQLSaturday" and you get the best of both worlds.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  P Jones.
  • SQLSaturday is/has a STRONG brand name. It also doesn't mean a SQLSaturday event is just related to SQLServer. Anyone that attended Baton Rouge SQLSaturday knows we had all involved including a track for just .net app stuff. Yes, we gave the DEVS their own track!!!

    Nothing is stopping everyone else from doing the same thing!! Then again, only Baton Rouge had Jambalaya for lunch!!!!

    #SQLSATBR #BatonRouge

     

  • One model, which I imagine will be familiar to Redgate, is the SQLSaturday / Sharepoint Saturday co-branded events hosted in Cambridge. Two websites, two mailing lists, two CFPs, one agenda, one venue. Not advocating one way or the other for this, just pointing out that the model exists.

  • My short two cents: We must have a non-for-profit organization to manage the activities in order to get sponsors. In US it is very simple to open such while in some other countries (like Israel) it is extremely problematic and has a lot of requirements.

    I like Randolph West's idea to work under Data Saturdays, once it will become non-for-profit organization. I would love to use this for the yearly event in Israel.

    * We had already discussions about non-for-profit organization in other channels. This is the short story...

     

     

    Senior consultant and architect, data platform and application development, Microsoft MVP.

  • Mt thinking is that SQL Saturdays has a nice alliterative ring to it. However, while these events welcomed sessions on other data-related topics, they are bound to feel like second class citizens because of the name. As I am a SQL Engine guy, I prefer events that have that as a focal point, but our community is growing and we have to adjust to that.

    I think a switch from SQL Saturdays to Data Saturdays would not be a big lift from an outreach and PR perspective.

  • Gavin Campbell wrote:

    One model, which I imagine will be familiar to Redgate, is the SQLSaturday / Sharepoint Saturday co-branded events hosted in Cambridge. Two websites, two mailing lists, two CFPs, one agenda, one venue. Not advocating one way or the other for this, just pointing out that the model exists.

    I like that model.

     

  • I say let's just merge the 2 into datasqlsaturday.com while taking good from both datasaturdays.com and sqlsaturday.com. Datasaturdays.com has open-source very promising platform while SQL Saturday has the "McDonalds-style" predictable format brand.

    IMHO, the main reason why SQL Saturday is associated with Microsoft SQL Server is community (#sqlfamily). Other vendors don't have that massive army of non vendor employed speakers that will travel and speak on vendor's technologies.

    At the last 4 SQL Saturday in LA events, we had no problems with sponsorship/sessions from vendors that are directly or indirectly competing with Microsoft. Only 1 vendor rejected the idea of sponsorship due to perceived Microsoft association to SQL Saturday event.

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