|SQL Sat Puerto Rico|
Hello Dear Reader! Soon SQL Saturday #318 in Orlando FL will be here. The SQL Community does a lot of work at SQL Saturday’s, present at them, and help put them on. When talking about them, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is: “Why should I go to a SQL Saturday?”
Almost 4 years ago I attended my first SQL Saturday, attending was a last minute decision and one that has changed my life. I have a real passion for SQL Saturdays, and while results may vary, my simplest answer is “they can be life changing”. Here’s how I got there.
|Summit 2013 - Denny's awesome Party|
The only SQL Event I had ever attended was the first 24 Hours of PASS. I loved it. I watched with eager anticipation, this was the first SQL training I’d ever been to. Every company I’d worked for thus far had balked at sending me to training.
I desperately wanted training. When I discovered the 24 Hours of PASS I became a fan, FREE SQL Training on the internet!!! What a concept! Of course it was to plug the PASS Summit, and if training was a no go you can guess what my chances of ever going to the Summit in 2009 were. ZERO. This was as close as I could get, but closer than I’d ever been before.
So as the PASS Summit 2010 was gearing up there was another 24 hours of PASS. I reserved conference rooms at my company, registered for the events, had a router for network connections set up, and I pumped up the “free” training to the other DBA’s. I worked for two days from there as the sessions were streamed.
|Jorge at SQL Sat Jacksonville|
While talking with the other DBA’s that when the magic moment happened. My friend Greg and my buddy Dan Taylor (@DBABulldog | Blog) said, “If you like the 24 Hours of PASS you’ll love SQL Saturday”. What’s a SQL Saturday I asked?
A free event where Consultants, MVP’s, and SQL Community members set up tracks and have free presentations all day long. I was stunned. It was like I was a child hearing about “FREE CANDY” given out at Halloween for the first time. Where was this? When was this? This weekend! In Orlando! I can do that! I had to pay $5 for my lunch, but other than that no cost. I almost felt like I was getting away with something. As if someone would stop me at the gate and say, “Sorry Sir, you get to sit in the lobby only paying attendees get to see the sessions.” It didn’t happen. I got in just fine.
Tom Larock kicking
off SQL Sat OC
It was everything I’d wanted. Sessions on Wait Stats, PBM, CMS, Indexing, two deep dives one on partitioning and another on CPU! I met DBA’s that understood my pains, issues with hardware stressed beyond capacity, aging relic’s with critical LOB apps that we couldn’t get new hardware for, 3rd party vendors with bad indexes, bad code, and little support. People trying to find a way to survive with NEW insights and experiences sharing openly and free. People who understood my issues without having to pretend that they actually understood.
I met Tom Larock (@SQLRockstar | Blog), Argenis Fernandez (@DBArgenis | Blog), Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken | Blog), Patrick LeBlanc (@PatrickDBA | Blog), and 1 half of my future law firm of Biguns and Balls Jack Corbett (@Unclebiguns | Blog). There were more. Lot’s more. That could take me pages more. The point is I made it and it was like coming home.
|Jason and Steve at SQL Live 360|
That day started it off. Without Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDBA | Blog), Andy Warren (@SQLAndy | Blog), Karla Landrum (@KarlaKay22 | Blog), and Jack putting on this SQL Saturday 49 I’m not here today.
I submitted to be a speaker at the next event I could, I started a blog (you may be familiar with this one), got on Linked-In, and even got a Twitter account. That event, that one SQL Saturday lead me to presenting at 7 more the next year.
Getting a spot in the 2nd chance track at SQL Rally, getting voted in by the community at the PASS Summit 2011, and being invited to be on the planning committee for SQL Saturday Orlando #85 the following year after I’d first attended.
|Summit 2013 with the guys|
At the end of SQL Saturday Orlando every year we stand up top of a stair case and throw out t-shirts and give away raffle items. In 2012 Andy Warren looked at me while we were tossing out t-shirts and asked “How’s the view from up here?” I grinned imagining about 50 different replies, but in the end it was a simple “amazing” that left my mouth.
My second job after college took me to Virginia. A friend had recommended me for the position. He met me at the airport, as I flew in for my interview, so I would see a friendly face. I thanked him. He told me “I showed you the door, you have to walk through it”. He was right. I did. That job taught me a lot and led me new places.
SQL Saturday was the same way. It showed me the door. Walking through it brought me new acquaintances, some new friends, new ideas, to SSUG’s, the PASS Summit, Dev Connection in Las Vegas, SQL Live 360 in Orlando, two books, and a pretty awesome job at Pragmatic Works.
|Summit 2013 - Karaoke at the Pragmatic Works Party|
This is just the journey so far. Funny how close yet far away 2009 feels. There is always the question, Dear Reader, of where tomorrow will take you. We all start somewhere. Everyone has to have the first time. That brings us back to the question.
Why should you go to SQL Saturday? Because they can be life changing. Hope to see you at one soon, click here to register for Orlando.
As always, Thanks for stopping by.