Dave Valentine ( blog | twitter ) and I finally did our first SQLSaturday sessions, and what a venue it was! We started both presentations by introducing ourselves and then doing a Public Service Announcement. The PSA reminded the attendees that while SQLSaturday is great for the free training, they shouldn’t get so caught up in the technical side that they forget that SQLSaturdays are ideal for networking. I think I actually saw some eye rolls when I told them we were going to take a couple of minutes to introduce themselves to someone new, but then those same people (yes, I was watching you) ended up liking it so much it was hard to bring them back in. I then go on to tell them that Dave and I try to meet at least three new people at every SQL event that we attend. So, here is my report card, if you will.
Friday afternoon’s BBQ Crawl event is unique to Kansas City’s SQLSaturday. We nearly missed it, because we didn’t get into town until 2 PM and the hotel wouldn’t let us check in early. The BBQ crawl was breaking up by the time we were finally checked in. There was a group leaving just as we arrived, including Bill Fellows ( blog | twitter ), but we saw them so briefly and there were so many new people that I don’t remember who all was there at the time – I need to work on that. But luckily, three great guys from Colorado stuck around with us for awhile that afternoon: Chris Shaw ( blog | twitter ), Jason Kassay ( twitter ), and Andre DuBois ( twitter ). Here’s a good picture of what/who we missed (Dave and I are not in that picture).
Friday evening was the Speaker Dinner at the Screenland Theater, a very cool place. I was hoping to meet, and at least talk briefly to everybody, but didn’t quite make it. We were nearly the first to arrive, and before supper I was able to meet John Morehouse ( blog | twitter ), David Klee ( blog | twitter ), and Andy Galbraith ( blog | twitter ). It was funny when we had to throw twitter handles into the introductions to help out.
During supper, I intentionally sat with some people I hadn’t met yet, including Chris Price ( twitter ), Steve Wake ( blog | twitter ), and Nathan Heaivilin. In the end, I was able to meet almost everyone at the speaker dinner, except for some of the organizers, and the table with the group of people that arrived last. One negative note, I did see Dave try to introduce himself to another speaker, but that speaker only said their name back to Dave; wouldn’t even look him in the eye or engage in a little bit of small talk. I’m not sure what that was about…
Dave and I stayed back at the hotel in the morning to work on some small details in our presentations. We arrived just before lunch and Bill Graziano ( twitter | blog ) was manning the PASS booth, so we spent some time learning about kilts from him. Then, we decided to go catch a little of Jason’s session on The Accidental Programmer. Jason finished up a little early, so I snuck into the end of John’s Social Networking Is Alive because I had really wanted to go that one as well. One question I wish I would have asked him: how much additional time did it take to incorporate Prezi vs using Powerpoint, because we had considered it but were worried it would take too much extra time. Then after a really quick lunch, we set up and did our Freaky Fast Database Development Tips for a crowd of 50 people in the Sports Bar Room. That session is packed full of keyboard shortcuts, but the crowd said with the room’s acoustics, we had to use the microphones – very tough to do a session based on keyboard shortcuts with one hand essentially tied behind our backs. Next, we went upstairs and did our SSRS: Reporting on Reports in the Amazon Room for a crowd of 50. After the RoR presentation, David Ray ( twitter ) came up and gave us his two cents on starting out with open source.
The after party was at a nice place called The Dubliner. Bill Fellows and Bill Graziano may have picked it so they weren’t the only ones wearing kilts – IMHO, the waitresses looked way better in kilts. I actually met, and spoke with Tammy Clark ( blog | twitter ) for a few minutes while she was packing up after her session, before our RoR session. At the after party I sat next to, and chatted with Kerry Tyler ( blog | twitter ). Tammy and Karen Lopez ( blog | twitter ) were sitting across from us, and I listened to them talk – no way I could get a word in edgewise there.
I’m glad we decided to go down to Kansas City, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to talk Dave into going back. It was a one of a kind venue. Thank you very much to the event organizers for providing us with many networking opportunities. As you can see above, I took full advantage of it. We received great feedback from attendees (both positive and negative). Bill Fellows decided to give the feedback forms back to us right away, instead of tabulating it first, which will help us in preparation for this upcoming weekend again. See you next year!!