This past weekend, I attended the amazing SQL Saturday event in Chicago. I also had the tremendous honor of presenting this time around. The entire experience was fantastic. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who worked so hard to make this event happen. Here is my top ten list:
10. A 3-pack of Hanes white cotton T-shirts + a black Sharpie = SWAG. On a whim, after the speaker dinner on Friday night, I decided I needed swag to give away during my session. One trip to Walmart and a few moments of sketching later, I had 3 genuine, hand crafted, MarkVSQL shirts. One recipient called my shirts the “greatest swag ever.” #awesomeshirt
9. Doug Lane (blog | Twitter) built a really cool solution using SSIS to achieve Data Driven Subscription functionality without the need for Enterprise Edition. I love really creative uses for SSIS and cannot wait to play with this. On top of that, I was meeting Doug in person for the first time. He’s a really cool guy. If you get a chance to hang with him or mow his lawn or something, go for it.
8. This one I had already seen when I attended last year’s SQL Saturday Chicago: The SQL community in and around the Windy City is vibrant and fun. The attendees for my session were great and I had such an awesome time presenting.
Not everyone had the great experience I did, though. A tiny number of people (1 that I know of) need to keep in mind that people who give of their time to present at these events, and in many cases travel across the country at their own expense to do it, deserve to be treated with some appreciation and respect.
7. Part of the experience is getting to hang out with cool, smart people. I learned a lot outside of sessions just chatting with other folks at the speaker dinner and after party.
6. Hope Foley (Twitter) showed some cool features of PowerPivot, including some mad compression. Nicely done.
4. The hot dogs at Portillo’s are frickin spectacular.
3. Jason Strate (blog | Twitter) likes to say: “I’m not a good driver; I’m a successful driver.” Well, he is that. Chris Fish (Twitter) and I rode with Jason down to Chicago from the Twin Cities. And I have to say, we didn’t die even once.
2. I sing about as well as a dead cow under a truck (which is pretty bad, in case you are not aware). I knew that one a long time ago. What I learned this time around is that I can pull off a pretty good rendition of The Lion King’s Hakuna Matata, with Timone and Pumbaa character voices throughout, all by myself. Seriously, #sqlkaraoke is more fun than should be allowed. And singing ability is irrelevant.
Just ask Jason Strate. Wait. I should delete that.
1. Getting involved in the SQL Community is awesome. I highly recommend picking a topic you know and want to learn more about and submit a session at your local user group, a SQL Saturday, or even just present to a group of co-workers. You can learn so much by presenting and sharing your expertise with others. If you would rather not present, then please feel free to volunteer or help out however you can. The SQL Community is all of us.