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Afterthoughts: SQL Saturday #48 Columbia, SC

More than 1,000 miles later and almost 20 hours behind the wheel, I can only express how much I enjoyed each and every moment at SQL  Saturday #48 hosted in West Columbia, S.C. Let me get started by saying that it was a succesfull and well planned event. It had good attendance rate and had a great speaker line-up.

I have to recognize my wife for doing most of the driving. She volunteered behind the wheel while I sat back and and helped out keeping the girls entertained and busy munching on some veggie sticks.

The Highlights
I can not possibly start without pointing out that I walked away with the most valuable treasure of all: friendships. I was blessed to meet Brian Kelley (Blog Linkedin | Twitter) and his family and be able to interact with their kids. Our two daughters Fae and Sofia had a great time together in the after party. It was very fulfilling to me to be able not just to meet a talented and well-respected guy such as Brian Kelley in a professional setting but also in a more personal way. I really hope this is the start of a long-lasting friendship.

I want to recognize Brian’s wife for manning the book  and prizes table while pregnant. Not many pregnant women would volunteer to be standing up and doing physical work for a whole Saturday. It really shows the type of committment Brian and his wife have to the SQL community.

More Networking
I also had the opportunity to meet and establish friendships with some amazing professionals, in particular funny guy Bobby Dimmick (Linkedin | Twitter). Some of the new connections and personal interactions for the firs time include:

I also got to see some of my friends and tweeps such as:

 I would like to give thanks to  the organizers and sponsors for such a great event. I also want to give a big thanks to the attendees to both my sessions, Get Cert! Get Cred! and Business Intelligence: Decaffeinated Please! I got great feedback and participation from them. I want to recognize some of my attendees for doing some constructive observations about my presentation style and visuals.  I value all comments that help me become a better speaker and presenter.

What I learned
In my third SQL Saturday I learned several things as an attendee and as a speaker.

First of all, SQL Saturday is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family and to plan a mini-vacation, especially if traveling to a city or area you have not visited before. Also, if you are fortunate like I was, you may end up getting to know other professionals and their families. Next SQL Saturday bring your family along, especially to our Tampa SQL Saturday to be scheduled between January and February, 2011. I would love to meet you and your families.

Second as a SQL Server and Business Intelligence professional you get no better chance to meet your rockstars and be able to have an opportunity to interact. You also meet great professionals in the area with which you establish not only professional connections but also friendships. Friends with which if you can go out to lunch with if you are in their hometown or get good recommendations where to stay or what to do. Also, they can serve as a lifeline.

Third, I learned that you have to balance your presentation between what I consider the two main presentation styles: those who base their presentation on the slides content and those who base their presentation on the slide visuals primarily. The reason you have to balance these two main styles is because of your audience. Some audience members expect for you to follow your slide deck and stick to the text and content on them as much as possible (slide followers). Other audience members don’t like it when you repeat what is on your slide and want to hear what you have to say (content cravers). In this SQL Saturday I had the opportunity to experiment with both these styles. In Get Cert! Get Cred! I played with Guy Kawasaki’s style, while in Business Intelligence: Decaffeinated Please! I was a little more conservative. I got great feedback on both presentations ranging from As Expected and Better than Expected ratings with an overall average of 4.5 out of 5 rating. If you attended any of my sessions, I want to say thank you once more and keep commenting on ways to improve as a speaker.

Fourth, as SQL PASS Chapter leader it is a great opportunity to learn from the organization and management perspective of a SQL Saturday event. I learned what works and got some great pointers for our upcoming SQLSaturday in Tampa, FL early 2011. Also, I was able to connect with potential speakers for our user group and SQL Saturday event.

Fifth but not least, I had the opportunity to attend great sessions such as:

  • William Pearson’s “Attribute Discretization in Analysis Service”
    Learned a native way of grouping dimension attributes into buckets.
  • Mark Tabladillo’s “Data Mining with PowerPivot 2010″ 
    Learned the reason behind the need for so many data mining models and more insight on PowerPivot.
  • Andy Warren’s “Building a Professional Development Plan”
    Learned that you have to consider yourself as a “business of one” and make a plan for your goals as such.
    Also, learned that when you blog do it for yourself primarily even if you repeat what others have already blogged. Unless you are blogging as a business, don’t wory about duplication of content, keeping in mind not to plagiarize.
  • Julie Smith’s “Cool Tricks to Pull from your SSIS Hat”
    Learned how to skip an SSIS container without using precedence constraints.

I hope I didn’t leave anyone or anything out. It is not my intention to exclude anyone. These are just some of  my afterthoughts. Please comment on anything or anyone I left out.

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3 Responses

  1. Sounds like a really good time. Thanks for taking the time to post about your experience.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dewitte, Jose Chinchilla. Jose Chinchilla said: New blog: Afterthoughts on SQL Saturday #48 Columbia, SC http://bit.ly/cIosdo #sqlsat48 #sqlpass #sqlsaturday [...]

  3. It was great meeting you as well. When we met at lunch I had no idea you live in the Tampa area. I have family there. You have inspired me to try and make the trip to Tampa. If not in Oct then for sure after the first of the year. Great blog.

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