Monday, October 31, 2011

Post SQLSaturday 101 Thoughts

I like writing a quick blog after a speaking engagement. I probably should write it sooner in order to capture everything while it is fresh in my memory but I guess sooner is better than later.

To begin with I can't say enough about the people involved in organizing these events. Bill Fellows (@billinkc) did another wonderful job and so did all the other volunteers.  Yet again I wasn't able to stay for the entire conference.  My wife caught the Fall flu and I had to head home to pick up the kids from a Halloween party.  Since I had to leave so suddenly I want to take this moment to thank them for allowing me to speak and for putting on a great event.

As I mentioned in my previous blog there were a lot of speakers who were speaking for the first time. I thought that was the most exciting part.  I have both a love and hate relationship with putting myself out of my comfort zone and sometimes I wonder why I do it.  I think I know the answer and it is because by reaching a little farther than we think we can go we are able to grow and learn from our experiences.  It was great seeing others doing this and succeeding.  Despite what the new speakers may think - they did succeed. Each of them succeeded just by the act of doing it.

I can pretty much graph my emotions leading up to and after a presentation.  I experience nervousness, panic, confidence, enjoyment, depression, and satisfaction.  What I do know is I never do as bad as I think I did and I never do as well as I wish I had. You can't please everyone but my goal is always to try to please more than half the audience. I should probably aim higher but then I try to be realistic. As I speak more and more my expectations rise.

SQLSaturdays are especially suited for new speakers and for speakers in the mid-range of their speaking careers. The best part - the audience is always appreciative and helpful. Maybe because admission is free it helps take the pressure off the speaker and lowers the audiences' expectations. Either way, I enjoy the idea of SQLSaturdays and I only wish I had the time and resources to attend more of them. So thanks to everyone who attended my sessions (don't hesitate to contact me) and thank you to Bill and the other volunteers for putting on a great show.  It was as fun as always.  Although the people who put it together may not be too anxious for the next one, I am already looking forward to next year. See you there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

SQLSaturday #101 Kansas City

     Wow! I'm thrilled to say the least.  SQLSaturday #101 is fast approaching and I'm looking forward for a nice road trip across Missouri and forgetting work for awhile.  This SQLSaturday for me is a special event. There has been a lot of talk and worry about the timing of the event (the date is right after the PASS Summit and competes with another mid-west SQLSaturday #87 in Louisville) but that hasn't  negatively effected the content.
     Call me an optimist but I don't think the arrangement could have been better. This will be a true community event in which some wonderful SQL professionals get to a first chance at speaking.  I received my first speaking opportunity almost one year ago at SQLSaturday #53 in Kansas City so the experience is fresh in my memory and I know what they'll go through and how the emotions will fluctuate from nervousness to intense satisfaction.  The one thing I know for certain is each new speaker will be hooked.  It's impossible to speak once and forget. Each new speaker will be another wonderful addition to future lineups in community events to come.

     I'm especially excited about three new speakers who will represent Saint Louis.  John Dempsey (@jjdemps) has two presentations, Sanil Mhatre (@SQLSuperGuru) has one presentation, and Travis Whitley has one presentation.  I encourage attendees to support them and give them a large audience.  My first SQLSaturday presentation had 5 people (it was on SQL Server and Healthcare so I expected a small, but dedicated audience)!

    I'm glad to hear that despite the timing the attendance will be high.  This tells me the interest in SQL learning is very high and there is plenty of demand.  This demand is a win-win for community, for speakers, and for sponsors.  Last year I unfortunately had to speak and leave but this year after my two presentations I look forward to spending the rest of the afternoon as an attendee.  It will be fun to get a full day of learning and then sit back and relax.

   In closing I want to just say enjoy the PASS Summit. I'll be closely following the twitter feeds and I really like the pictures posted.  I'll be living vicariously through you and wishing I was there.  Also enjoy SQLSaturday #87, it will be a great event and will definitely be on my "need-to-submit" bucket list.  But I really want to take a moment to thank Bill Fellows (@billinkc) who worked hard under a difficult situation to get SQLSaturday up and running.  He's provided a great opportunity for speakers and his work has helped significantly expand the SQL community.  I can't wait to be there!