Saturday, April 6th, 241 people gathered at the Madison College (formerly Madison Area Technical College) campus for a free day of learning of everything SQL Server. Many friends whom I hadn’t seen since the PASS summit or longer attended, presented, and volunteered. And, as usual, I met some new friends. Oh, and I was a presenter!
My presentation was titled “You’re THE DBA. Now What?” I tried to focus on a checklist of things to look for if you’re an accidental DBA thrust into the role of “the database guy”, or if you’re an experienced DBA walking into a new job or environment. It was based on my own experiences of leaving one job for another, and what I found when I walked into Day 1. I had given this presentation twice before; once at the FoxPASS monthly meeting in Appleton, WI, in early March, and again at the MadPASS meeting at the end of March. Each time it seemed to be generally well received, and I was expecting perhaps a couple dozen people to show up for the SQL Saturday presentation. I mean, my time slot was the same as popular speakers such as Ted Krueger, Allen White, and Mike Donnelly and others. I wasn’t expecting a full room. After all, it was my very first SQL Saturday presentation. Who wants to hear from the new guy when you have other talented speakers to listen to?
Ten minutes before my presentation was to begin I followed the advice of Eddie Wuerch and went to the rest room and grabbed a bottle of water. He wouldn’t give this advice until the very last session of the day, but I must have caught his vibe or something and took care of those two things that could make for a rough presentation on my part. When I returned I was amazed that people were actually bringing in chairs from the lobby to sit it on my talk. The room was overflowing! Nothing flips your stomach upside down more than getting ready to talk to a standing room only crowd.
Because a) it was a large crowd, and b) it was my first time presenting in front of a rather large crowd, I think I could have done better. There were some things that I slipped up on, and other things that I would have done differently, but all in all people seemed to enjoy it. The evaluation feedback comments are great, both the positive comments and those that were critical. I did have a couple people thank me and say that this was exactly what they needed, that they could go back into the office and make their SQL Server environments better. I guess if I helped at least one person, the talk was a success. I do need to give a special thank you to Eric Selje, who gave me some great advice later on at the after-party on how to improve my presentation. Eric realizes that I am new to this sort of thing, and the things he told me I took to heart and I will definitely be able to make my presentation better because of his advice. After all, I have submitted this session for the annual PASS conference, where if I am lucky enough to be selected as a presenter I will be speaking in front of an even larger crowd.
After my presentation I got to be a room monitor for the rest of the day. This allowed me to sit in on sessions given by Jes Borland and Ted Krueger, Ed Leighton-Dick, and Eddie Wuerch. Jes and Ted talked about the joys and the downfalls of consulting, Ed talked about how to get more involved in the SQL community, and Eddie had a great presentation on how to give a technical presentation. I will definitely be incorporating some of Eddie’s teachings in my future talks. After all, I was there to learn too.
That evening many of us went to the Ale Asylum for some beer and pizza. We eventually made our way to The Brass Ring, and around 11:00 we called it an evening. It is so rewarding to be part of a group that cares so much for each other, and even though we may only see each other a few times a year, we act as though we were together just yesterday, laughing, hugging, and telling stories. Aside from family, I can’t think of a greater group of people. But we are sort of our own family, the SQL community, and it’s always great to get together.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge THANK YOU to Gina Meronek. Her organizational skills and passion were what made SQL Saturday #206 run like clockwork. Several volunteers helped out, I wish I could have helped more, but collaborative efforts of many people helped make SQL Saturday #206 in Madison a huge success. My thanks to you all. I can’t wait for next year.