Tag Archives: PASS

Is ROI for Vendors Worth the SQL Saturday Investment?

networkingPiggy backing onto the recent SQL Saturday post here in Louisville, I wanted to take a more in-depth look, from my perspective, on how vendors all fit into these events.

Having the opportunity to work alongside these vendors has been both a learning experience for myself along with forming new bonds along the way. Louisville has been fortunate enough to have some of the best vendors in our industry who see the importance of investing time in others for a few reasons.

  • Networking
  • Getting their products name out
  • Growing their local community pool
  • Bringing exposure to their company

SQL Saturday events provide a much more intimate setting with a lower number of attendees. Example our event for the past two years had over 220 users sign up. This is a much smaller scale then say what a PASS conference has signed up where over five thousand of your closest friends attend.

The SQL Saturday events allow the attendees to get up close and personal with the vendors on products that they may or may not use. That’s great Chris, but I’m a vendor and how would I get ROI out of it; because at the end of the day if I want to sponsor an event there needs to be some gains on my end?

This therein is a valid question and one that is not taken lightly. In speaking with a vendor they had this to say about our event:

Our sponsorship of SQL Saturday allowed us to connect with a wealth of developers and DBAs, in a single day. The event was organized, productive, and time well spent furthering our business in Louisville.

I am starting to see soft metrics, such as intangibles, in determining the business value sending data professionals for respective vendors to such events. What kind of intangibles? They’re the stuff that doesn’t show up in traditional cost-accounting methods but that truly makes a difference in maximizing the potential knowledge growth of the organization. These include employee learning, vendor interaction, business relationships, and networking. Some of these are clearly more quantifiable than others, but all are important to a vendors success.

Some outside thoughts on how ROI for vendors is applicable:

  • You have to evaluate your audience.
  • Make sure your input channel, in this case your interaction with attendees, has some new features for viewing.
  • List of attendees for potential future clients.
  • Make your presence known prior to event (outside the marketing done by said event).
  • Commitment from potential attendees
  • Flexibility

End of the day, vendors are a huge part from all angles in regards to SQL Saturday events. Getting a great local base at events like this continues to build and solidify companies advancement in the technology space; specifically around the Microsoft stack.

Conclusion

If you are interested in getting involved you can check out or view upcoming schedules at the SQL Saturday home page here.

From personal experience I know that talking with vendors at said events it has opened doors and opportunities for business in my current and previous shops along with building a network base for future discussions.

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Heading To PASS Summit 2015 – Now What?

PASS_2015_200x200You’ve heard about it for some time now, and you finally got the gumption to ask your boss if the company would send you to PASS Summit 2015. A few days or weeks elapse and you get word that you were the chosen one from the company to attend – FANTASTIC, you say….but wait – – what in the world am I supposed to do? What should I expect? Will someone throw a fish at me in Seattle?

First off, relax. I want to share some advice with you that may help ease your mind and make your trip a ton of fun. Pull up a chair and stay a few minutes; this is a blog post and not a dissertation so I won’t take to long.

What Can I Expect?

PASS Summit 2014Simple question with profound meaning. I can only tell you of my experiences and what I’ve been through as alumni to the conference.

My first PASS Summit was back in 2011 (documented here) and it was one that changed the outlook on my career forever. I was green to the community thing and come to find out I was not the only one.

A ton of sessions, a ton of speakers, a ton of people – with all that said the experience was hands down  the best professional work conference I’ve attended.

Fruits of Attending?

Community ZoneWhat can I gain from attending? Beside the knowledge of sessions you have a plethora of opportunities to network with speakers, vendors, and other data professionals on a daily basis?

Do you have a question for Microsoft? If so, head on over to their triage center to get some direct help or visit the community zone.

Even better; this last trip resulted in me meeting an individual at a table. Out of 5 k data professionals I strike up a conversation with this person and we talk over breakfast. This person is from the exact same city I am from – who knew? As I get back into town I had a position become available; guess what I ended up hiring the individual after an interview process and it has worked out very well for both of us. You never know what may come out of attending this conference.

What Do I Bring?

Everyone is different; normally what you will find with me at the conference are (but not limited to):

  1. Business cards
  2. Laptop or Surface
  3. Battery Stick
  4. Mifi (although they have WiFi there)
  5. Chargers
  6. Cell phone
  7. Batteries
  8. Mouse
  9. Thumb Drive (cause you know, why not)
  10. Pens
  11. 3×5 cards (some form of paper in case I need to jog something down real fast)
  12. Hand Sanitizer

I tend to keep a second bag in my back pack of other essentials. Be creative, this is just a list to help you get started.

The Sessions

You won’t be able to see all the sessions you want to. I suggest you create your schedule online at the PASS site. This gets you a head start, but keep in mind that part of the fruits of being there is to meet people and talk.

You can purchase all the sessions for the conference; just ask one of the many volunteers where you need to go. It’s fairly inexpensive and most companies I know will reimburse you for it as you bring them home to the team or the ones who could not go. Plus it helps you see the other sessions you didn’t get to attend.

Have Some Fun

Lastly, as I bring this to a close, have some fun. It’s easy to get overwhelmed I get that. Just enjoy yourself and embrace the journey you are about to embark on. You won’t regret being involved with something so great within the PASS Community.

I look forward to seeing you there; if you run into me say hi. I don’t mind stopping and talking to new and old faces a like.

Stairs

Making A Difference

MakeADifferenceA father was awoken by his wife to check on their son who was asleep but making noises that they could hear through his room monitor. The father, half a sleep and thinking his son was dreaming, wondered into his room and called out to his son only to find that his son wouldn’t answer him. The dad stumbled over to his son’s bed to find that his eyes were rolled back in his head and he was stiff as a board. Panic set in, the worst scenario for the parents was coming true. The son, who had type 1 diabetes, had gone into a diabetic shock – his blood sugar had dipped to low while sleeping. The father feeling for a pulse; scooped the son up and rushed him down stairs to apply an emergency Glucagon shot while the wife called for an ambulance.

Why am I sharing this you may ask? Simple, the father of that boy is me and from that night on he has been my hero which leads me into this article…….

I was fortunate and blessed to attend my first PASS SUMMIT in 2011. After getting passed the complete awesomeness and the many renowned speakers I found myself wanting to ask questions and kicking myself in the tail for not asking them. Come on, let’s be honest, you’ve been there with various things in your life. You don’t want to ask questions because you don’t want to feel not as smart, or you see someone who has years’ experience and think why would they want to waste time on what I think. I know I felt that same thing and then it all kind of just clicked in my head.

I got to thinking about my boy while at that PASS Summit and the inspiration he had given me that night, then sitting in a session and looking over and seeing Brent Ozar in the class actually learning (floored me; in my eyes this guy knows everything SQL related), or Paul Randal sitting in on a session a few seats away, or asking advice from Chris Shaw on a presentation he did on Utility Databases. I found out a few things at the Summit about myself that otherwise I would have stayed in my shell.

  • The people that you look up to in the industry are 9 times out of 10 the most down to earth people you would ever meet and are willing to offer advice if you ask.
  • Step out of that comfort zone; this blog was started based on attending the PASS Summit and thinking if I can help one person along my SQL journey as a DBA then it is all worth-while.
  • Speaking – never thought I’d do it but found out I truly enjoy it and helps me interact with a lot of faces and people.
  • Learn from the SQL Community as a whole; have you been to any forums, blogs on a regular schedule?
  • Not one question is a dumb question; everyone learns so go ahead and ask that question  you are hesitant about.
  • Hard work – it does pay off. Don’t short cut anything – dig in, dive in, and give it all you got.

If you have thought about stepping out and starting your own technical blog – DO IT

If you have thought about going up to someone and asking them for advice – DO IT

If you are at a conference and you have a question but the speaker is what you call a Master Jedi in our industry – DO IT

It takes one to make a difference in someone’s career, it takes one to make a difference to someone who might not yet be comfortable in asking the question to solve the problem, it takes one to encourage the person just starting out to get the most out of their potential.

For those of us who have been in the SQL industry for years; when is the last time we put away our ego’s and  helped the one starting out? Or maybe we have a wealth of  knowledge and need to step out and be a voice in the SQL Community.

It takes one ~ will you be that one?

PASS – Time To Get Your Vote On

VoteI can remember pretty vividly the first time I attended a PASS function. It is something that profoundly changed my outlook on my career and how I view the SQL community as a whole. With that said there are three seats open for the PASS Board of Directors and you can view their profiles here.

I am familiar with just about everyone who is up for election, and while I don’t know them personally, I follow their work and what they stand for daily. All of the candidates hold what I believe to be the following:

  • Integrity
  • Character
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Share their knowledge with the community
  • All seem to want to influence the growth of our community
  • Responsible

These are just a few of the many traits that these finalists represent.

One of the very first ones that I came across on this list that stuck out to me was Allen Kinsel. It’s a no brainer from an experience standpoint along with is proven track record, but the ideas, goals, and future outlook is what has lured me to this candidate. As I stated earlier each candidate is deserving in their own right; I encourage each of you to follow up in reviewing these well deserving candidates. The decision itself will be a difficult one for me; how about  you?

To the candidates themselves I wanted to personally thank you for your time, effort, countless hours of sharing your knowledge, being proven leaders, and allowing yourselves to be nominated for such a prestigious position.

**Voting will open end of day Pacific Time Sept. 25 and close at noon Pacific Time Sept. 30. Ballots will be sent to all PASS members in good standing as of June 13, 2013**

Where Do I Start – The Journey?

journey

I’ve recently been approached by numerous people at work, on boards, forums, twitter, etc. regarding different ways to learn and improve one’s skill set.

The Forums

I find myself on forums more so than normal perusing through questions, providing feedback where applicable and so on. Some of the ones I traffic often are:

  1. SQL Server Central
  1. The SQL Brit’s Forum

I think forums are a great avenue to see what others are sharing on topics that I might have gone through, are going through, or will go through.

Bloggers

I enjoy reading/following bloggers of who I consider to be at “the top” of the SQL game. I will not list them all out here but if you look to the right you under DBA Blogs you will find additional links of blogs I follow. Over my decade in dealing with SQL I have tried to model and pick up some of the knowledge that they share on a regular basis. Take time to hit some of their sites and remember if you do reach out to one of them I always say be respectful; a lot of their time is providing free knowledge to the community which is what helps make the community grow and be better; be sure to thank them for all they do.

Email Subscriptions

My days normally consist of several hundred emails daily but I try to take a certain part of my day and read the emails I subscribe to; I really enjoy MSSQLTips, SWUGG, the live burn feeds I receive from the bloggers I follow, and several more. Getting involved and subscribing to some of the top tier SQL sites provides another avenue for learning opportunities, networking, etc.

Books

Really depends on what SQL Server versions you are running right now. A lot of people have been asking me about 2008 R2 and for that I liked the DBA Cookbook; felt it had some good stuff in there. Red Gate puts out a lot of good stuff along with the SQL Deep Dive editions.

Training Sites

Some ones that I’ve used or recommended in the past are:

  • Pluralsight – I’m a big Paul Randal and Glenn Berry fan so when SQLSkills.com joined it was a no brainer for me.
  • SQL Course
  • PASS (take advantage of the local chapters and virtual chapters)

Closing

I read an article this week by SQL Brit (John Sansom) regarding “Overconfidence – How it Almost Cost Me and What You Can Do to Avoid It”. After reading it I felt like it was one of the better ones I’ve read in the past month. It put things into perspective in a sense that while I’m very confident in my abilities you can never become “lax”. I am a believer in learning everyday and I will continue to hone in on my skillset; at the same time it is imperative that we do not just “assume” or “take for granted” the regular routines we do on a daily basis.

These are some of the things (not all) I like to dig into on a regular basis and I’m sure you have your own; I’d love to hear what others utilize if you have time drop me a line and I’ll share it out on the post so other community members who pass by might be able to gain something from it.

The Roundup – #TSQL2sday

Another T-SQL Tuesday has come and gone and I’ve got to admit that all the responses that were received are pretty awesome and even had a few responses from first timers that attended the PASS Summit 2012. While all the posts were great, I had one that blew me away and is exactly what the Community is about. Kendal Van Dyke allowed a post to be tied to his blog by Andy Levy who currently didn’t have a blog and is fairly new to SQL. If you get a chance check it out.

One theme that I read over and over again is that we are one huge family and we have each others backs. The Community has a whole goes out of their way to assist our fellow members. Below is the roundup from everyone who chimed in. Thanks everyone for their participation!

Remember if you are interested in hosting please contact Adam Machanic (B|T)

POSTS

Jason BrimHall – SQL Family – After Summit 2012 | SQL RNNR

Rob Farley – Rob Farley : SQL Community – stronger than ever

Aaron Bertrand – T-SQL Tuesday : Reflections on the PASS Summit and our community

Robert Davis – T-SQL Tuesday #36 – SQL Community | SQLSoldier

Chris Shaw – Esprit de Corps T-SQL Tuesday #36 « Chris Shaw’s Weblog

Valentino Vranken – BI: Beer Intelligence? · PASS Summit 2012: Impressions Of A First Timer

Steve Jones – T-SQL Tuesday #36 – What Does Community Mean? « Voice of the DBA

Oliver Asmus – T-SQL Tuesday #36 – What Does the SQL Community Mean To You? | OliverAsmus.com

Edwin Sarmiento – PASS Summit and The Value Of Building A Community

Wayne Sheffield – T-SQL Tuesday #36 – Community

Mike Fal – T-SQL Tuesday #36 (#tsql2sday) – Coolness factor | Art of the DBA

Robert Pearl – TSQL Tuesday – What SQL Community Means To Me

Tamera Clark – SQL Community and Family

Kendal Van Dyke (On Behalf of Andy Levy) – T-SQL Tuesday #36 – SQL Community (Guest Post)

Kerry Tyler – T-SQL Tuesday #36: What Does the SQL Community Mean to You (Me)?

Argenis Fernandez – T-SQL Tuesday #36 (#tsql2sday)– Post-PASS Summit Depression

SQL Asylum – T-SQL Tuesday #36 SQL Community how you can get involved

Dev Jef: – T-SQL TuesDay #36 – What does the community mean to you? « SQL from the Trenches

Mickey Stuewe – T-SQL Tuesday #36 – What Community Means to a Newbie « Mickey’s T-SQL Ponderings

David Maxwell – T-SQL Tuesday #36: What Community Means To Me | David Maxwell on SQL Server

Stacia Misner – Data Inspirations » We are (SQL) Family! (T-SQL Tuesday #36)

Jenny Salvo – T-SQL Tuesday: What Does the SQL Community Mean to You? | Salvo(z)

PASS Summit 2012 – Closing In

 

Last year, 2011, I had the opportunity to attend this conference. I never had been to Seattle and my peers who have attended before me said that I would be amazed at what I would be getting myself into.

I’m not sure how to explain it other than by telling you my experience about it.

NETWORKING

Upon arriving to the conference I was amazed to see that I was there with roughly 3 to 5 thousand of my fellow community brothers and sisters. I am not by any means an introvert; but I can see how people would be awestruck when walking into the convention center.

I quickly found that networking, sharing issues, sharing solutions, and gaining knowledge was at the forefront. Each day PASS puts on a daily luncheon, now I tell you one thing…..food…..SQL…..community…can’t really top that.

Last year I had the opportunity to meet some of the most respected SQL MVP’s in the industry such as Chris Shaw, Jason Strate, Brad McgeheeGrant Fritchey, and Steve Jones.

FIRST TIME ATTENDING

First and foremost let me congratulate you on attending. Secondly, don’t be alarmed or get to overwhelmed. PASS does a great job of orientation and getting attendees acclimated to the week ahead.

For an insight into the workshops and orientation you can go directly to the PASS website  for reference.

GET IN THE GAME

This will be the most beneficial conference SQL related you could attend. If you are looking for something that could change your career or outlook I would seriously consider attending; where else will you get

REGISTRATION

Registration is simple; for exact information you can visit the PASS site directly here