I’m sitting in the Seattle airport, waiting for my flight to Silicon Valley California for the SQL Server 2008 R2 Launch Event. By some quirk of nature, they are asking me to Emcee the event – but that’s another post entirely.
I’m reflecting on the SQL Saturday 27 event that was just held in Portland, Oregon this last Saturday. These are not Microsoft-sponsored events – it’s truly the community at work. Think of a big user-group meeting – I mean REALLY big – held in a central location, like at a college (as ours was) or some larger, inexpensive venue like that. Everyone there is volunteering – it’s my own money and time to drive several hours to a hotel for the night, feed myself and present. It’s their own time and money for the folks that organize the event – unless a vendor or two steps in to help. It’s their own time and money for the attendees to drive a long way, spend the night and their Saturday to listen to the speakers. Why do all this?
Because everybody benefits. Every speaker learns something new, meets new people, and reaches a new audience. Every volunteer does the same. And the attendees? Well, it’s pretty obvious what they get. A 7Am to 10PM extravaganza of knowledge from every corner of the product. In fact, this year the Portland group hooked up with the CodeCamp folks and held a combined event. We had over 850 people, and I had everyone from data professionals to developers in my sessions.
So I’ll take this opportunity to do two things: to say “thank you” to all of the folks who attended, from those who spoke to those who worked and those who came to listen, and to challenge you to attend the next SQL Saturday anywhere near you. You can find the list here: http://www.sqlsaturday.com/. Don’t see anything in your area? Start one! The PASS folks have a package that will show you how. Sure, it’s a big job, but the key is to get as many people helping you as possible. Even if you have only a few dozen folks show up the first time, no worries. The first events I presented at had about 20 in the room. But not this week.
See you at the Launch Event if you’re near the San Francisco area tomorrow, and see you at the Redmond SQL Saturday and TechEd if not.