SQLSaturday Atlanta – Karen Lopez Got Me in Trouble

Grabs your attention doesn’t it?  Not completely a shameless driver of traffic to my blog but definitely needs more explanation.  I’ll get to that portion in a bit.  I was super excited to get picked up to present at the SQLSaturday in Atlanta.  I don’t know for sure but Atlanta has got to be up there in number of attendees for SQLSaturdays.  Not only that but there were plenty of big names who submitted presentations.  And to top it off, it was to be my first SQLSaturday of this year.  Seems most of the ones my company picked to send me to go to last year were in the spring/summer so I was coming out of a SQLSaturday drought.

I had the first session of the day which was very nice.  I had never had that slot before but was great.  I was able get in early and make sure could get the projector working without pestering previous presenter. Plus getting it over and being able to relax and get my learn on the rest of the day was fabulous.  My presentation went pretty well.  Had a great engaged audience who gave input during and didn’t seem to glaze over.  I get to the end though and realize I was 10 minutes early.  Caught me off guard as I gave this one couple times and was before trying to cram it all in with no time to spare.  I was really kind of pissed at myself and was determined to figure out what I missed.  I did and put that info into my last blog so the demons were exorcised and I feel like I learned a lesson presenting too.  I need to make sure I really think about the audience perspective.  I was afraid I was getting too deep into each task in my SSIS package.  I wrote the package so it’s old hat to me and I understand the thing inside and out.  They have never seen it before so I need to make sure to explain it well so folks aren’t lost.

I then went first to fulfill some booth duties with Kandy (sales gal from Perpetual Technologies) but was distracted by conversations with old and new friends.  She has been to SQL events with me and knew how I get at these.  She ended up turning me loose.  It was like trying to keep the kid in candy store tethered with one of those backpack leashes.  Next time anyone catches her at an event, make sure to sing her praises and compliment her out the wazoo (she’s the beautiful tall blond).  Then I caught lunch out in the Georgia sunshine with more great sqlpeeps.

The rest of the day I caught every session I could.  Up first I caught a bit of the sales pitch lunch for Red Gate from Grant Fritchey (blog|twitter) just for fun just because he’s swell.  Then I just HAD to go catch a PowerShell session and who better to do that than Mr. Scripting Guy himself, Ed Wilson.  I have read his site forever but never attended a presentation.  He was super fun to watch and was a good session.  Up next after that was Julie Smith (blog|twitter) and Rob Volk’s (blog|twitter) joint presentation.  I seen Julie on her blog and really enjoyed some of her work on SSIS so really wanted to see her present.  They both have a great sense of humor and it came through in this session.  After that I caught Stuart Ainsworth’s (blog|twitter) session on “biggish data”.  After he mentioned that he had been bleeped in sessions before I knew it would be an enjoyable presentation and it was.

Then came the after party at Season 52 Restaurant and Brewery.  The after parties are my favorite parts.  I love a good beer and SQL peeps so those combined is like chocolate covered loveliness wrapped in rainbow.  I began the night meeting some really great PowerShell folks such as Jim Christopher (blog|twitter) and Jon Boulineau (blog|twitter).  I was so impressed that Atlanta had a full track on PowerShell.  I still don’t get it but PowerShell for some reason gets no love from some.  Was great to get to meet and chat with Adam Mechanic (blog|twitter).  I got some really good info on planning for the event from Aaron Nelson (blog|twitter) to take back home for SQLSaturday Indy (#sqlsat126).  I got some of Stacia Misner’s (blog|twitter) journey that brought her into IT and the SQL world.  So many great folks I met or old friends that caught up with that night.  All the while my sales gal Kandy was letting me do my networking thing but sat at the bar and waited on me to make sure I had a ride.  Later in the night I was especially excited to be able to chat with Karen Lopez (blog|twitter).  I had been at events where she was but hadn’t gotten to talk to her fully yet.  I’ve mentioned my “intellectual crushes” in previous blog posts.  She is definitely super high on that list.  In fact, I’m not sure she ever responded to me fully on if I get to carry the boom box in her entourage but I’m still hopeful.  Around this time folks began heading back to hotel so she said I could catch a ride with her and Denny Cherry (blog|twitter).  Without a hesitation in the world I said “Ok” and may have giggled like a school girl.  Now I mentioned the beer earlier and that of course didn’t help my star struck situation but I completely forgot about Kandy.  I was rightfully very in the doghouse with her but being the lovely person she is, forgave me later and even traveled back to Indy without punching me at all.  I am still waiting on a mafioso style favor to be asked at some point but totally will be deserved.

I had an over the moon blast at SQLSaturday Atlanta!  A few of the lessons learned are below:

1.  Never ever leave your wingman!

2.  Don’t over think your presentations and talk yourself out of giving enough information.

3.  Make sure to keep your food to beer ratio at good levels for a small Asian girl, not a lumberjack.

4.  Christina Leo (blog|twitter) was not kidding and does keep kettlebells in her car at all times.

5.  The SQL Server community is friggin awesome!


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