Looking over to my right I can see the tops of clouds while I’m working on this blog post. I’m actually on my way to SQLSaturday Minnesota right now so no better time than to reflect back on Kalamazoo last weekend. I drove up on Friday and gave myself plenty of time to make it to town which was nice. Even stopped off in Fort Wayne to get one of them fancy presentation mice all the cool kids have and grabbed some lunch. I get to the hotel and they had to redirect me to a different hotel. Some nut job tampered with the sprinkler system and flooded half of the newly renovated hotel causing over $100,000 in damage. They sent me like 2 minutes down the road to a nice hotel and were super helpful so really was a non-issue in my book. I then spent some time with my re-vamped demo before heading over to the speaker dinner. Ran into Norm Kelm (blog|twitter) and we rode over together to Tim Ford’s (blog|twitter) house. I have been to other speaker dinners/after parties at folks houses before but am always just floored by how gracious those folks are for hosting. Tim and his wife Amy, were super great hosts. There was fantastic food and a great beer selection (super important to this admitted beer snob). They had this really good spicy chicken and apparently fire roasted veggies for the homemade salsa. Really good stuff! Then got to hangout with my SQL Family a bit which was great! Chatted up everyone who was in earshot, played a really terrible game of pool, and picked up my favorite speaker gift, ever! They gave out these really great light jackets. Not that I haven’t appreciated all the polos and shirts, but being a gal I typically don’t wear them after the event. This is the first one I will actually wear again. Nicely done organizers on the jackets!
Event day comes and my session is just before lunch. I get a workout in and head over to the venue. Oh what a venue it was! This place was just a gorgeous facility! They had it at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The layout was nice as well. Rooms were a bit spread out but wasn’t excessive at all. I get setup for my PowerPivot session and had a great turnout. I added a new piece to my demo which went well but I wish I was a little more comfortable with that new portion. I don’t think it showed as I got all 4s and 5s and had some folks stay and discuss PowerPivot more. So then with my session done it was time for the WIT panel at lunch. For a change I didn’t stuff my face during the discussion and waited till after to eat. I’m a liar though if I say I wasn’t worried that I was going to get some food…this girl’s gotta eat! We had really great informal discussion. It was moderated by Shelly Noll (twitter) and the panel was myself, Wendy Pastrick (blog|twitter), Colleen Morrow (blog|twitter), and Tamera Clark (blog|twitter). We talked about things like getting what you deserve in pay and touched some on glass ceiling issues. I liked the term that came up of “voting with your feet” meaning that if you aren’t treated how you want or paid what you want, walk away.
After that I grab a couple tacos to go (hooray food!) and head over to Juan Soto’s (blog|twitter) session “Wish you could live the glamorous consulting life?”. I had never seen him speak before and am a consultant so was curious to hear a different aspect of it. He gave a lot of great information and tips for folks who are considering making that jump. Covered some of the considerations such as working from home. You have to be geared to do that and can’t have a lot of distractions in your home. He also had some good information on websites and Google ads.
From there I went to Garrett Edmondson’s (blog) session “Scaling SQL Server to Hundreds of Terabytes”. I wasn’t familiar with him as well and was intrigued by the topic. He did a good job and is very knowledgeable on data warehouses. He also is one of the rare folks also getting to work with PDW and talked about that a bit.
For the last session of the day I went to go see Tamera like a camera Clark give session on creating your first SSRS report. I’ve known her from Twitter for quite awhile so was excited to see her present. She had some small hiccups with her datasets but she recovered well and did a good job. She’s a fabulous gal and her personality shines through which is great.
The wrap up went on for a good long time because they had tons of sponsors. I gave Josh Fennessy (blog|twitter) tons of grief because of this which was really due to the fact I had a big case of sponsor envy going on leading up to the event. So after that then we went downtown to the Beer Exchange for the after party. This was a great place with an interesting concept. They do the beer prices like a stock market that go up and down based on demand. Was a happening spot so they had to break us up into 3 groups of 10. I was in the right spot at the bar and got into one of the first groups. We are sitting and eating having a great time. I had great beer and the best macaroni and cheese I ever had. A bit later I go downstairs to find that some of the others still hadn’t gotten a table yet and were still waiting! I then begin to feel like a giant jerk and move our table out quickly. One of the folks still waiting was Tim and Amy Ford and their kids which totally helped drive the guilt knife in a bit deeper.
We then end up going back to Tim/Amy’s house after that as well. Another reason to feel like a giant jerk…yeah umm you haven’t eaten yet but can we all crash your place again? Luckily they are super nice like that and we all had a ball. Jason (blog|twitter) and Sarah Strate (blog|twitter) brought a game called “Cards Against Humanity” that was just flippin hilarious! It was kind of like a super crude and wonderfully inappropriate version of grown up Mad Libs and was fantastic! I may have to buy a copy of that myself.
So yeah it was another really great SQLSaturday event and I had a ball hanging out with my SQL Family! Thanks to Josh Fennessy who did a fantastic job being the lead organizer. You held it together even with the venue issues and everything (almost became the first SQLSaturday to be held in a field). Thanks to all the other organizers and volunteers! Huge thanks and big props to Tim and Amy Ford! Thank you for letting this crazy bunch of SQL people invade your home not once but twice! Tim you make sure to buy Amy something expensive for putting up with all of us yahoos! 🙂