It may have been the nerves at work again but it seemed as soon I opened my eyes I was wide awake. I got up in time to catch a super quick breakfast and get to the opening keynote. It was a fairly tame and without incident keynote. Watching Twitter it seemed the only large flair up was when “ask” was used as a noun. The demos were good but I missed seeing Amir Netz (twitter). I just love his demos! After the keynote I spent the rest of the day chatting with folks and preparing for my session in the afternoon. Had some great conversations at the chapter lunch. For those unfamiliar with this, they have maps and tables setup for the local user groups so you can find groups in your area. I met several people in Indiana that are a bit too far south to make it to IndyPASS. There is some interest in potentially setting up a new user group in Bloomington. If there are any others interested in this please let me know. I would love to help this effort but need to make sure I have enough dedicated people to lead the group.
GO TIME! Then comes time for my presentation and my room is very well filled. I am always worried I will be presenting to an empty room but elevated a bit at Summit, especially when I know Bob Ward’s (twitter) is on at the same time. It was true what others kept reminding me, different audiences want different things and a 500 level session isn’t for everyone. I get started and think I did pretty well at hiding my nervousness. I remember at BA Con I could feel/hear the nerves in my voice. I didn’t notice that in this time. It’s one of my favorite sessions with absolutely my favorite demo dataset, a database of microbreweries! I know I can always tell when someone is passionate about the topic they are presenting, I hope that came through with my attendees. I felt it went pretty well and had several stay and chat and ask questions after my session. I had some very positive feedback afterward which some comments were just so good it just about floored me. It felt so good to be done and it go well! Could just feel the weight come off my shoulders.
After floating around on cloud 9 for a bit, went to the Exhibitor Reception. This is where they get folks in to talk with sponsors with the enticement of free food and drinks. I made several rounds to make a meal out of the appetizer stations but little easier with hearty items like shrimp and grits. Ended up leaving fairly early to head to Prohibition to get a table for the Pragmatic Works karaoke party. Oh the SQL people and their karaoke! It was a really nice party and some very memorable displays like Colin (twitter|blog) and Patrick (twitter|blog) yearly performance of “Forgot About Dre” and chicken appearances from Jorge/SQLChicken (twitter|blog). From there went to SQLSentry’s party at the Ale House. It also was a very great party and was honored to be invited. The highlight was meeting and talking with Paul White (twitter|blog). I was shocked at how nice, humble, and gracious he was in person.
I again surprised myself by waking up in time to catch some breakfast, I mean bread before keynote. My list of complaints is small from this year’s Summit, but breakfast this year was disappointing (I know, I know…I like food). Every day was the same very bread laden meal. The only other options to pastries/bagels was oatmeal or yogurt. I know logistics of feeding that many people is tricky but would have been nice for some other options like there has been in previous years. The keynote was Dr. David DeWitt which is always a great one. I was super distracted during it though since was planning to try to take a certification test. They had half price certification testing going on at Summit. Knowing the keynote was going to get deep I ended up leaving early to go try to take 70-465. I was planning on doing the normal course and starting at 70-461 and go on up from there. I’m not sure what possessed me to take this particular test. I had been solely focused on my presentation so went in completely cold, and came out with….a better understanding what I will get into next time. Can’t win them all and I felt better keeping focus on presentation and getting my win there.
I made it back just in time to make it to the WIT luncheon. I am involved with the PASS WIT VC program so would have been very upset to miss it. The panel consisted of Erin Stellato (twitter|blog), Rob Farley (twitter|blog), Cindy Gross (twitter|blog), Kevin Kline (twitter|blog), and Gail Shaw (twitter|blog). There was good conversation there but it ended up being initially very lop sided in who was speaking. That worked out better in the second half. And honestly it seemed to be missing some of the fire in belly moments that drove me to be involved in WIT. Erin ended up saving me from missing out totally on that with her exchange with a member of the audience. A woman mentioned a comment being made to her that she had all the traits stacked against her success in IT in that she was an athlete, foreign, and a woman. Erin’s response was that she should have responded with “How am I not going to succeed?”. Thank you Erin for that highlight of WIT luncheon in my opinion!
From there I was excited to finally go to my first technical session. I took too long to get to a session over PDW and was denied entry as it was full. Doh! The next session I decided to head over for morale support to Colin’s session on policy based management. He was a first time Summit speaker and was very nervous as well. I hated seeing when I got there that he was having some technical issues with the projector. It was something I had run into before too where you couldn’t see on the laptop and only on the projector. It’s a workable situation but makes it VERY difficult during demos. They ended up getting him a second monitor and it worked out fine. He handled it much better than I would. My face started to flush a bit with speaker sympathy symptoms. Was a great session and I learned about EPM Framework from Lara Rubbelke’s (twitter|blog) team that extends capability of policy based management to SQL Servers across environment that is available on Codeplex.
Next I made sure to get to the BI Power Hour session. I caught it last year and was one I definitely didn’t want to miss. When I’m figuring out sessions at Summit I always try to think about which sessions will lack full impact on recordings. This is very high in that category. They aren’t moving mountains admittedly with technical content but have a damn good time with the BI tools and is just fun. Did learn that Power Pivot was “just so metal that it caused the split in the name” from Matthew Roche (twitter|blog). Also Matt Masson (twitter|blog) showed how he impressed his kids with business intelligence and how vast his knowledge is of My Little Pony.
After catching up with my youngins back home I made it over to the Nascar Hall of Fame for the Community Appreciation Party. This party was good but I am little biased to the party last year at the EMP. I’m not exactly a Nascar fan so the material around at the hall of fame wasn’t getting the oohs and ahhs but that’s just a personal preference thing. Only complaint that I had was the space was a bit smaller so was cramped in some areas.