I’ve returned from SQL Saturday Cleveland after presenting “Linux Performance Essentials for the SQL Server DBA”. The event had 30% women speakers, which is incredible for a technical event. I’m thrilled with the attendance and although my session went through a lot of Linux in an hour, people didn’t leave looking like their brains were going to explode, so mission accomplished.
I always feel like I’m walking around these events looking for the hidden cameras trying to record my astounded facial reactions. There is a significantly higher percentage of women speaking and in attendance and not a pencil skirt in sight. Maybe its that the events are on the weekend vs. a weekday, but at SQL Summit, the week long conference in Seattle, the only dressing up I really observed was Halloween costumes and then the guys wearing kilts in support of the women at the event. At SQL Saturday Cleveland, I had the surreal experience of feeling like the ONLY woman without a bright streak of color in her hair, (I’m in the middle of a redye process this week… :)) Erin Stellato, Wendy Pastrick, Holly Foley and others all had a flare of bright color in the midst of their natural hair color. I have felt over-dressed at a couple SQL events, as they want me here for my brain, not for my appearance.
SQL Saturdays are pretty cool events and incredibly successful for the Microsoft Data Platform community. Database specialists from each community get together to form a user group, which gives them the opportunity to network with each other, host events and learn from other. They’ve already built a culture that expects to learn on the weekend, rarely taking business time off, but in exchange, the events are free with your PASS membership, (which is also free, I might add.) and seems to retain a consistent attendance due to this. Microsoft makes it a bit easier for the volunteers who run the user groups than Oracle, as they’ve created a platform, (for better or worse) that all user groups can use as a “home base” with resources, software, hosting and a dashboard to manage it all from. There are a list of expectations that makes it easy for someone to launch a local user group, but they can also take it from there and build an event outside of the PASS organization if they wish to do so, it just is no longer part of PASS. I’ve felt one of the biggest challenges for the Oracle user groups are that we’re constantly “reinventing the wheel” with each user group and a centralized resource location would be helpful. I don’t think it would be possible to launch one on the Oracle side now, but the benefit of having one is apparent.
With that being said, the SQL Community also makes it easy to become a speaker with your PASS membership- its easy to find events, to submit abstracts, promote and interact with the event on social media. The SQL Family, (You can find #SQLFamily hashtag on Twitter) has a strong following
I think there’s a lot to be learned from all experiences and due to this, I’ve increased my involvement with the SQL Server user group in Denver as their new president. When the board suggested it, I was a little hesitant, but as they displayed their desire to continue to perform the duties for each of their roles to the fullest, it became clear that it would make sense for me to become president, as most of what I do as president for the oracle user group, RMOUG, could be reused. My biggest hurdle has been updating my SQL Saturday speaking schedule to not speak at the same time as a Saturday board meeting!
So let’s discuss what’s coming up on the calendar for the rest of February and all of March!
SQL Saturday Redmond, Redmond, WA- Feb. 10th
RMOUG Training Days, Denver, CO- Feb. 20-22nd
Since I’m doing most of the planning for this event and also the president, I’m trying to give me some space for February…. 🙂
SQL Saturday Victoria, Victoria BC- March 3rd
HotSos Symposium, Dallas, TX- March 6-8th
SQL Saturday Spokane, Spokane, WA- March 10th
Cincinnati Oracle User Group, Cincinnati, IN- March 16th
SQL Saturday Cincinnati, Cincinnati, IN- March 17th
SQL Saturday Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO- March 24th
So March may look like an impossible schedule, but for the week of the 3rd through the 10th, I’m taking one way flights from Denver to Victoria to Dallas to Spokane and then back to Denver. The two event in Cincinnati are back to back for one trip and then Colorado Springs is local for me. It will be six events, four SQL Server and two Oracle in a lesser impacting schedule.
I’m looking forward to traveling to Redmond this week. If you notice, my schedule has a few Pacific Northwest cities listed. As this area is high on our list of possible locations we might want to relocate to, I’m looking forward to spending more time in some of the urban areas of Washington and British Columbia.
Also published on Medium.