This was my first visit to a SQLSaturday outside of Dallas and it was pretty cool to experience it.
From Dallas, we had a bunch of people visit to speak. The entire North Texas SQL Server Board were there plus Drew Minkin, Eric Humphrey, Jen McCown, Russ Loski , Trevor Barkhouse , Tim Costello were also at the event.
Here are my thoughts on the event….
Kudos to SQLSaturday #57 Team
- The venue Bammel Church of Christ was fantastic. I would kill to get a venue like this for Dallas.
- The food I hear was amazing. Sorry I am a vegetarian and cannot comment about the Barbeque, but I loved the salad, the fruits and the muffins.
- The registration process was smooth and never saw more than 2-3 people waiting in line.
- The sessions went smoothly and no major issues what so ever.
Sometimes in the grand scheme of things, we all forget that first and foremost this is a free training event for the attendees. Then comes everything else. So even though, my list on things to be improved might be a tad bit long, I think this was a perfect event by all means and had no major issues that would make the attendees feel a pinch.
Some HQ Items – Nancy Nasso and Team
- Badges for attendees. It was there was speakers. Just wished it was there for attendees as well. We missed this one in Dallas for the first event but fixed it in the next one. I think this is something HQ should follow up with each event owner ( especially the first timers ) in a call or email , a week before the event and make sure this is done. It should not cost more than $50 to do this and is well worth the cost. All it takes is just a sticker/label and couple of marker pens. Maybe PASS can provide this to all events.
- Cancel emails – I cannot stress the importance of “Click here to cancel if you are not coming” emails. I am sure everyone likes the registration list to be big but IMHO , it needs to be truly reflective of people who want to come. Again an item that HQ should follow up with event leaders ( especially the first timers) a week before the event. One email on this the week of the event will save a lot of money ( in food and other misc. items bought for all attendees wasted).
- Reminder Email the night before. In all fairness, auto messaging screwed this one up and sent it at noon on the day of the event. HQ must make sure this is sent the night before ( fix the tool). This helps people get one final reminder the day before the event. The email on the day of the event is too late in my opinion.
- Survey/Schedule Builder – Some small rooms were jam packed and some large rooms had less than 10% of capacity attendance and this caused Heating and Cooling issues. The schedule builder is there on the wish list and maybe Heating/Cooling is good a reason why it should be on top of the list. Or it should just be a simple survey that is sent to ask attendees to rate their favorite sessions.
SQLSaturday #57 Organizers
- More room for speaker party and attendee party - It was pretty tight with less chairs and that made people to mostly sit on their chairs and not venture around to talking to others. I personally like it when people move around, interact etc. Badges for these would also be awesome.
- Raffles – The Raffle process could use a little bit more planning.
- Sponsor Tables – I personally felt one side of sponsor tables got a lot of crowd and the other side not so much. There was not much motivation for attendees to go to each sponsor. Muffins on one side and coffee on the other side could have helped.
- WiFi – Now, I know it was hard to find a venue and then when you find this one, you take it. This is a NICE TO HAVE and not a deal breaker. I think, a couple of hotspots would just do the trick for next time. Don’t change the venue.
Pictures from the event are here below.