Category Archives: SQLSaturday

SQLSaturday #97 Speaker Selection Process

Hard Choices

First, thank you for submitting to speak at SQLSaturday #97 in Austin, TX. Myself, Richard Heim and Mike Byrd had a good time reading and discussing all the abstracts.

Now that we have rapped up the selection process let me say it was no easy chore. I’d love to tell you that it was a completely unbiased and the selection committee didn’t have any agenda at all. That simply isn’t the truth. Queue ominous chung CHUNG here….

The Most Un-secret Conspiracy Ever

SQLSaturday is a very unique thing. It’s a free regional event. It provides training. It also provides a venue for local speakers and teachers to sharpen their skills. If you have ever spent any time talking with Andy Warren about SQLSaturday you will find that he also thinks it is an opportunity to promote local over more well known national people. I also have a pragmatic view of things. There are three groups of people you are trying to make happy. In a perfect world there would only be one group, us. That just isn’t so.

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy


There are a lot of speakers these days, I know I’m one of them. SQLSaturday has been a huge boon to the new group of up and coming teachers and leaders. One of the things not to lose site of that a scant 3 years ago this pool was much, much smaller than it is today. There is a significant group of very active speakers on the “SQLSaturday Circuit” and we do rely on them to kick start things. If you are in a region where there just isn’t a very active local pool these fantastic speakers are a true asset. For me, it was a reassurance that we would have enough speakers and topics to meet the community need. Luckily for us in Texas we have a pretty sizable group of speakers between Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston there are easily 30 or more speakers. It can also be a bit of a problem. Part of me wants to load up with the most seasoned and well known speakers to help draw a crowd. That isn’t the whole goal of a SQLSaturday though. So, I reached out to people in the area and made sure they submitted sessions. I worked with some of them personally to help with abstracts and presentations. I also made sure they had a spot to speak at the local chapter meeting to get them a little experience. You will see people on the schedule you have NEVER heard of. You may not know them. They are some of the best at what they do in our region. This also means I may have passed up a more season speaker to promote someone new. Remember, someone gave you your first chance to speak don’t begrudge me for doing the same thing for others.


This event wouldn’t be possible at all without vendors, end of story. It takes money to put on a SQLSaturday no matter how big or small. There are a finite number of dollars to put on these events and vendors have to pick where they think the money will do the most good. Not just in marketing terms, but in bolstering their local communities as well. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I’ve been the guy that had to choose where those dollars went. I had to look at the size of the market. Did we want to pull in more of the market share in that region. Would we be able to support a push by sales to continue the initial drive. All of these things are a factor. At the end of the day, will there be a direct or indirect benefit to the company. Why should I put dollars into your event and NOT into some other marketing channel? To that end, I want to see that you are stacking the speaker list to put as many butts in seats as possible. This isn’t 100% against the goal of getting some new people on the roster, but it isn’t a guarantee that we will maximize eyeballs on product ether. You will find that 99 times out 100 a vendor will gladly take that gamble.


Big names do draw a part of the crowd that attends a SQLSaturday. Not as much as most people think. You may look and see someone well known speaking but there is usually a lot of other content that you want to see. What I have seen is people going to the sessions that are teaching something they want to learn. What a shocker! Yes, people will pack a session if there is a topic that is hot and there is a well known speaker presenting. I’ve also seen well known speakers speak to a hand full of people. What I’ve found is a lot of the attendees have never been to a SQLSaturday or any event like it. They may not know that you, the veteran speaker, are totally awesome and they should come see you. Even if you are talking about turnips. You, as an attendee, may choose to come because there are some super stars speaking. Trust me on this one, you will learn from every session you attend.

It Ain’t Always Easy

Myself and my team have made every effort to balance the needs of all three groups as best we can. If you submitted this year and didn’t get a slot to speak, please don’t let it stop you from submitting again next year! If you opted not to be a sponsor I completely understand that too. If you choose not to attend that’s OK, there are other events in the region I hope you can make it to. We did our best to promote local, balance the schedule and make sure that there was enough solid content to make this a true learning experience. I hope everyone, speakers, attendees and vendors all get some benefit from our event.

I will make you this promise. I will never put myself on the schedule. I’ve been blessed with a job that allows me to travel and with the support of the community, I have been given lots of opportunities to speak. I will gladly make sure that a slot is held open for the next new person in hope that they grow into the next rock star and give back to the community.


A huge thanks to everyone that submitted a session, I cannot express how humbled I was to see the number and the quality of submissions. I look forward to having this same problem next year.

Why You Should Attend SQL Saturday 97

Reposted from :

By AJ Mendo

Free Training

Part of the mission statement of SQL Saturday (read the full statement here) is to provide a day of free training to SQL Server Professionals and those new to SQL Server an event that combines training and networking as well as find and grow new speakers (see Calling All Local Speakers) that means you!

Take a look at all the sessions submitted. The tracks are not finalized yet but so far we have sessions submitted for DBAs, Developers, BI professionals, dotNet, and an Advanced. As you can see there is something for everyone.

Cool People To Meet

For me networking is one of the best parts of any SQL Saturday event. You can catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I especially like meeting the people I have chatted with on twitter and not met in person. That’s part of what makes the SQL community so strong and always growing. You can have conversations (all be it short ones) on twitter and when you actually meet them it’s almost as if you have known them for years.

The Weather Is Fine Wish You Were

I am sure you have seen something in the news about how hot it has been and the serious drought conditions down here in Texas recently. Yes it’s true; we have many days during the summer over 100 degrees and have not had measurable rain in several months.  However, our fall weather is usually very, very nice.

The normal high temperatures for October are in the low 80s and the normal low temperatures are in the upper 50s. Our average monthly rainfall is below 4 inches. That is not too shabby when compared to other areas of the country or world for the month of October. This year will be no different it is going to be a beautiful weekend to be in Austin.

Things To Do

After getting your learn on during the day, and after you have hung out at the Networking Social post event party you can stroll along 6th street. Checkout the clubs the people and maybe, just maybe run into the world famous Leslie (

Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World! Every weekend for sure and just about every week night you can find live music to your liking in Austin. Whatever you decide to do Austin has the nightlife to support it.


Vendors are a big part of any of the SQL Saturday events and ours is no different. They support the events financially and with people. Please make it a point to visit the vendors, talk with them, and check what they have to offer, get a free pen or a splat ball, and if they are giving something away, throw your name in hat for a drawing at the end of the day. Who knows you may win something and get more than just free knowledge. I was at an event in the spring where one of the attendees won several things in a row. That could be you this time.

Final Thoughts

When you look at the wide range of session topics submitted. The speakers on the list, then networking possibilities, not to mention it is FREE, there is bound to be something for every level of experience.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am really excited to be a part of CACTUSS and that we can give a little back to the community by SQL Saturday 97. If you are attending, find me and say hi. I’ll be the one grinning from ear to ear.


Heading to Baton Rouge! SQLSaturday #64

I’ve been honored again to present at Baton Rouge. This is an excellent event from every angle. It is also getting big! This is shaping up to be a truly well rounded Microsoft focused event. If you are there please come say hi, I love to meet new people!

Check it out and build your schedule. Don’t forget the after party ether. Networking is a huge part of a SQLSaturday, take advantage of it!

The Austin Fall Classic, SQLSaturday is Coming To Austin, TX

Come Get Your Learn On!

You heard right, on October 1st 2011 you need to be in Austin, TX. We have finalized our location and spot on the SQLSaturday list. After a rough start to the year I’ve managed to get my core team together and in action, settle my personal life down a bit and get this train back on the tracks. The call for speakers is open. This is your chance to start your speaking career. If you wish to volunteer for any part of the event please send an email to If you want to sponsor this event take a look at the sponsor page and let us know. You can email directly at For more information please go to the SQLSaturday #97 page.

Expanding In Austin

To serve the needs of the SQL Server community in Austin, we are starting a second meeting time and place. We are talking with Experis, a leading technology recruiting firm, to use their offices at 301 Congress Ave. Response to the second meeting space and time has been very positive and I look forward to watching this monthly event grow. As soon as we are confirmed I will send out the inaugural meeting notification.

Watch out! Here Comes the POSSE

The SQL POSSE that is. To support our efforts to grow the SQL Server community in central Texas and the surrounding area I am proud to announce the formation of the Professional Organization of SQL Server Educators. Our purpose is to support local chapters with things like SQLSaturday or just helping out at the local user group level. Currently, CACTUSS and SALSSA are affiliated with POSSE and in the coming weeks I will be reaching out to other user groups to see if they are interested in pooling some resources. POSSE doesn’t replace your user group, it is a support facility to help get things done. POSSE is currently filing for federal non-profit status and state non-profit status in Texas. We should be fully recognized around the time of our SQLSaturday event. Once we have gone through this I will post full details on what we did, how we did it and what it cost to get it done. After that I’ll be more than happy to schedule a conference call with chapter leaders to discuss the details and answer questions. I’ve asked for years for anyone who has done this to share and got back cricket noises so I figured it was time to put up or shut up.

Its been a busy summer and it will be a busy fall too!

SQLRally, SQL Saturday and The Summit

“Gotta say it was a good day…”

-Ice Cube

On The SQL Saturday Circuit

I’ve been speaking at all the regional SQLSaturday events I can go to. I kicked off the year with SQLSaturday #57 in Houston. Then did a turn around to SQLSaturday #63 in Dallas, my second one there. I have submitted to Baton Rouge figuring I could drive it but after that I’d be tapped out on vacation time and money. Lucky for me, Idera started the A.C.E. program and chose me as part of the very first group to sponsor for this year. I’m now gearing up to submit to more SQLSaturday’s. Hopefully I’ll get picked!

Is this Thing On?

From Thomas Wanhoff via Flickr

I did my first live webinar on Idera’s Secrets of SQL Server  webcast series. It was a three part series over SQL Server and storage technologies. My first part pulled in around 900 people. Part 2 around 500 and part 3 around 350. All in all, I would call it a success. I had a great time doing them. I was terrified to do them. I have done a ton of public speaking and a short stint in radio broadcasting, but this felt completely different. It was in a way. I couldn’t just ham it up like I would on the radio and not having the feed back from a live audience made it difficult to tell if I was going off the rails.

On The National Stage

I was notified by SQLRally that I would be presenting my storage talk at the very first event in Orlando. I was stunned. First, that I made the initial cut. Secondly, that I was chosen by all of you over so many other great abstracts and speakers. I resolved to make this the best presentation I could. Later, I got the call that I had been chosen for a 90 minute deep dive session. I knew I could carry 90 minutes with the amount of material I’ve got handy so that wasn’t an issue. Not wanting to disappoint those who attended was though. Just to keep things interesting, I helped perform eScan’s first move into a real data center, got the flu oh and resigned to go to work for Dell. All of this right before SQLRally. My last day at work was on a Tuesday, I left at lunch got on the plane to Florida an gave it my all. The reaction was just overwhelming. The amount of people that kept coming up to me through the rest of the conforince to let me know how much they liked the session was just staggering. People that I’ve known for years kept telling me just how solid it was. I didn’t disagree with them but when I got the evaluations back I knew I’d knocked it out of the park.  They also just announced the top rated speakers and I came in number second, Adam Jorgensen (twitter|blog) just squeaking past me. I would have been jazzed just to be in the top 10. Again, I am humbled to be in such excellent company.

The Big Show

If all of that wasn’t enough I got the nod. For years I’ve dreamed of speaking at The Summit. I’ve been to almost every one of them. I submitted two sessions. My talk on the fundamentals of storage got the green light and my solid state storage was selected as an alternate. What do I say? I’m humbled, honored and very excited to be a speaker at the premiere SQL Server event of the year.

Now What?

I’m not sure to be honest. It is only June. I’ve got more stuff to get done for the local and regional PASS chapters, a SQL Saturday to host in Austin by the end of the year. I got to say, this is going down as one of my best years ever serving the SQL Server community.