SQL Saturday #144 is over but what a great time it was! Sacramento’s first SQL Saturday boasted close to 200 attendees and showcased great speakers like Steve Jones (@way0utwest) and Kalen Delaney (@sqlqueen). We were represented with local talent Mitch Bottel (@SacSQLdude), Helen Norris (@hpnorris), Jon Amen (@dungeongurunet), Eric Freeman (@sqlelf), Tom Keller (@tomkeller02) and Angel Abundez (@angelstreamline)…and there were COWBELLS!
In November of 2011 members of the Sacramento SQL Server user group banded together to begin planning the event. Using documentation from sqlsaturday.com, we began the planning with a classic project management tool, the Work Breakdown Structure. It allowed us to focus our member’s strengths and start a nice project plan. For the next 9 months, we were able to meet on a monthly basis and stay coordinated through emails and phone calls.
Our first challenge was finding an appropriate venue. As I was working at CSU, Sacramento at the time, it seemed a logical choice. As we dug deeper, we found an alternate location in Natomas which appeared to fit our needs perfectly. Our foundation was set: we could begin planning food, locations for the sponsors, rooms for our speakers, etc.
We found our location in early 2012 and went along with our plans: gathering sponsors, speakers and marketing the event. Everything was moving along nicely….too nicely. Before our monthly meeting in May, I decided to make one more trip to the venue and draw out a floor plan. As I was putting my ideas on paper, I found our contact and begin showing him my plans. He quickly stopped me and showed me the error of my thinking: we did not get a “common area” for the sponsors and lunch would have to be confined to each of the rooms. The rooms were on two different floors and participants could only move back and forth from the rooms, no loitering. The registration would need to take place in each room, also. He may as well have punched me in the face.
I brought this information back to the group and we quickly mobilized. With only 2 months left before the event, we were lucky enough to find the Courtyard Marriott hotel. They were willing to work into our budget and would supply the workforce to set up and take down. Coffee in the morning and lunch rounded out the perks. CHA-CHING!
Back on track, we finalized our speaker list and finished up our marketing campaign. There were some minor issues the week before the event, but nothing that our crack team of SQL Server ninjas couldn’t handle.
If you didn’t make it, you missed an amazing day. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly:
Amazing speakers, amazing volunteers and awesome content. Lunch went well with the hotel providing the man power. Attendance was perfect as any more would have been uncomfortable. Registration was a breeze as most had used their SpeedPASS and pre-printed their raffle tickets. I got to meet a host of new friends (CANNONBALL!) and reconnect with some old ones. The after party showcased a real live mermaid (no joke!)
Parking was inadequate, even though we were assured by the hotel that there would be enough. It got a little tight in the hallways in between sessions. Our signage was lacking in the morning as attendees did not know that there were rooms in the back.
Please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the event. Good feedback will help us make next year even better! Stay in touch with the Sacramento SQL Server user group thru http://sac.sqlpass.org and http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2825448&trk=hb_side_g.