Yesterday was SQL Saturday #437 or as we call it, SQL Saturday Boston BI Edition. It was my first time helping to organize a SQL Saturday (or any event like this). It was an honor to be asked to join the organizing team, knowing that they already put on some impressive events.
As I think about all I could say about yesterday’s, I am just chock full of thanks. I want…no, I need to thank everyone that helped me.
I am literally overwhelmed with gratitude and don’t know where to start. I suspect I’ll have a few posts in the next few days, as I reflect on my first “big” SQL Server event. Today, I want to take a moment to say thanks to everyone behind the scenes.
I’ve been a volunteer at SQL Saturday before. The volunteers take care of all the minutia at the event. They run the registration desk. They keep an eye on the coffee supplies. They run out for last-minute errands. They carry heavy things. They wrangle lines. They give directions. I’m sure many of them feel like they hardly did anything (I often felt like that!).
With so much to do, having lots of people do lots of little tasks make the event go smoothly. I hope to see all of the volunteers back. No matter how much or little you think you did, the event doesn’t happen without you, and we need you to keep coming back!
Our sponsors foot the bill for the event. These events aren’t cheap and without our sponsors, yesterday couldn’t have happened. Every single sponsor is there to help the community and to help our attendees–it’s not just about advertising and marketing. Microsoft bends over backwards to let us take over their conference space for 72 hours–all without charging us a penny. How awesome is that?!?
The speakers are volunteers, too. Sometimes their employer helps foot the bill for travel, but they’re giving up a Saturday from their lives to come talk at our conference. They often spend days (or weeks) prepping their presentations. We get some amazing speakers in Boston. They’re what I call “SQL-ebrities.” They are Microsoft MVPs. They’re authors. They’re bloggers. They’re mentors.
Our speakers have tons of knowledge to share and are eager to help others. Our attendees show up because we get such great speakers. Without such high-caliber speakers, we wouldn’t have such a high-caliber event. Every single speaker is awesome, and I’m resisting the urge to name them all individually here.
We had about 225 engaged, excited technology professionals giving up their Saturday to learn about database stuff. We get great speakers because we have a great community of attendees. (Yes, we get speakers because of the attendees, and we get attendees because of the speakers.)
I thanked tons of people yesterday for being there. If I could, I would have walked around and thanked each and every one of you personally. I stepped up to help organize the event so I can help you. You’re my #sqlfamily. Thank you for coming.
I basically lived at Microsoft from Wednesday evening until Saturday evening, in addition to the weeks of prep. Ken put up with my excitement, my stress, and my absence. He even helped run the Registration desk on Saturday. He’s one of my biggest cheerleaders, and I’m lucky to have him.
These guys have run some great events without me. I was voluntold* to join their team so that I can help. It’s humbling to hear, “We put on an awesome event, but you can help us make it awesomer.” Paresh Motiwala (twitter), Robert Padilla (twitter), Melissa Riley (twitter), and Mike Hillwig (twitter) are all wonderful to work with. I’m so happy that they carved out a spot for me and made me feel so welcome.
I keep coming back to what a great success they’ve had in the past with events, and how humbling it is that I was asked to help them. I can’t thank you guys enough. I’m looking forward to everything we’ll do together in the future.
* “Voluntold” was a new word I learned this weekend. It perfectly describes my experience. I didn’t volunteer, I was drafted.