Boston #sqlsat500 Friday Precon Announced

One of the things I love about hosting SQL Saturday is giving stuff away. Our sponsors give us a lot of money, and we spend that money on the community. After we cover the event expenses, it’s fun to spend on things to give away. We buy things like tablets, books, gift cards, laptop bags, and even a Surface Pro. I get to play Oprah for a few minutes, giving away my favorite things.

Not everything can be free, though. So when I can, I like to get inexpensive things, specifically training. SQL Saturday is a free event to our attendees, courtesy of our sponsors. But on Thursday and Friday, we try to squeeze in as much inexpensive training as we can. We bring training classes that could cost thousands of dollars for only a few hundred.

On Friday, March 18, Microsoft Data Platform MVP Denny Cherry will be presenting SQL Server Performance Tuning and Optimization. Denny is one of the most highly regarded names in the SQL Server community. He could charge thousands of dollars for a full day training class, and it would be worth every penny. For the Boston SQL Server community, a full day of training with Mr. Denny is only $249. If you purchase those tickets before December 31, it’s only $199. You just can’t beat that price.

On Thursday, March 19, my dear friend and fellow Microsoft Data Platform MVP Jes Borland will be teaching how to move to to Azure. Stay tuned for more details.

Five Hundred! #sqlsat500

Five Hundred! #sqlsat500

Keeping secrets is difficult for me, and I hate keeping secrets. But the news is out, so now I can blab about it all I want.

SQL Saturday #500 will be in Boston!

What’s better than being a milestone event? We’re hosting it on St. Patrick’s Day weekend! Things are really early on yet, and Andy and I have has a lot of work to do. But I promise we’re going to have a killer event.

Our precons and keynotes are already wrapped up. We have awesome things lined up. Stay tuned…


Number Five

Number Five

Me in front of the Tweet Wall

This weekend was SQL Saturday #437 Boston BI Edition, or as I like to call it, Number Five. It was the fifth event that my team has run, and this one may have been the smoothest of the five.
Over the past three years and five events, we’ve built a formula that works. This time, we mixed it up by adding Andy Mallon (w|t) to the team. Over the past several months, Andy and I have become very good friends, and the level of trust I put in him was staggering. At one point I handed him my Amex card and said “Just don’t buy a car.”

We’re incredibly fortunate to have sponsors that give us money to run such an event. And our user community is so eager to learn. I close every event by asking if their heads hurt. The response is always a resounding yes! That means we did our jobs right. Our speakers come in from near and far to teach. And my team gives up time away from their jobs and family to set up for an incredible event.

Me at SQL Saturday

Photo by Paresh Motiwala

This year, Andy was in charge of food, which is a big part of the organization. He turned to his friends at Flour Bakery and Cafe to provide lunch. This is the bakery owned by James Beard Award nominated chef Joanne Chang. She’s the one who beat Bobby Flay with her sticky buns.

I wish people saw just how much work a SQL Saturday event is. The amount of prep that goes into it is unbelievable. And I just can’t thank my team enough. From Robert (t), who picks up on the details that I miss, to Melissa (t), who picks up emails left and right from attendees and sponsors, to Paresh (t), who snaps photos and makes sure our volunteers know what needs to be done. But really, it was Andy this time around who had become my right hand.

As I mentioned, it was our fifth event. It was also the fifth event sponsored by Pragmatic Works. We publicly thanked them. And we thanked Nick, part of their New England sales office, who is always one of the easiest sponsors to work with.

Andy in front of the Tweet Wall

This time around, I wanted to try something new. It was something I saw the folks in Pittsburgh do. We had a tweet wall, with the hash tag #sqlsatbostonbi, we encouraged people to tweet the heck out of our event. And tweet they did! We used a website that creates a presentation based on tweets and photos on Instagram. It was a lot of fun.

We announced something that is important. I just can’t continue hosting two events like this every year. So I’m going to lead the spring SQL Saturday and Andy will lead the fall BI Edition SQL Saturday. By trading off with each other, it will be a lot more effective and much less exhausting.

So one more SQL Saturday is a memory. Next up is the PASS Summit.

I’m an MVP!

I’m an MVP!

MVP_Logo_Preferred_Cyan300_RGB_300ppiIt’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since I typed those words for the first time.

Today, I got the email from Microsoft that I’ve been granted their MVP Award for the second time.

I’m humbled by this. It makes me part of a community of technology professionals that do some amazing work.

My New Role

The news is out at work, so I can post it on my blog now.

Two weeks ago, I started a new job. I kept the same desk, laptop, and network account. My new role is somewhat of a promotion.

Long story short, we’ve merged the SQL Server teams across multiple parts of the organization, and I’ve been tasked with leading the combined team. The direction from my management team is substantial: reduce costs, leverage our quantity of scale, and standardize everything. That’s no small order. The good news is that I have a team of eight dedicated DBAs on my team, and we have the ability to do some really cool stuff.

I have a ton of work to do over the next year. We’re looking to take the best of breed from all of our systems and tools. For example, our R&D group had a better backup tool, but our hosting group had better maintenance processes. Now I just need to get a handle on all of the projects that are currently underway and determine what value my team can add instead of just building servers and backing them up.

This is a huge step in my career. My boss and his director have been incredibly supportive. The best part of this whole thing is that I get to help improve our client experience.

Fall Speakers for NESQL

Here it is in early July, and I’m already lining up speakers for the fall. We typically schedule our speakers three or four months in advance.

We always try to get a great speaker for our September meeting. And this year is no exception. We’re kicking off the season with Mark Souza (twitter) from Microsoft.

If you’re in the Boston area, please join us. You can RSVP on our Meetup site.

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