RSS Feed

Event Recap: SQL Saturday Madison #sqlsatmadison


April 14, 2015 by Mike Hillwig

SQL Saturday is synonymous with fun. With only one exception, I can honestly say that every event I’ve gone to has been a lot of fun. As someone who has been an attendee, speaker, and organizer, I’m part of a unique group of people that has a completely different perspective on these events.

Last weekend was SQL Saturday in Madison, WI. As I had written earlier, I was really excited about this event because it’s one I’ve always wanted to attend, yet the logistics never worked in our favor. This year, I finally made it to the land of cheese. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The organizers of the Madison event really had their challenges this year. From being at a brand new venue to some serious technical issues with the SQL Saturday website, they had their work cut out for them. And they came through with flying colors.

Friday night was their speaker event, and it was like a family reunion. I got to see a ton of old friends as well as make some new ones. But the highlight of that evening was seeing my dear friend Jes Borland.


Friday night was life changing for me. I was introduced to something I’ve never experienced before–fried cheese curds. This is Wisconsin, where cheese is king. And having fried cheese curds for the first time was literally life changing. I can’t explain it other than saying they’re little flavor missiles of cheese with a mozzarella texture and a cheddar flavor. Then they beer batter them and fry them.



I went to Wisconsin for the SQL and fell in love with the cheese. I’m perfectly okay with this. Visiting the SQL Family was obviously a great benefit.

The event itself seemed to be run really smoothly. I think this is a testament to the leadership of the committee who ran it and the small army of volunteers they had. I did walk into the event with a little gift for my friend Jes. Anyone who knows her will say that this is absolutely and completely appropriate. She does love her coffee.


My presentation of Do More with Less: Inside SQL CMS and MSX went really well. I was surprised at how well the questions came. Every question was like a softball because it was answered on the next slide.

After my presentation, I got to have a nice chat with my friend Adam Belebczuk, who knows more about Always On an Availability Groups than I do. He gave me some great insight into a problem I’m trying to solve in my own environment. That’s why these events are so magical. They’re full of people who seen problems that you’re just now facing. The friendship and fellowship of the speaker room is simply incredible.

Madison was a great time, but I was completely exhausted by the end of the day. I didn’t even take part in the after party. If they’ll have me back, I’ll certainly offer to speak in Madison again. I’ll do it for the cheese–and the friendship.