Lessons Learned From SQL Saturday Cleveland

I can finally breath a sigh of relief, my first time of presenting two sessions back to back is finally over.  I was so honored to have been chosen to speak at SQL Saturday Cleveland on February 3, 2018.  When I got the email notifying me of my selection, I did a little happy dance.  That is, until I realized that they had selected TWO of my sessions.  Then my happy dance became some sort of spastic panic attack.  When I looked at the schedule and saw that my sessions were back to back, I think I may have gone catatonic for a few minutes.  After I realized that the world would not end and that this was a challenge that I was up to, I replied to the organizers with my confirmation to speak.  Note to self:  If you submit more than one session, be prepared to speak more than once.

I started working on my sessions based on feedback that I had previously received, with small tweaks here and there.  I rehearsed them with my Great Dane as my audience, but his feedback wasn’t too helpful.  However, it did let me know what it would feel like if someone fell asleep during one of my sessions.   Note to self:  Use organisms with thumbs as an audience.

Now, I am originally from Arizona but I did live in Colorado for fifteen years, so I do know what cold weather and snow are, but Holy Cow!  Those years in Colorado did nothing to prepare me for the bitter cold in Cleveland.  It was 9F with a wind chill below 0F.   How far below 0F doesn’t really matter, once you hit that mark, IT’S COLD!!  Note to self:  Bring long johns next time traveling to Cleveland in the winter.

Saturday arrived and I was ready.  I have helped organize a few SQL Saturdays and have always had to arrive before dawn and never had to worry about parking.  But I was not in the first speaking slot, so I decided to take my time and show up after the rush of attendees.  Note to self:  Be prepared to walk a ways if you do not show up early to a SQL Saturday event.

I found the speaker room and started prepping my laptop for the sessions to come.  It was finally time, so I grabbed a bottle of water and headed out.  My first session started off great, until I hit the first demo when the A/V equipment started to go wonky.  I had a backup A/V converter, so I switched to that one, thinking it would resolved the issue.  No luck.  By this time the screen is flickering and non functional.  My proctor was kind enough to go find tech support for the facility while I pushed ahead with no projector.  Tech support showed up and still couldn’t get it fixed.  I started unplugging everything, video adapters, mouse & clicker.  We finally got it working again and I was able to carry on with my session.  Note to self:  Keep your cool and sense of humor, both go a long way when things aren’t going well.

After my first session ended, I had fifteen minutes to go to the bathroom, get more water and figure out the A/V issue.  I got them all done.  Turns out it was my clicker causing a conflict with the A/V.  Note to self:  It’s not always the A/V that’s the problem, it can also be the clicker!!

My second session went off without a hitch, almost.  I think I was still a little flustered with my previous session’s A/V issue and I went “off script” for my first demo.  It turned out okay in the end, but not before I went through three different schemas to get to the object I wanted in a query window.  Note to self:  Use the demo text you prepare for a demo, don’t change things up “on the fly”.

Overall I got very good feedback for both sessions that was very valuable and I’m already putting it to use.  I’ve been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Richmond on March 24, 2018, and I’ll giving two sessions!  Hope to see you there.

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