This is a late review of my visit to SQL Saturday in Orange County, CA on April 9, but I wanted to get something out there before much more time goes by. I attended the inaugural event held at Golden West College in Huntington Beach last year, so it was my second time speaking at this location. The event last year was my first SQL Saturday, and I was eager to do a repeat because of the positive response I received. It was good to see several familiar faces again.
I arrived in Orange County Friday morning and still needing to catch up on work, I headed to a Seal Beach café to get some lunch while I multi-tasked on the laptop. After getting the work out of the way, I checked in at the hotel, relaxed for a while, and then found my way to the speaker’s dinner. The speaker’s dinner is one of the best parts of speaking at a SQL Saturday, where you get to share a drink and a meal with other speakers. I reintroduced myself to people I had briefly met before like Meredith Ryan-Smith and Randy Knight and got to meet new people like Benjamin Nevarez and others.
On Saturday morning I registered at Golden West College, picked up a bagel and coffee, and found a schedule to plan my day. Fortunately, I had my two sessions ready to go, so there was no last minute tweaking of slide decks or demos. This was a first for me! After Andrew Karcher, the primary organizer of the event, gave a quick speech welcoming everyone, we were ready to go. Listening to Andrew’s gravelly voice (and tired look) shows how much time and effort goes into putting one of these things together. Thanks again to Andrew, and all the other volunteers!
Because I had my presentations ready (not the norm for me), I also took advantage of the time I wasn’t speaking and attended more sessions than at any other SQL Saturday event I’d been to. There are several things at this conference that were done very well:
- Breakfast and Lunch were available at the conference which makes things very convenient
- The community college setting and rooms are well-suited for presenting in front of 20-30 people
- The setting allowed us to spend time outdoors during breaks and while eating, making for a good break
- Everything was close and easy to find: the session rooms, the food, the speaker’s room, the registration desk
The only thing that didn’t work so well was the weather, which didn’t cooperate in normally warm and sunny SoCal. You know it’s not a good weather day when I leave Denver in the morning and experience a drop in temperature upon arriving in Orange County. Maybe Andrew and team can work on this for next year’s event.
I attended several really good sessions. I was really impressed with Denise McInerny and found her presentation style engaging and enjoyable. Her sessions were titled DBA as Protector of the Data: Notes from the Field and y. I also attended the WIT roundtable for a very interesting discussion and I popped in for a few minutes on Benjamin Nevarez to see his partitioning talk.
My two sessions Business Intelligence for Managers/Decision-Makers and The Data Mining Lifecycle were well-attended with full rooms and I enjoyed getting so many questions and feedback after each session. That’s one of the best parts about being a speaker, talking with the attendees afterwards.
Thanks again to Andrew and all the volunteers, your hard work is much appreciated!