With my presentation at the 2018 SQL Saturday in Orange County, I celebrated my 2nd time presenting at the SQL Saturday events. Hi, my name is Steve and I’m addicted to #SQLFamily! 🙂

As a SQL Saturday in LA organizer myself, I need to keep a balance between enjoying the event and keeping a record of all the great things that I would like to copy and bring home to Los Angeles. I can honestly say, my second-time presenting (my first-time was in San Diego), I spent more time enjoying than borrowing ideas from Ted & Co. Kudos to Thomas Mueller, Laurie Carr and Ted Stathakis and many others for putting an amazing show. You did it again!

The event started for me at the speaker appreciation dinner, on Friday evening. Perhaps I knew more people and (maybe) more people knew who I am, but an introvert in me felt very comfortable dining and conversing with SQL rock stars. My thick Russian/Hebrew accent didn’t bother me and others, I was sitting across from Denny Cherry (a.k.a. Mr. Denny) and next to Grant Fritchey (current PASS President) and I had a blast. I enjoyed the conversation about GDPR (btw, what is GDPR?), the “to PASS” or “not to PASS” movement topics, was introduced to Melody Zacharias, overheard Brandon Leach conversation on SQL Server error 666, talked to Ted Stathakis and Phil Robinson about SQL Saturday events and many other people that I can’t remember. What I do remember however is, I rarely met such a big group of enthusiastic people that would donate their time and money to spread the knowledge (more than half of the speakers are coming over out-of-state). That Friday had me so energized, that I think that I could beat both Duracell and Energizers bunnies from the TV commercial.

The next day I woke up all energized and walked from a nearby hotel to the venue, a Golden West College in Orange County. I quickly noticed the old SQL PASS yard sign and found my way to the event and a registration desk.

Since this was my second SQL Saturday in Orange Country event, I knew where the speaker’s lounge is, I skipped the check-in area and went straight to the room where some speakers were evolved in conversation while other speakers were making last minute changes to their upcoming presentation. I talked to more speakers, grabbed my coffee and talked to the sponsors. I attended few great sessions like Confidence by Melody Zacharias and The Magic of SSISDB by Elaena Bakman (a very good friend on mine, and an indispensable part of both SQL Malibu SSUG and SQL Saturday in Los Angeles) and talked to an attendee that was wearing a SQL Saturday in South Florida t-shirt. I was really curious as SQL Saturday in South Florida is much more settled event that happens on exactly the same day with a SQL Saturday in Los Angeles. Right after that, I talked to Samuel Phung about SQL Server community and how it is important to Microsoft to keep the lights on for SQL Saturday events.

During lunch time, I introduced myself to Martin Schoombee, Lenni Lobel, and Jonathan Stewart. We talked about many things, but one topic I found most intriguing – why SQL Saturday events are so focused on getting sponsors from the technology field? Why technology events need to be paid by technology companies? What makes a technology company more appealing as a sponsor in comparison to any other service-related company, like a law-firm, an insurance broker or a plumbing company?

My session was right after lunch and fortunately to me, I was in the room 15 minutes before my session. Those extra 15 minutes fighting with the projector (how dare you, Mr. VGA!) made my Introduction to SSIS session much less stressful. I mostly went through PowerPoint screenshots, but opened up my SSDT for few demos. Thanks to Peter Kral’s feedback during 2017 SQL Saturday in San Diego, I learned my lesson and was on-time. To my surprise, some of my slides with images were washed out when projected on the screen. My biggest surprise however, was 20+ attendees that were sitting quiet for first 80% of my presentation. Usually it’s a sign of a presentation that is going south. Maybe I didn’t do a good job of warming them up with a coffee right after the lunch or maybe I was too focused on rushing to be on-time. Hopefully, I can get an answer at some point.

The day concluded with a raffle and an after-party. Right before the raffle, we had some final thoughts from Ted (thanking sponsors, speakers and attendees for their investment) and the winning frenzy began. Raffle was a huge deal and as many as 150+ people stayed to participate and win gift cards, software licenses, and some very intelligent speakers (Amazon, echo that, please!). Once raffle ended, some folks moved to celebrate the event at the local nearby bar. Like it happened the day before, at the speaker dinner on Friday, this was another moment of SQL energy flying in the air. Everybody was happy that the event is over, sharing great moments, and even talking about No-SQL!

To conclude, I enjoyed those amazing 2 days a lot and can say for sure, I have found my extended family, a SQLFamily. Now, I want you to join the SQL movement! If your company is looking for new clients, it’s a no brainer – sponsor a SQL Saturday event. Your company will get an exposure to highly educated consumers. If you never spoke at SQL Saturday event before, it’s a no brainer – find a local SSUG to built your confidence and sign up as a speaker. If you never attended a SQL Saturday event before, just do it, sign up and enjoy it.

P.S. Thank you SQL Saturday in Orange for truely amazing memories and a very unique gift.