Drove down with the family Friday afternoon, not much traffic and a smooth trip. Checked into the Residence Inn just down the street from the event, caught up on some email, and then walked across 2 blocks of not yet build hotel space to La Carreta, a local Cuban restaurant and the site of the speaker gathering.
Started the speaker party at 5:30 pm and it ran until almost 9 pm, with about 20-25 people there at any one time. Lots of interesting conversations, including one about a book swap they are trying out at the event; bring a book, swap it for any other book, or buy one for a dollar with the proceeds going toward needs in Haiti. All the books were donated by attendees or members of the local user group. Interesting idea if it works. Dinner was very good (strips of filet mignon in a sauce with rice), for dessert I had bread pudding (nice to have something different), but just couldn’t quite manage the Cuban coffee – too much for me, that’s intense coffee.
Saturday I arrived on site about 9 am after breakfast at the hotel, did a quick check in at the speaker room and then off to do my first presentation on statistics. On the way I had someone stop me and introduce himself, turned out last year he had attended this same presentation and it had opened a lot of doors to what was possible with SQL, which in turn resulted in some serious growth in skills. Not often this happens (to me at least), and it made my day. Nice to know that the investment of time and money to drive down to Miramar was making a difference.
The statistics presentation went well, and as always at a developer focus event (38 devs, 2 DBA’s in the room) I’m reminded of their thirst for more information about SQL. Very common for them to have no DBA/sql person on staff, so they want to learn things that will help them, or help them understand why things happen at least. Tons of good questions.
Immediately after the stats presentation I had to change rooms to do my talk on social and not so social networking. Smaller crowd for this one, only about 10, but good conversation and about the usual adoption pattern – most on LinkedIn, few on Twitter, one blogger. Finished up by doing a drawing for a autographed copy of How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends.
Then it was time for lunch, the standard pizza, soda, and salad. Caught up with a few friends at lunch, had a few other conversations, and then headed up to see Scott Kline do a presentation on SQL Azure. About 20 attendees. A lot of questions about backup/restore and service level agreements. Lots of questions about does this work or not? Lots of restrictions, some that make more sense than other to me. Pricing is confusing. Seemed to me that most were taken aback by the number of limitations and that will hurt adoption.
Next went to the data mining presentation, but the speaker didn’t make it, so offered to do Q&A for the hour, and had about 40 people stay for that. Good conversation, and we should try at all events to have room for Q&A. Note that for whatever reason 2 of 6 speakers on the SQL track didn’t show, someone from the audience filled in on the other missing one. Disappointing, but whether they were truly lost or had cancelled in advance I don’t know. Still, a shame to disappoint attendees.
Just before leaving checked on the book swap, and there had 15 true swaps, but $150 in cash – at $1/per book!
Finally left for the long, rainy ride home. Good day and good event, thanks for Dave Noderer and team for a really nice event.