I did the relatively quick flight to Charlotte on Friday afternoon, arriving just before 2 pm, grabbed lunch to go from a bbq place in the food court and waited for the hotel shuttle. About a 20 minute wait, not much more than the time it would have taken to go through the rental car process. Off to the Hampton Inn, which was right off the interstate, and in an area with more hotels in one area than almost any place I’ve seen…except Orlando!
Took time to check email, then headed off to the nearby Hyatt where I was to meet the other speakers for the trip to the speaker party. I was really early and had time to chat with Denny Cherry about his recent SAN training (good stuff), and then finally we departed for the party about 5:15 along with his wife – turns out all the over speakers went direct or had not arrived yet, so there was plenty of room.
Next stop was the SQLSentry office and most all the speakers were there, so we spent at least an hour just chatting before going to the actual party. Great dinner, I was between Allen White and Geoff Hiten, and we had a lot of fun. Finally finished up about 10 pm and I rode back with Allen, we usually only see each other once a year so we enjoyed the chance to talk in person more than usual!
Saturday morning I was up early and took the hotel shuttle over to the Microsoft office (about 1/2 mile) and only a few people there when I arrived about 7:10 or so. They finally let us in and it was just a bit disorganized, sponsors not sure where to set up, but that worked itself out and by 7:40 all was flowing smoothly. Blythe Morrow was there so I sat with her for a while to talk about the logistics phase of the event.
The keynote was scheduled for 8:15, but with a steady stream of attendees still arriving we delayed the start, probably to about 8:40. As I mentioned last week the keynote was largely unrehearsed, starting off with an intro from Peter Shire (SQL Sentry/Charlotte Chapter Leader/SQLSaturday leader), then Steve Jones with a quick story about the formation of the SQLSaturday concept (he didn’t think it would work!), and then I ran through six or seven slides, talking about how and why we started and our early goals, some lessons learned, and where we hope it goes under the guidance of PASS. Rushabh Mehta finished up with just a few quick words, focusing on the message that the main goal for PASS right now was to keep things running and not to break anything. We finished up with a ceremonial turning over of the key from Steve & I to Rushabh, a styrofoam key about 3 feet long. Good theater I guess!
My presentation wasn’t until 10:15, so I wandered some, shared some more thoughts with Blythe, and had some more coffee. Finally found my room, signs were mildly confusing, track 5 was in room 4. One interesting part of the day was that because this is a large MS office, they had a lot of people on hand to open what would be otherwise locked doors and make sure attendees stayed in designated areas. Took a lot of people – I’d guess 10-15 between MS and their on site security – kudos to them for providing that level of support.
I did my presentation without any problems to a crowd of about 25, good questions, and from the brief survey I did all were having a good day. For most it was their first SQLSaturday and it seemed to be meeting or exceeding their expectations – always good!
Then back over to the cafeteria area, chatted with David Waugh from Confio, then spent some time with Kevin Kline, that morphed into lunch (sandwiches and chips), and then a couple hours with Blythe where others came and went (Patrick Leblanc, Jessica Moss, Steve Jones, etc), mostly talking about SQLSaturday.
I left a little earlier than planned, around 4 pm, riding to the airport with Steve and lucking out to get an earlier flight than the original 8 pm, leaving us just enough time for a quick dinner before the flights left.
Attendance was somewhere around 220 and it looked to me like all went well. Congrats to the SQLSaturday #33 team for a great event!