Notes on Jacksonville Code Camp 2010

Overall it was a great event, attendance in the 350-400 range. Boxed lunches instead of pizza (good!), not much in the way of drinks/breakfast (not so good), check-in ran smoothly. Everything seemed to run smoothly. Team Jax did a nice job!

The speaker party was a cigar bar, the second year in a row. I won’t attend (or whine) about this again, will just say for a non-smoker, it’s a terrible location. I knew some people there, but I felt noticeably less connected than I do at a SQLSaturday. The party was a good networking event in the sense of ‘good to see you again’ and do those follow up contacts, not as good for ‘lets sit and talk shop and get to know each other’. I think this reflects the emphasis on ‘party’ and not ‘networking’. Nothing wrong with either (or both), but especially if I’m going to travel to an event I place more value in networking. It definitely has (combined with some other recent stuff) thinking I need to put more work into my Florida network while continuing to build/maintain my SQL network. There is of course overlap, but I think I’m not working my local area enough.

I had about 20 people attend my statistics presentation and none were DBA’s as a primary role, most were – as you might expect – developers. Great group, good questions, and I wish we (PASS) did more here (working on a plan for that). There was a lot of BI topics on the schedule, not enough admin/developer centric SQL topics. Need more!

Lunch went well, they had to order pizza to make sure they had enough food. One problem they had was people bypassing check-in which is their primary means of confirming the lunch head count. Hard to fix, just need traffic control, check for name badges.

Mid afternoon there was an ice cream break provided by a sponsor and that seemed to go well, and is something I’d suggest to all sponsors to work out with the event. The ice cream people were very good at telling people it was provided by a sponsor and encouraging them to say thank you, and it seemed to be working.

The other thing I noticed is that almost all the sponsors were staffing companies. I think that bodes well for the job market, but I really want to see product/tool vendors attending, think they add a lot to the event. Not sure why not seeing many – maybe the ROI, maybe the economy, maybe just over booked on events.

7 thoughts on “Notes on Jacksonville Code Camp 2010

  1. Hi Andy.

    I was in your statistics class/session. I enjoyed it very much and did get a lot out of it. I wanted to talk with you afterwards but there were swarms of people around you. I looked for you later but did not see you again.

    Regarding your comment “none were DBA’s as a primary role, most were – as you might expect – developers,” I am an aspiring DBA! By any chance, are you planning to post your presentation material so that we can download? I took 4 ½ pages of notes, but something is always missed! I am preparing for the cert exams, have SQL Server Developer Edition 2008 (affordable), and networking. I am a member of the Jacksonville SSUG and have met some great people who, I believe, genuinely want to help me out.

    I wasn’t able to attend the after party so I can’t comment on how effective it was or wasn’t for networking. I’ve been to a few networking events (SQL & not SQL) and it is difficult to “lets sit and talk shop and get to know each other” which is what I want and need to do. I am not in a position to bring about any changes regarding this – I’m just agreeing with you.

    I missed the Jacksonville SQL Saturday, but plan to attend the Orlando event. I can’t wait! I hope that I can introduce myself to you there.

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  2. Great writeup, Andy!

    As the chief organizer of the next Saturday event on the Florida dev docket, I can definitely relate to what you experienced, even though my schedule didn’t afford me the opportunity to make it to that event.

    I agree with you that the cigar bar is a poor choice of venue for Speaker Pub; best to have that at (at least) a smoking-neutral establishment nearby, with the option for folks to peel off who want to partake in the cigars.

    As a dev, I’m much more familiar with the crowd at Code Camp than at a SQL Saturday, but that’s to be expected, and both communities are made of outstanding human beings with the same community ethic who are only significantly different from one another in their experience and skillsets. So go ahead and talk shop – you’ll be fine!

    Thanks again for posting about it. It made for some excellent reading.

    John Dunagan – President, SW Florida .Net Developers Group

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  3. Beth, I’m glad you had a good time. The deck should get posted in the next couple days, I’m making a few revisions that I want to include as I prep for an online presentation of the same talk next week.

    Lots of good people at the Jax group and good connections to be made there and totally agree on the Dev Edition. We’ll try to make time for networking in Orlando, hope to see you there!

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  4. Thanks, Andy – we’re trying to make up for the lack of even a SSUG in our area by presenting (mostly dev-oriented) SQL content at our Code Camp. I’d wholeheartedly support a SSUG, but no one has stepped up to do one and I don’t have the bandwidth.

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