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.