New Ideas for SQLSaturday

Jack Corbett and I are trying a few new things at SQLSaturday #49 in Orlando this year (Oct 16, 2010) and I thought I’d share them here. We don’t know if they will work, but it’s fun to try!

  1. As I’ve blogged about before, we’re going to have an afternoon popcorn break thanks to one of our volunteers. But being entrepreneurial, we’re going to try to cover our costs and a bit more by making it a sponsored event. We’re going to take bids from our already committed sponsors with a minimum bid of $100. Highest bid wins, we’ll make sure everyone knows who paid for the popcorn, and if they want, they can even bag it up for the attendees personally!
  2. We’re going to ask each speaker to take two minutes right before the presentation starts and ask those in the room to introduce themselves to whoever is seated next to them. It’s a small thing, but it could be the beginning of a substantial change for SQLSaturday if we can get it working.
  3. My original plan was to buy plain brown shopping bags with handles and stencil them with the event logo. I think that would work, but as we though about how to work with sponsors, we started to think that stickers/labels might work better. Our revised plan is to invite sponsors to send us stickers up to bumper sticker size and we’ll have volunteers apply, or they can bring to the event and hand out and we’ll try to get attendees to apply on the spot. If it works we’ll wind up with some ‘designer’ bags! I ordered 250 bumper stickers with the SQLSaturday #49 and oPASS logos for about $160. Not quite the savings of Plan A, but I think Plan B could be a lot of fun.

For those of you planning an event I’ll challenge you to try new stuff. Look for ways to make it fun and to engage the attendees. At worst it doesn’t work and you try something else the next time. It’s fun to experiment.

7 thoughts on “New Ideas for SQLSaturday

  1. I’m really interested in how your “intros” right before the sessions work out. I’m sure there will be several styles of doing this, and it would be interesting to find out what they were. It’ll also be interesting to know if it’s even necessary by the end of the day, or if your speakers find that people “get trained” and just start doing it without prompting.


  2. Do people still use clipboards? I’m thinking to save my bag, cut it in half and mount it, but not as easy as it might be. Maybe it’s a sheet of poster sized paper? I really like the idea of something that winds up on the wall at the office. Pictures, autographs, sponsor stickers, etc.


  3. I like number 2, great idea. I hope it really takes off. And hey, maybe this will help to get speakers to talk less about themselves. I am still shocked by those that have more than one slide about themselves and spend 15 minutes going on and on about themselves.


  4. Karla, I hope that speakers spending too long is rare and we should quietly mention it when we see it happen. At the same time, I’m sensitive to the fact that when someone is paying their own way to travel to an event, they have an obligation/need to do something to try to justify the trip. Doing one trip for karma is good. When you start to talk about 10-12 travel trips a year, you want to find a way to mention what you do without turning it into an informercial.


  5. Todd, I hear you, and that’s the big play – can we “train” our attendees to network without prompting? It’s a huge win for everyone if we can make it where networking is an expected and desired behavior within our community.


  6. Karla,
    Exactly…I always have one slide and want to spend no more than 2 minutes per slide. I normally just run through the bullet points and then give them some kind of funny story about my background to get them engaged…

    I know ppl have to justify the trip but if their material is good then it will show through that they are an expert….or not..Lol.. If they just concentrate on giving ppl a good solid hour of cool tech everything else works out.



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