The Growth Of SQLSaturday

A recent Connector showed the following stats for SQLSaturday for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 and mentioned 86 events completed:



Impressive numbers to be sure, but are we adding events?   Kendal Van Dyke sent me this projection he did while on the Board of Directors:



That looks like reasonable growth and shows a healthy franchise based on where we just ended the year.

Two thoughts on the growth and the message:

  • I think we’re so immersed in it that we forget to back up and tell the whole story. How was international growth? How many events changed leaders? How many net new locations? What trends are we seeing (is attendance staying same or increasing at existing events? Does it hit a natural ‘cap’?). What lessons learned? Economic impact? New members for PASS? Chapters that hosted an event (or not)? There’s a terrific opportunity here to not just print numbers, but to look at the numbers and tell the story.
  • It is reasonable growth. I am, however, often unreasonable. 10-15% growth a year is good, but what would it take to really increase the number of communities we serve as part of a one time push? Could we add 30? 50? What would a multi-year (but not 10 year) plan look like to get us to 200 events a year? There’s plenty of room to do it.

And for all of that, apply the same thing (minus the growth spike perhaps) to Chapters. Tell the story.

3 thoughts on “The Growth Of SQLSaturday

  1. Having organized and spoken at several of these events, I have a couple of general observations.

    First, I think SQLSaturday’s have greatly increased the “circuit rider” speaker phenomena; several of us travel from one event to the next, speaking wherever we get accepted. The majority of speakers are consultants, so these events provide opportunity to grow business directly, as well as indirect growth in networking and technical skills. While these are all good things, it does mean that most of the SQLSaturday’s become technical buffets serving different mixes of the same sessions over and over again; there’s less opportunity for new voices to be heard. Granted, I see the big boost in new speakers in the graphic above, but I wonder if the average number of SQLSaturdays-per-speaker has increased as well.

    Second, I don’t know if chapters have grown in any sort of linear relationship with the event; I do think that most chapters will see a short burst of passion and attendance following the SQLSaturday, but sustaining that growth is a different challenge altogether.

    Overall, I think the model works great, but like you, I think there’s always more to the story.


    1. Great question on events/speaker, I don’t know the answer. Chapters…so many questions! In Orlando you could say it has made no difference, or you might argue that it’s allowed us to sustain attendance when we might have seen it go lower. It always feels like SQLSat and Chapter are disconnected, that might account for some of it, but I think it’s also just the math of effectiveness, so much for chance of getting value for time on Saturday compared to a Chapter meeting with only a single topic. I do think Chapters don’t think enough about using funds raised to do more at Chapter meetings – fly in a great speaker or two to boost attendance/value.


  2. I just want to thank you for the trust and opportunity that the Brazilian and WW SQL Server cummonity is having a .All gained a lot from it.And I hope to see you in Brazil on 11/26


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