Category Archives: Social

Simple rules for attending a conference

I want you to have a great conference!

I want you to have a great conference!

It is just about time again for another PASS Summit.  As I’m getting ready to help out my first timers group and get ready for the summit myself I figured I would put a few tips together.  The amount of first timer posts out in the community is staggering and instead of trying to write yet another 2 page novel with lots of tips and tricks I thought I would keep it very simple.  This should apply to almost all conventions that you want to attend.  I make the assumptions in this post that you are

1. An adult

2. Most of the time you act like an adult.

Here are the rules.

1.  Communicate/socialize.  The best reason to attend a convention is NOT for the training it’s for the networking that you will be exposed to.  Remember you are all at the convention for similar reasons everyone has something to talk about so TALK!

2. Never eat/Drink/Hang out alone.  Conventions take place in some really cool places and places you may be tempted to go see the sites.  If so then go with others from the convention don’t go alone.  See rule #1 always be social always have fun.  If you want quiet/vacation time away from it all do it after/before the convention when everyone is gone.

3. Know your limits.  If you can’t stay up till 2 a.m. and still get up for a 6:30 a.m. session the next day then don’t worry about it.  Don’t feel that you have to see/do/be part of everything.  If you stick to rule #1 you are going to do just fine even if you were not at the fountain at 2:00 a.m. when someone fell in.  Also remember in this day in age most things end up on youtube.

4.  Be respectful/helpful.  Again you are all in this together take care of your fellow attendee.  Help them out when they may have forgotten rule #3.

5. Give feedback; Give it to the speakers, sponsors and organizers.  Conventions thrive on the feedback they get from the attendees.  We can’t make good events without that feedback so be suggestive and helpful in your message.  Things like “I really liked that the presenter was energetic and funny in her session”.  Not “This presentation sucked” that doesn’t help anyone get better.

Ok pretty simple 5 little rules.  This is not a long extensive list to remember or memorize it’s just simple common sense and really that’s the best thing you can do at a convention use common sense and be social.

If you would like to read more first timers post here is a good list and a link to the PASS first timers page.

My Post from last year

Midnight Dba’s Blog for PASS First Timers

PASS Community Blogs for 2013 summit

PASS First Timers

Have a Great Convention!


6 Billion People want to talk to you!


Socializing at the PASS Summit

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything to the blog.  I could try and write a big long post on projects, busy times and issues that have kept me away.  All these things would be excuses for simply not getting it done.  In the end why bother focusing on it I’ll just move forward and keep blogging.

I did a quick Google search and found that in 2011 it was estimated we had 6.9 billion people on this planet.  I would say that’s a lot.  But if I went to some of the Data scientists out there and #bigdata experts and told them I had 6 billion pieces of data to work with they would probably laugh at me and tell me I don’t have a big data problem.

I’m willing to bet most of those #bigdata/DBA/Developer/Geeks in the world would not laugh when I asked when was the last time they talked to a stranger in the elevator at the office?  We data professionals out there have made it our career/lives talking to data.  We have made many extraordinary ways to visualize the data around us but I find we are we losing the ability to talk to people and tell them all the cool things we can do with data.

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) “We bought a zoo” 

The line above is one of my favorites and reminds me so much of social interaction.  Many of us are afraid to talk to the person in the elevator or the person in the coffee shop or even other professionals at a conference.  It takes a brief moment of courage to change your life forever.  I had that moment at the PASS Summit in 2004 (Read the story here) and ever since then I’ve been striving to keep it going and to socialize with others whenever I can.

What can you do to get out and socialize?

1.  Talk to people!  Don’t be the one reading your phone in the elevator, don’t be the one sitting at a user group meeting reading the emails for the day or bringing a book since you just came for the presentation.  The person that can answer that burning question on why you have deadlocks in the DB could be right next to you.

2.  Start using twitter/facebook/linkedin don’t be afraid to ask people questions on these mediums you will be shocked by how receptive people are.  Sometimes it’s easier to start that conversation when you are not in front of people.

3.  PRESENT! It takes 20 seconds of courage to submit your name for a user group presentation.  The leaders and others can help mentor you to get you ready.  If you don’t have someone to mentor you feel free to email me I love to help people get started in presenting.  Remember you present everyday at work to other developers/managers/product owners when you explain something, this is just a bigger audience.

4.  Attend user groups/SQL Saturdays/Conferences/tech gatherings.  Don’t eat alone and don’t stand alone thinking you have nothing cool to talk about or don’t know what to talk about.  If you are at an event with lots of other attendees you most likely have tons in common!

Just remember you are a data professional that talks to billions of rows of data every day, what’s the harm in talking to 1 person out of 6 billion?  It only takes 20 seconds of courage to change your life forever.

Happy Socializing