Category Archives: speaking

SLC SQL Saturday & Big Mountain Data Attendee Reminder Part 3 of 3


SQL Saturday SLC (#349) & Big Mountain Data

The Big Event is tomorrow and we are super excited! You still have time to forward the event to your friends and let the know. Even if they are not registered we welcome walk in registrations!

Thank you for registering for SLC SQL Saturday & Big Mountain Data. We will send out 3 emails to all registered attendees over the next 3 days to give you all the important information you need about the conference. If you miss an email or you registered after the email went out you can find all the email/information here.

  1. Part 1 of 3
  2. Part 2 of 3
  3. Part 3 of 3(this newsletter)

Summary of key information

  1. Cost: FREE
  2. Attendance: 500+ planned
  3. Schedule: Link to Schedule
  4. Location: Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building 1768 Campus Center Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84112
  5. Calendar file: Ics file
  6. Map Link: Map
  7. Register@: Uge Site
  8. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.
  9. Lunch: 12:20-1:20
  10. Guidebook: Digital Schedule and info about the conference available on most phones. GuideBookSchedule

Saturday Morning

Review the Map and Parking Locations. Look for the Large Blue flags to help you find locations to park and where to go they will guide you to the building. We will also have SQL Saturday signs that will help you find the location.


You do not need to print anything to bring to the registration table. Just have your name and we will look you up in the system. You will be given a badge, lunch ticket, bag and shirt. The shirts are first come first serve, we do have a chance of running out with how many registrations we have. If you come early you have a better chance of getting a shirt. The Shirts have 4 different sayings on them. If you want to change the shirt for another saying please chat with another attendee about switching shirts or wait till after the first session to switch at the registration desk. This is so we can keep registration moving smoothly.


We have lots of great prizes to give out.

  1. Journey Team will be giving away an Xbox one
  2. Profisee will be giving away a Dell Venue pro Tablet
  3. Dell will also be giving away a Dell tablet

These are just some of the few prizes to give away. To be entered to win these prizes please visit the sponsor booth. For most sponsors they will just need to scan your badge and you will be entered. Some of the sponsors may have you fill out a form to be entered for the prizes. We will hand out prizes at the end of the day in the open area around registration. You must be present to win at the end of the day.

Ask the Experts Room

We have reserved a whole session room in the afternoon to give you the chance to chat with experts in the area of data. Consider this a chance for you to bounce ideas off others, perhaps ask some other experts about a new architecture/design you are working on. Get a review from experts on the design you just published to production and what pitfalls you might run into. This is your chance to really whiteboard with an expert something you have been considering or want to know. Bring your ideas and problems and get them solved!

Session Feedback

We will have a new way for you to provide feedback for each session.

  1. You will be able to scan a QR code with each room you go into and that will bring up a survey in a browser window on your phone
  2. The Schedule located here. Will have a link to a survey form for each session.

Good feedback is critical to speakers so they can improve their speaking abilities. We hope that you will take the time to provide feedback. Please be detailed in your feedback and tell the speakers what they can do to improve. Things like “Speaker needs to talk louder”,”Speaker needs to engage audience”,”Speaker should be better prepared and have tested demo to make sure it worked properly”. All of these things help the speakers to improve specific parts of the session.

Event Feedback

We will send out an email Saturday morning to all registered attendees with a link to take a survey about the event. We always strive to improve our events and we hope you can help us do that by providing feedback.

Be Respectful

Finally we think this barely needs mentioning because we have an awesome membership! Please be courteous and respectful of others. We want you to debate and discuss technology and find ways to make things better for everyone and we want everyone to enjoy themselves.

Thank you

SLC SQL Saturday & Big Mountain Data organizing committee



SQL Saturday #271 Albuquerque New Mexico


Seems like just last weekend I was heading off to New Mexico for my First SQL Saturday of the year.   It was actually 2 weeks ago but who’s counting.  🙂

I arrived really late Friday night unfortunately so I missed the speaker dinner.   I checked in did some double checks on my presentation and headed off to bed.  The event started at 8:00 so it was an early morning for me.  I picked up Gabrielle (blog|Twitter) from his hotel at about 7:00  a.m. so we could get over to the event early and help setup.

This was the first SQL Saturday I had attended where I had not organized the event or been part of the organizing committee.   It’s very different in the morning to not have nearly as much stress that comes with putting on an event.   Not that the SQL Saturday team had anything to worry about they put on an excellent event and took great care of the attendees, speakers and sponsors.  I was really impressed with how they did and how smooth it ran.

What a Speaker Room!

What a Speaker Room!

We had a great space for the speaker room so I quickly got in and started to test my presentation and get my computer setup.  I recently moved to a new computer and it only has 8GB of ram since I was running a VM and SQL server I wanted to make sure I only had open what I needed.

My presentation time came around and I felt I was ready to go.  The presentation really went well in my opinion even though my demo did fail.  The issue of not having enough ram came back to bite me. When I was trying to run my Sqoop import the computer froze on me.  I couldn’t get back to my Power point or anything with the VM.  Luckily we had enough questions and discussion to get around the issue.  The rest of the presentation went pretty well after that.  Overall I was satisfied that everyone learned something in the presentation.

Lunch Time!

Lunch Time!

The rest of the afternoon I attended some other sessions but also spent some time hanging out in the speaker room catching up with friends I usually only see once a year at the PASS Summit.  It was really nice to just sit and chat with them.  I made sure to spend some time at lunch chatting with people I didn’t know as well so that I can make new contacts in the future.

Cocktails and Food

Cocktails and Food

The end of the day giveaways went well and then we headed off to some cocktails/food for an after party.  It was great to sit down and chat with others and talk about all the various projects they have going on.



I woke up early Sunday morning and went out to greet the sunrise I ended up with a few good shots. Overall it was a great weekend and I can’t wait till my next SQL Saturday weekend at a future event. I’ve submitted to SQL Saturday Las Vegas and SQL Saturday Madison hopefully I will be able to speak at both.  I really want to make it back to NM next year as well

All my photos of the event are located here.

What to do when the demo goes bad


An Early Morning sunrise at SQL Saturday 271

This weekend I attended and spoke at SQL Saturday #271 in Albuquerque, NM.  This was my first time speaking outside my own events so it was a new experience for me.  I spent some time in the speaker room during the morning getting my computer setup for the presentation later that day.

I started out with my presentation and slides and everything was going well. Very interactive group (I like questions throughout the session) and lots of good discussion.  I only had about 60 minutes worth of content in a 75 minute session so I knew I had to get some good questions going.  I started into my demo and was showing some of the key points and then started on my Import using SQOOP.  It started up just fine and then just stopped on one step.  Not only did it stop my whole computer froze.  I thought for sure I was going to see a BSOD or it was just going to shut down.  Luckily I was able to handle this and continue the presentation without it causing too much damage. I didn’t get to show the process I originally wanted to show but I was able to explain and go over with the audience all the pieces I still needed.

This got me thinking about some key things you need to do WHEN the demo goes bad.  It is not a matter of IF but when. Sooner or later you will have it fail on you.

Be calm and cool!

Be calm and cool!

When things go bad!

  1.  Don’t Panic!  Apologize for the issue and keep moving with the presentation work on the next step.  Letting it throw off your focus or send you down a tangent will not end well.
  2. Fix it, if it is a quick fix then take a quick 2-3 minutes to resolve it.  See next point about communicating if you are fixing something.
  3. Keep communicating.  The last thing you want is a long silence in the presentation while you fight your demo issues.  Ask more questions of the audience or find out how things have gone so far.
  4. Don’t apologize too much.  I actually failed this one in my presentation.  Apologizing over and over isn’t going to change anything.  Apologize for the issue move forward and keep going.

Some ways to avoid the problem.

  1.  Have a backup, this can be easy for some things and hard for others.
  2. The backup can be static content/hidden slides with images that you can show what the demo is supposed to be doing.
  3. Test and re-test your demo’s many times.  Even if you have presented this 100 times testing the morning before is a good idea.  ( I didn’t and look what happened to me)

These are just my simple suggestions and I would love to hear if you have additional suggestions as well.

Overall I received good marks on the presentation and my fellow speakers said I handled the issue well some suggested just removing that part of the demo from the presentation.  This is something I’m considering but I’m also working on solutions to fix the problem so that I can avoid it in the future.

I hope future demos for you go well but in case they don’t keep these things in mind and it may make the pain a little less!

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

SQL Saturday #54 Recap

First and foremost thank you to all you that attended. We all say thank you to the organizers, speakers and sponsors for giving their time. But remember we would all be out of a volunteer job if we didn’t have attendees! The SLC community is great and it gets better with each event and we hope to keep putting on great events for you. Thank you to the wonderful SLC SQL Saturday Team Tjay Belt (Blog |Twitter), Scott Heffron (Blog) and Ben Miller (Blog |Twitter). I know they like to think I did much of the planning but in reality having them all as part of the Staff is a huge help to me.

I’ve listed out my Pro and Con list for the event. Basically I see this as things to improve or what we did well. This may come across as being overly critical; I see it as a list of how to improve things going forward. As an Organizer of an event you have to take responsibility for everything at the event, meaning you get the good and the bad. A manager of mine used to always start with the bad in our review meetings. She always said it’s better to end on a positive note so that’s what I’ll do here.


1. Printing –We need to order the paper earlier so there is less last minute printing. Next time I’ll probably send off for more items earlier.

2. Lunch – This will officially be the last time an event has lunch purchased through a sponsor, from this point forward the event will own this.

3. Speakers – We wish we had more of them. The ones we had were outstanding!

4. Surveys – We are working on a new online survey system that will make this better for next time.


1. Attendance – While not as many as projected it was a great first start for the SLC area. Next year this will get bigger.

2. Speakers – We had some top notch speakers not only from SLC but from other locations. Really thankful for those that came out to speak.

3. Registration – I really liked how it worked and it went well I plan to adopt some of it for Utah Code Camp

4. Sponsors – We had lots of great sponsors they really made the event excellent. I also loved the raffle ticket idea from SQL Saturday and plan to use it again in the future.

5. Social Networking – I saw lots of people getting to know each other and chatting in the halls. I also heard of at least 3 people that created twitter accounts after attending #sqlSat54 that’s great and I’m glad we can really start to build more networking into our area.

So how did you think we did? Here’s the break down from the surveys we received. Total of 17 surveys received.

Overall Fall 2010 5 is Like
Website Reg 4.53
Technical Content 4.44
Location 4.29
Overall 4.47
Attend Another? Counts Percent
Yes 16 94%
No 1 6%
Best Time Counts Percent
Beginning 9 53%
Middle 6 35%
End 2 12%
Heard about us? Counts
Twitter 2 12%
Email from Code Camp 5 29%
Sponsor 0 0%
Friend 7 41%
None Of the Above 3 18%

We received some great comments as well which we will use to help us plan the next event. In all it was a great event and I look forward to putting on another SQL Saturday. The next big event in my future is the PASS Summit (I’m not organizing that thoughJ). The next organized event is the Utah Code Camp which is now set for March 19th 2011 ( We will have some SQL sessions there as well so make sure to come out and see what we have to offer.

If you would like to read more wrap ups on SQL Saturday #54 here is a link to those that I’m aware of.

Nicholas Cain SQL Saturday #54 Recap

Jason Brimhall SQL Saturday #54 Recap

Tjay Belt SQL Saturday #54 Recap

Speaking at the User Group

Last night was the first time I’ve spoken to the user group in quite some time.  I’m posting this up so I avoid some of the mistakes I made last night.  I was out of practice so I made some simple mistakes. 

1.  Don’t forget your laptop power cord.  I use to never have this problem as I always had one in my bag with me.  Unfortunately may bag is now also a camera bag that carries a 80-200 lens which is quite heavy so I try to keep weight to a minimum by leaving my cord at home.  🙂

2.  Check your laptop on a projector first.  I’ve hooked many laptops to projectors and never had issues.  I’ve even had this one use an external monitor but for whatever reason last night I could not get this to show up the projector.  I did try the FN+F8 needed for Dell and I tried the Windows Key + P which is suggested for Win 7.  I’ll do some research today to find the issue. 

3.  Repeat the question.  Although I wasn’t doing online live meeting or any sort of online presence I want to get into this habit to make myself a better presenter.  I didn’t do that last night so I’ll continue to work on this. 

Hopefully everyone learned something from the session even if I wasn’t able to demo the specific items I wanted.  If you attended the presentation feel free to leave any comments on what you thought or email me.  Thanks