Category Archives: Volunteer

Startup Weekend Ogden Edition

The Night started with an ultimate Pitch! A Marriage Proposal

The Night started with an ultimate Pitch! A Marriage Proposal

This weekend I was able to make just one day of the Startup Weekend event in Ogden Utah.  If you have not heard about Startup weekend’s in the past you can visit http://startupweekend.org/.  This particular event was in Ogden and the site for it is. http://ogden.startupweekend.org/

I sponsored the event through Utah Geek Events and was very happy to do so.  The event was exceptionally well put together and had a great space and energy about it.  I spoke with a friend that was at the event all week and he really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.  Personally I know that I’ll be supporting them more in the future not only through helping to advertise but finding ways I can volunteer and attend myself.

I took some notes of the pitches at the end and thought I would share my favorites here.  Keep in mind all the proposals were applications/ideas put together in about 2 days.  Fully functioning apps and sites done in two days!

Story Twist

This one was the overall winner of the Startup weekend.  Just a great idea for bringing back choose your own adventure books combined with teaching kids to read and technology.  This simple concept is to allow young readers to build an adventure/book by themselves by picking some key pieces of information and then the IPAD app will generate the story for them.  They even had a working site and app ready in the 2 day time frame!  Check them out at www.storytwist.co

Not Dead Yet

The Friend I mentioned above worked on this team and I really liked the idea of the app. To try and make sure someone knows where you are or where you are supposed to be in case you are lost or stranded in the wilderness.   This sends out a message to a group of friends you setup and lets them know how long you are supposed to be gone.  When you don’t check in the app sends out more alerts. Check them out at http://www.notdeadyet.co/

Statiq

The goal here is that they are trying to make it easier to build Static blogs.  It sounds very difficult right now and this group put together a basic UI that allowed you to put in some simple information and then it would build the pages/site for you.  I liked it because it seems like a great idea, although the team did seem a little heavy on the technical side and the presentation needed a little more polish.  I think if they can make this interface user friendly and simple to understand that will be a huge step forward. Check out Statiq.io for more info.

Overall if you get a chance to attend a startup weekend do it! Regardless of your skill level you just need a desire to create something and have a good time.  You will network with some of the best, get a chance to really contribute and possibly be part of the next big thing!

PASS Suggestions #1 Giving Feedback

Board Q&A 2013

PASS Board Q&A 2013 Summit

This year at the PASS Summit the Board held an open Question and Answer session.  They have done this for the past few years and it’s been very helpful for us to ask questions of the board.  I wanted to extend those ideas after the summit but wasn’t sure the best ways to give feedback to the board. 

Now don’t get me wrong I’m good friends with several board members and I have no doubt that I can send them an email (I already have) with this information and they can consider it.   But what if you are not in my position?  What if you are member of PASS that just wants to make suggestions to the organization?  Perhaps you have worked with other large volunteer organizations and you have great ideas on how to make things better.   Well unfortunately your only choice from the website is to email a member of PASS HQ on the about us page.  So who do you email?  From the titles you can probably figure out the right area that might help you but what then? How do you know what happens with your suggestion from that point? My suggestion to PASS is to start giving us a way to easily give feedback and to track that feedback until completion.  A simple ticket tracking system.

As DBA’s and Developers we track all sorts of things through ticket tracking systems.  Bugs, Projects we are working on and feedback from end users.  I’m suggesting the same thing here.  PASS needs to get a simple form we can use on the website to give feedback.  That is then assigned to a Board member/portfolio and worked on till completion or if the task is not appropriate then it can be closed in some manner that gives a reason why it can’t be done.  The requestor would get the feedback from the ticket so they knew the status of the suggestion.  We would have ownership and accountability as a Board member/portfolio would own the tickets.

This process would allow us to talk about specific items in the future events and PASS meetings.  We would be able to track progress exactly and what items are being worked on.  Overall it would make management of the many projects going on much smoother.

One suggested tool could be Trello, we use it in two different organizations that I volunteer in and it’s a great way to create simple stories and put them on a board to be worked on.  I am sure lots of tools exist for this sort of thing the important thing is getting something in place to capture feedback in the future and to give the end user knowledge of where that feedback stands.

Another suggestion that Thom made as well is User Voice.  Looks like a good site that could have some great tools as well for managing the projects.

As I mentioned above I have sent this to the PASS  Board already and hopefully they will consider it as a future project.   If you think this is a good idea perhaps sending an email to a board member of your choice mentioning this idea would be good.

I put a #1 at the top of the post since I have a few more suggestions for the PASS organization as well and they will show up as future blog posts.

T-SQL Tuesday #36 SQL Community how you can get involved

Today’s T-SQL Tuesday topic is on the SQL Community.   Let’s start with the housekeeping side of things.  This is a T-SQL Tuesday post.  This time hosted by Chris Yates (B|T). The Topic is SQL Community.

So how has the community helped me?   Well really everything I’ve done has been thanks to the community.  Thanks to Wayne Snyder and Rick Heiges for really inspiring me to get into volunteering all those years ago in Orlando in 2004.  That kick started my participation not only in my local community but nationally in the PASS Organization.     It helped me to meet up with great friends Allen Kinsel and Thomas Larock as well they kept me wanting to continue to volunteer and help the community.

I have spent the last 8 years volunteering for the SQL community and doing my best to give back to the community.  I figured the best way I could help with the post is to give you some ways you can start by getting involved in the community and helping out.

1.  Find your Local SQL Server SLC User Group and ask if you can help organize a meeting. PASS Chapter List

2.  Present locally, Find a topic you are passionate about and offer to present at the local chapter.  Pass chapter List

3.  Volunteer for PASS, You can find the volunteers page here to contact PASS.

4.  Volunteer at a SQL Saturday, You can find the list here and contact the organizers.

5. Mentor a fellow Data professional.  Even if this is just at your own office or a friend from another company getting together and helping others can get you started in the community.

6.  Start your own SQL Chapter.  If you are really adventurous and up for a challenge get started by starting a chapter.    You can find more information at the Chapter link above.

These are all great ways you can get started in the community, so get out there and help out!  Regardless of what you choose to do whether to help others or not you should get involved in some way you will be very thankful you did.