Thursday, October 29, 2015

First Timer Summit impressions.

oh man, this partying is wearing me out.  No wait, I mean all these sessions learning stuff is wearing me out.  5 parties, 1 night of bar hopping, in 3 days.

For those of you in the SQL line of work.  Get involved with PASS, your local chapters, get on Twitter, #sqlfamily, #sqlhelp.  Never having met a single person here before (except some of the presenters), I had instant contact with people.  Hanging out with people from all over the world, all with the same interest.  Just a simple Twitter message on Monday night, and I ended up going from being on my way to my room after the excellent Monday night event put on by Andy Warren and Steve Jones, to hanging out for another 3 hours with a group of people I had not ever met in person until then.

This community, is, by far the best community of people I have ever had the pleasure of being a member of.  For being a group of people traditionally known for their egos, there are non.  People chat, share stories, from the people known in the community to all of us, to the un-knows.  From people with 20+ years experience, to people just starting out.  And we are there for each others.  We laugh at each others crazy experiences with SQL, crappy clients, managers that do not understand what we do for a living, groan together at the sometimes crazy work hours.

Yet, we pretty much all absolutely love what we do!  We sit in a session about Windowing Functions, and during a break, there are a group of 5 people discussing concrete use cases for what we just had Klaus Aschenbrenner (@Aschenbrenner) talk about.  None of us knew each other before that break, yet we jumped right into chatting with each other as if we had been co-workers for years.  And so far, this has been pretty much what has happened at every single break during both pre-cons, and between sessions on the first day of regular sessions.

Breakfast and lunch?  Sit down at a table, and I've had to scramble just to make it to the session due to interesting discussions with strangers?  WTH?  I'm an introvert.  This stuff is not supposed to happen, I'm supposed to quietly sit and eat, go to my sessions, then head to the hotel room for the night.  Ha!  Even remotely just entertaining the possibility of chatting with people, you will be busy,

Walking (after sitting on airplanes and in sessions for 4 days, needed a walk) to Idera's party tonight, I ended up walking next to a gentleman from China. Talking SQL and experiences the mile+ walk to find the place we were going to.  We were so deep in discussions we passed right by the place the first time and walked a few blocks past the place!!!!

Having grown up in Norway, for the first time in the 20 years of working with SQL, I have talked SQL in Norwegian, with multiple Norwegian DBAs and a Swede, with immediate switch over to English when non Norwegian speakers showed up.  (special thanks to the Norwegian team for letting me have some, uhm, Freia chocolate in the Community Zone).

So, Anders, what about the Summit itself?  Well, I will get to that.  The reason for the above is to frankly show this amazing community, built around PASS (and off course SQL...) , and to a large extend around Twitter, for me especially #SQLFamily, but as a new blogger also around #SQLNewBlogger.  After 20 years of doing this DBA thing, I have to admit in the last few years I have gotten somewhat jaded and tired of doing this for a living, the desire to get into the next version of SQL has not been there to the extent it has been in the past.  Seeing the positive feedback from my own blog posts, cheering on the other new people starting to blog, has been a trans formative experience for me in itself.  Add on top coming out to Seattle for Summit 15 and getting to meet these people in person?  Pure awesomeness.  I'm for the first time in years actually excited to work with SQL again. I'm excited for the possibilities SQL 2016 will open up, both for what I can do for my company with it, and to new areas it can take my career.

While I am a first timer for Summit, I have been to several other large conventions in the past.  NONE of the above happened on any of those events.  At lunch people would sit and just eat, maybe check their email, make some calls.  After hours there might have been some vendor events, but they where never engaging with people, just the sales people.

The sessions themselves are top notch.  From Paul Randal's always engaging performance discussions for the pre con, to the McGowns pre con on scripting, to the Key Note, to the individual short sessions.

Special shout out to all the employees, volunteers, speakers and sponsors for making this possible.