SQL Saturday #638, Philadelphia

This coming Saturday, June 3, I will be speaking at SQL Saturday #638, Philadelphia (okay, it’s actually in a town called Whitpain Township, not Philadelphia, but that’s what they call the event, so…)!

I will be giving the following two presentations:

  • Tech Writing for Techies: A Primer — Documentation is one of the most critical, yet most blatantly ignored and disrespected tasks when it comes to technology. Businesses and technical professionals ignore documentation at their own risk. This session discusses what tech writing and documentation is about and why it’s critical for business. It also explores possible reasons for why it’s ignored, how documentation can be improved, and how “non-writers” can contribute to the process.
  • Disaster Documents: The role of documentation in disaster recovery — I was an employee of a company that had an office in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Prior to that infamous date, I had written several departmental documents that ended up being critical to our recovery. In this presentation, I provide a narrative of what happened in the weeks following 9/11, and how documentation played a role in getting the organization back on its feet.

    While other disaster recovery presentations talk about strategies, plans, and techniques, this presentation focuses on the documentation itself. We will discuss the documents we had and how they were used in our recovery. We will also discuss what documents we didn’t have, and how they could have made the process better.

Hope to see you there!

My 2017 SQL Saturday Schedule (so far)

My 2017 SQL Saturday schedule is slowly taking shape!  For those of you who are interested, here’s where I’ll be (so far)!

Come on out to a SQL Saturday near you!  The events are free (although there is usually a nominal fee for lunch), there are lots of networking opportunities, and you might just learn something new!

And as an added bonus, you might even get to hear me speak! 😉

SQL Saturday #615, Baltimore, MD

My next speaking engagement is set!  On Saturday, May 6, I will be speaking at SQL Saturday #615 in Baltimore, MD.  I will be giving not one, but two presentations that day: “Tech Writing for Techies: A Primer” and “Disaster Documents: The role of documentation in disaster recovery.”

Hope to see you there!

SQL Saturday #545, Pittsburgh

I’ll be speaking in Pittsburgh this Saturday, October 1.  Hope to see you there!

SQL Saturday #545, Pittsburgh

I got word yesterday that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday #545, Pittsburgh on October 1!  I will be giving my presentation, “Disaster Documents: the role of documentation in disaster recovery.”

Hope to see you there!

Two days until SQL Saturday in Albany!

Hear ye, hear ye!  This Saturday — that’s two days from today — the Capital Area SQL Server User Group will be hosting SQL Saturday #513 at the University at Albany!  The event is free (there is a nominal fee for lunch), and anyone, whether you’re new to SQL Server or are a seasoned database veteran, is welcome to come!  (Just make sure you register!)

I’ll be giving a presentation about how to talk to non-technical people.  Come and check it out!

Want to know what SQL Saturday is about?  Check out my ‘blog post from Monday, where I talk about my path to becoming a SQL Saturday speaker!

Hope to see you there!

So you want to be a SQL Saturday speaker?

I attended my very first SQL Saturday in April, 2010, when I traveled down to New York City for SQL Saturday #39.  I’ve attended several more since then.  I’ve lost track of how many I’ve attended, but they’ve always been a fun experience while learning things about SQL Server, and a great way to spend a day.  Who needs to spend Saturday at the beach, the pool, or the ballpark, when you can spend it learning about technology?

It was on that New Y0rk City trip when I first met Dan Bowlin.  Together, along with a third person, Joe Barth, we co-founded CASSUG (Capital Area SQL Server User Group), the Albany-area SQL user group.  Since then, the group has grown considerably.  I am not sure how many people are affiliated with the group, but roughly twenty people regularly attend our monthly meetings, and I know that there are many more who are members of the group.  Our group has hosted its own SQL Saturdays — we will be hosting our third one this coming Saturday.

I’m not exactly sure when it was, but after attending a few more of these conferences, I knew that I wanted to contribute in some way, shape, or form.  The question was, how?  I am by no means an expert on SQL Server.  Most SQL Saturday attendees are people who know a lot more about SQL Server than I do.  So it was highly unlikely that I could develop a SQL Server-related topic that would be of interest to these database professionals.

As it turned out, SQL Saturday sessions talk about more than just SQL Server.  While SQL Server is definitely the dominant topic at these daylong conferences, SQL Saturday also includes several topic tracks, as well as resources, that may be of interest to developers, general technologists, job seekers, and non-database professionals.

It was at one of our local user group meetings where an idea occurred to me.  I’m not sure what sparked the idea, but I realized that there was a need for technologists to communicate their ideas and knowledge to people who didn’t understand technology — and I had enough experience doing exactly that to be able to lead such a session.  I started jotting down some ideas.  By the end of the meeting, I had enough material to create my own presentation.

When our user group adjourned for the evening, I ran my idea past some of my friends and colleagues.  I asked them whether or not they thought my idea would make a viable SQL Saturday presentation topic.  Every single one of them, to a person, answered yes.  All of them told me that they thought it would make an excellent presentation topic.

So, I worked on my PowerPoint presentation slides and submitted my presentation to our next SQL Saturday.  I figured that my hometown conference would be a good place to start.  I submitted my presentation under the professional/personal development track.  In order to prepare, I asked if I could present it at one of our user group meetings (which I did).  It went very well, and I received some very positive feedback.  It ended up being a good warm-up for my SQL Saturday presentation, which also went very well.  Since then, I’ve made some tweaks which have resulted in a better presentation.

That was just a little over a year ago.  This coming Saturday, I’ll be speaking at my fifth SQL Saturday, having spoken at other events around the Northeast United States.  And I intend to do plenty more.

I wrote earlier about how user groups can be beneficial to your career and even your social life.  If you’re interested in becoming a presenter, a user group is a good place to start.

So if you have an idea you want to present and some expertise you want to share, put a presentation together, try it out, and submit it.  You can never tell where it might lead.