Saturday, March 6, 2010

Opening Keynote – SQL Saturday #33

I didn’t quite read this, but this was the written part of what I have as the opening keynote for SQL Saturday #33.

Welcome to SQL Saturday #33 here in Charlotte.

My business partner, Andy Warren, has had a ton of ideas over the years. He likes to remind me that they might not all be good ideas, but there’s no shortage of them. A few of them stand out, like his idea for the Best of SQLServerCentral books. I was driving home in a rare Denver rainstorm one night when he told me we should republish the best articles from the year in a book format. I had to pull over and debate it since I was sure no one would want a copy, but I was proved wrong. That series has been very popular over the years and we are on our eighth volume this year. SQL Saturday was another one of idea I didn’t believe in at first

When we started our training business, SQL Share, we were looking for ways to market the business. We tried some of the traditional methods of advertising, and had even considered purchasing a booth at the PASS Summit or TechEd. Those were expensive, and we were not sure they would be good investments. In our market research, which is really just a fancy term for us talking to regular people like all of you, we realized that the vast majority of IT professionals never attend conferences and other large events. Lots of people rarely go, usually once or twice in their careers, and a very lucky, select few go quite often.

When Andy approached me with the idea of running free events to get more training out to those that can’t go to conferences, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure that it would even run, much less help us market our business, but Andy had proven me wrong before and both Brian Knight and I lent our support.

And money.

Over many phone calls, we worked on the idea and eventually SQL Saturday #1 in Orlando was held three years ago. Since then dozens of events have been held all over the country, and while they haven’t necessarily resulted in a lot of monetary profit, they have brought us a lot of satisfaction, and I’m proud to be associated with them. I’ve helped in a small way, but most of the credit has to go to Andy Warren.

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