Michael J. Swart

June 29, 2010

Did You Just Ask Me What I Did This Weekend?

Filed under: SQLServerPedia Syndication — Tags: , , , — Michael J. Swart @ 4:30 pm

Before I answer that question, let me first respond to a different question:

“Michael, Could you show us an image that tells us how much you’ve written, while simultaneously reminding us what-state-of-the-art graphics was like in the early nineties?”

Why certainly!

100th Blog Post

100th Blog Post

I’ll wait ’til the applause dies down

No seriously. Thank you people. We’ll be here all night if you don’t stop clapping.

Thanks again …  (love you too)


So what did I do this weekend?

Road Trip to SQL Saturday 42!

I hopped in my car and drove down to Columbus Ohio to attend SQL Saturday #42. It was a 7 hour drive not counting border-crossings and totally worth it. I already talked about my expectations and motivation in a previous post and I was not disappointed.  (Google maps route for the trip).

Walking in the Door

The minute I walked in I was welcomed by name by Dave Schutz (@DaveSchutz). I actually met Dave Schutz last year. Not through twitter or through blogs or by any other social network. I met Dave on a bus from the airport in Seattle last November on the way to the PASS summit. A very cool kick-off to that week.

Dave actually helped organize SQL Saturday in Columbus Ohio. From what I understand he was a very busy guy. I wish I could have chatted with him a bit more.

Waiting for the Talks to Begin

While waiting for talks to begin I talked with a lot of people and I eavesdropped on others. I found it interesting that (without fail) conversations went from awkward smalltalk to awesomeness the second the topic got around to any topic that was remotely technical. A sociologist might have something to say about that.


Matt Hester started off with the keynote. He’s an evangelist for Microsoft and he talked about the Microsoft’s relationship with the cloud. But it didn’t feel like a commercial at all. A lot of it felt like a Discovery Channel show. (Did you know Microsoft designs data centers without roofs?)

Dave Rodabaugh was up next. I attended two sessions with this guy. He talked about Business Intelligence and how to do it right. He’s an extremely competent speaker and it’s obvious that he knows his stuff. One interesting fact I learned was that Gartner claims that half of Business Intelligence projects fail. BI is hard to do right.

What I liked best about Dave’s speaking style is that he doesn’t sit on the fence about anything. He gives hard rules to follow and his answers don’t contain “it depends”. But he also tells us that he breaks his own rules. In fact I got the impression that he’s broken all of them at one point or another. But he gives this warning about breaking those rules: “You can create your own recipes after you’ve learned to cook”.

Louis Davidson (@DrSql) then talked about Database Design Patterns. He blogged about that talk from his own point of view. Louis did a great job with this talk and I got to ask him some technical questions afterwards.

Jeremiah Peschka (@peschkaj) talked about Free Performance Boosts. He also blogged about that talk from his own point of view. In his article he wonders why this talk was so well attended. I think it’s a combination of two things. The title promises a sort of get-rich-quick deal. And the content of the talk actually delivered on that. There was absolutely no filler in that talk. It was all useful. A couple of the tips I already knew, but it was still nice to have that knowledge affirmed.

Skipping a Session: I skipped the last session to continue conversations. (protip: don’t feel guilty about this!)

Suggestions for SQL Saturday in General

  • There’s the problem of people signing up and not attending. It causes problems for planners and wait-list attendees (i.e. me). I’m not sure how many people decline to sign up because a Sql-Saturday is “full” but one is too many. Solutions? I’m not sure… overbooking maybe?
  • Lunch time sessions. I know that having a vendor session in the cafeteria is good for vendors. But it really cuts down on networking time. (I need to find a better word than “networking” it seems too much like marketing). I put this down to price-of-admission.
  • If a speaker doesn’t show up. Don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world to have three sessions in a time-slot versus four. From an attendee point of view, it’s not too much different. It was fortunate that people were willing and able to fill in.

Columbus, Ohio in General

The people were so so so friendly. I wanted to bring them all back with me to Canada. I get this impression from my small sample size consisting of SQL Saturday attendees, zoo employees and Ohio restaurant staff. Speaking of which: A huge thanks to the morning staff at Bob Evans on Olentangy River Road. They were extra friendly and helpful.

One Regret

I wish I brought my SQL Server Deep Dives book in order to have two more authors sign them, (@DrSql and @SqlRunr)


  1. Michael,

    It was a pleasure to speak with you this Saturday in my fair hometown of Clumbis, Ahia, USA. (‘Murica’s Vacashun Wonderland!) You made quite the trek to come see us. I particularly enjoyed our chat during the session you skipped. Your feedback affirmed my hopes that somebody may be helped. You told me that the first session told you your “unknown unknowns” and that is perhaps the best thing you could have taken from either session. It is sobering to embark upon a project believing you know what to do, only to find out after total failure that you didn’t. ‘Tis much better to learn at the start, or certainly before the dismal end.

    Don’t hesitate to contact me about anything. Also, keep your eyes peeled. Jeremiah Peschka has convinced me to resume blogging. Soon I’ll have a site up and running into which I may dump my own ramblings.

    Comment by Dave Rodabaugh — June 29, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  2. Congratulations on your 100th post. Hopefully I’ll get there by the end of the year.

    Comment by Gethyn Ellis — June 30, 2010 @ 3:56 am

  3. Thanks Gethyn, 100 posts go faster than you’d think.

    Hey Dave R, Thanks for the comment, I’m going to take you up on your offer to ask you stuff. I’ll be writing that blog entry on “how experts become experts” soon…

    Comment by Michael J. Swart — June 30, 2010 @ 8:22 am

  4. Michael,

    Congrats on blog number 100! Good for you! Thanks for the kind words about SQL Saturday #42 Columbus. Networking at lunch would be better than sponsor sessions, but not sure of another way to keep sponsors happy.
    It was good seeing you again, have to look for more opportunities.


    Comment by Dave Schutz — June 30, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

  5. Thanks Dave S.
    I totally understand about the vendors… It’s what keeps the event free. And there is value to them.
    Talk to you later.

    Comment by Michael J. Swart — June 30, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

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