And from @Datachix1 ‘s Mom…. #SqlSat48

Like I mentioned in my post, my mom (Karen Smith, not on the Twitter yet)  came with me to Columbia and decided to come to the day’s events.  She attended sessions all day, sometimes with me, sometimes on her own.  She branched out on her own for two sessions–David Taylor’s “To Click or Not to Click” and Jose Chinchilla’s “Get Cert! Get Cred!”  here are some of mom’s thoughts:

What I most appreciated about David Taylor’s ( @DYFHID ) presentation was his infectious enthusiam for all things SQL.  In addition he offered very practical advice for anyone like him who becomes an accidental DBA. Very good advice for beginners like me.
Jose Chinchilla has a plan to get certified: ( @sqljoe ) the why, where and how.  Lots of money saving tips and advice. I came away with something to aspire to! 
As for SQL Saturdays and PASS, I can’t say enough about them. I’ve worked at conferences and attended a few. I have to say this gang really know how to put on a seminar:  great sessions, great topics, great speakers, really nice venue and food! The organizers really know how to pull it off. This is a great community!

#sqlsat48 Datachix1’s Wrapup. Columbia SC/October 2, 2010

I had a great time at this past Saturday’s event in Columbia, SC where I  was lucky enough to be presenting.  I forgot to mention during my presentation –“Cool Tricks to Pull from your SSIS Hat” –that Carolina is my alma mater, and the Columbia area was home to me and my parents for 8 years. 

This was my first time back in 15, and besides the great professional event, I got to see several dear dear, friends from my previous life which was in Theatre.  I stayed at the lovely Hampton Inn in downtown Columbia (in the newish Vista area).  My mom came with me and we caught Rent at Trustus Theatre, which was only a few blocks from the hotel.  What an amazing show!  Shout out to the folks at Trustus for 26 years of theatrical awesomesauce. 

My mother happens to be a smart lady who is also interested in the SQL Server lifestyle, so she also came with me to the speaker’s dinner and the event itself.  It was really nice to share a little of my career with her.  I’m pretty sure she loved it.

This event was swarming with MVP’s and VIP’s and I got a chance to meet quite a few great folks and cavort with people I already knew. 

Where should I start?  Maybe with my some of my homies from Atlanta…..

Mark Tabladillo.  He’s a super smart guy with whom I shared a great conversation at the Speaker’s Dinner about Data Mining and ways to test the trustworthiness of your results and predictions.  My conversation with Mark illustrated to me the beauty of SQL Saturdays and events like them—you can not only learn cool and useful things, but enjoy great conversations and build relationships from which you can continue learning. 

Bob Langley.  Bob sat next to me at the speaker’s dinner and I was pretty sad to learn that we were scheduled to speak in the same time slot, because his presentation on Column Level Encryption really interested me.  This is a request I have received before, and I want to see what the possibilities are.  This was Bob’s first speaking engagement—kudos for speaking.

Stuart Ainsworth.  Stu did 3, yes 3 presentations.  I was not able to make any of them because of the restraining order, (just kidding), but I did hear that he did a great job.  He reported that his lunchtime demo was slightly hindered by a runaway process which ate his laptop, but I don’t think anyone noticed because

— the LUNCH was AWESOME!

                And FREE!  Thanks Sponsors

Special thanks also to Brian Kelley and Bobby Dimmick (and all the volunteers, especially Paul Waters who was my AV helper and the lovely man who watched our stuff all day in the speaker’s room).  The day really did go beautifully. 

Now the Outliers:

David Taylor from Alabama by way of Boston.   David was doing a new presentation on DBA tasks which my mother loved.  David is a recent convert to SQL Server whose enthusiasm for our community is palpable.  I always enjoy seeing David.

Jose Chinchilla.  Jose is a super nice guy that  I got to sit with at the Speakers Dinner as well.  He is running a SQL Saturday event in Tampa in January of 2011, which I hope to make.  Mom sat in on his certifications session, and she is really excited about getting some certifications now. 

Andy Leonard. (Blog | Linkedin | Twitter)  The Man . The Myth. The Moustache  :{>.  Andy is one of those Rock Star names in BI that I was super excited to get a chance to meet and hear present and he didn’t disappoint.  He loves his work and he loves his family and he loves sharing the tools of our trade with people.  I watched both of his presentations and got to learn how bigger shops can standardize large deployments and solutions, with clever safeguards in place.  He took time to talk with me about my presentation, sharing with me some additional xml tools I could use and giving me praise which made me all giggly.

Andy Warren. (Blog | Linkedin | Twitter) Co-founder of SQL Saturday, SQLServerCentral and a Director at Large of PASS.  Andy’s presentation on developing yourself professionally was well received and given that bio, I think he knows of what he speaks.  He encouraged us to think of ourselves as a product or business, and to develop a business plan accordingly.  I concur. 

Jessica Moss.  (Blog | Linkedin | Twitter) So glad I got to meet Jessica and see her presentation on Reporting Services.  Jessica is a great speaker—people were engaged and learning and she has a great time up there, which I love to see.

My presentation went very well.  I had 20 folks and I felt like most of my group was really enjoying it.  Several folks said they learned at least one or two very useful things.  I realized when it was over that I didn’t get very many questions, but people were definitely engaged, so I hope I wasn’t bulldozing them.  Got an average score of 4.6 (out of 5)—the large majority of people liked the presentation a lot. 

My advice to first time speakers:  (Robert Cain also gave me this advice):  practice with 1024×768 resolution.  You would be amazed how much the low resolution will throw you off, and how frequently you encounter it.  Also, practice your presentation with people in an audience—I inflict it on my coworkers.  I did practice runs on Tuesday and Thursday.  Tuesday really kind of sucked (thanks dear coworkers for suffering through it), on Thursday I felt much better and by Saturday I was pretty happy.