As a person who had the great pleasure to speak at all six SQLDays, I can only say WOW!. And I am not talking about how big this conference has grown over those years. This is nice, but in my opinion there are far more impressive things.
First of all, I spoke with a whole bunch of people at the conference, not only with the attendees, other speakers and staffers, but also with business quests and partners. And none of them complained or were disappointed. Quite an achievement by itself.
Note. I had to leave after Thursday party, so there is a minute chance that something terribly wrong happened during the last day of the conference. But I would not bet on this.
But there is more. Being long term MCT/MVP I could see how much, and in what directions, others conferences have changed since 2006. And with this perspective I can say why SQLDay is so special — there is still the same spirit of true passion (I am talking about attendees, staff and speakers as well). This proves that the old-fashioned assumption that there are intelligent people who value their time and can see the difference between pure and marketing-based technical context is still valid. This does not mean that you cannot make deals during SQLDay — that’s the place where the vastly overgrown marketing departments are not needed. Isn’t that cool?
This also doesn’t mean that all sessions are superb. Quite the opposite — in fact, I had a conversation with some attendees where they simply told me how much higher their value some session above others. However, they were not whining about the context itself, only about the way the information was delivered. Something I perfectly understood — no one is able to memorize hundreds of slides plus a dozen demos seen during one day, so we also want some entertainment.
Back to the main topic, which is SQLDay as a conference. You should remember that it started as a small, one-day and one-track community conference with no budget at all. Last year there were pre-confs, two days of session divided into two concurrent track, and a bunch of renowned speakers from all over the world. This time the whole conference took place during the week, not at weekend. You should also remember that for the first four years it was completely free, and the move to a paid conference was not easy. However, this is still a community event, only with much better catering and in a more convenient place. And I think that the value for many is really a top one.
I probably should not talk too much for others, so let me share with you some photos:
There is about half of my pre-conf group (once again, I’m really sorry that some of you missed that photo) — 30 people wanted to spend a whole day building a DW/BI system. And what a venue J
The very beginning — the coordinators, PLSSUG leaders from whole Poland and speakers:
Amazingly, there can be breaks without music so loud that talking is impossible, and attendees get bored:
And this is one of the last sessions of the first day — there were still people willing to get into hearty discussion at this time:
I’m really sorry that I didn’t get the picture of the room during my first session — that was the first time when I saw people sitting on the floor all over the place.
And that is how the conference ended for me — unfortunately I had to get back to Katowice that night:
See you next year at SQLDay 2014!