Monday, November 06, 2017

SQLSat Organizers and UG Leaders Meetings at PASS Summit - Tips and Tricks notes

At the SQLSat Organizers and UG Leaders Meetings at PASS Summit meetings last week, we were given an opportunity to share "tips and tricks" with other leaders, and I had the opportunity to.

Now that I'm home (despite a thrilling late-night sprint through IAH to make a connecting flight) and starting to get caught up on sleep and email, here's my notes I typed up, annotated with some links.

Happy to share and thanks for the followup questions afterwards, let me know if you have any more.

SQLSat Organizers Meeting

  • First off the Microsoft global sponsor is a big deal, I have strong positive opinions in that, thank you for that.
    • I am a big-budget SQLSat organizer, I think this is a really good thing. Bravo Microsoft.
  • Broad set of topics, “for everyone in IT”
    • We pull in 400-600 each year for past 5 years
    • We invite the developers, sysadmins, students, IT managers and CIO's, SharePoint…
    • More ROI for sponsors, a bigger audience that includes decision makers
  • Join the Empire - Fundraising for foundation (for local schoolsystem?)
    • Call your local chapter of the 501st Legion - star wars
    • They'll help you raise money for whatever charity you pick
  • Jambalaya is cheap
    • Rice, meat, spices, salad, sides, plates, $4-5/head
    • Similar dishes: arroz con pollo, paella, fried rice, shawarma and rice
    • It's also gluten free!
  • R is hot, what else is?
    • Example: Chris Hyde at capacity in 60-person room for R
    • Pay attention to the hottest topics if you have opportunity use your bigger rooms
  • Speaker goodie bags
  • Sticker game - part of vendor ROI
    • We give stickers to the vendors with instructions to give them out to folks who actually show interest
    • Attendees have to collect 4 out of 5 stickers, n-1 on a game sheet
    • They get to keep the one for their field, the stickers have said in the past, "I'm building" or "Performance Tuning" or "rising", so it's SQL or Careers or Code or Servers or BI
    • About $300-400 for five 500-count rolls of stickers (pictured, right)
    • Sample game card here.

UG Leaders Meeting

  • South Central Regional Leadership meetings held bimonthly with fellow RM Keith Tate
  • Talk to your local .NET
    • Build a critical mass of people for networking , but also for sponsor ROI
    • They have a new parent organizer, the .NET Foundation, which is finally stepping in
    • For a long time we’ve enjoyed being a chapter of PASS, and I think sometimes we take it for granted how great it is, other technologies don’t have it
  • Remote speakers? Must have a good AV setup
    • We’ve had remote speakers more often recently because our venue has given us a conference room with a big TV
    • Do NOT try to do remote speakers with a shabby AV setup. It will discourage people.
    • Always prefer building a local new speaker
    • You can still have a local lightning round speaker as the remote speaker stands by
  • Networking Night
    • Every year the month before our SQLSaturday, we add to the vendor ROI by hosting a networking night.
    • This is one of the biggest meetings of the year for us, 75+ folks show up, many new faces with resumes in hand
    • We have lightning round style talks on career topics, soft skills, entertaining etc. My wife gives a different talk from some aspect of the HR interviewing process every year.
  • Meetup
    • We paid for it with leftover sqlsat money in 2017
    • So far, we have gotten a handful of first timers from meetup, but few retained regulars
    • Other User Groups have had A LOT of success with
  • More social events
    • We’re trying to build more social camaraderie so we’re going to do official self-pay events at various locations around town
    • Especially in December annually