Archive for March, 2011

I had talked with some individuals on what exactly the “SQL Dating” or Networking was for SQL Saturday #66.  I thought I would put it down just in case someone else wanted an idea on how to network at their events.  The overall principle or thought was to reproduce the bar or club style of speed dating.  The idea of being able to talk and learn from many people in one room, after the rotation is done it then leaves each person with an idea on who they may want to talk to more; we were hoping that no one felt they had been ignored.

The idea is that each person comes in the door to “check in”, they are asked to declare a discipline. So if you were a DBA you would get something such as a poker chip or a color of paper that would help you identify people of like interests.  We had 3 groups that attendees could join in BI, DBA, or Database Developer.  If someone was new to SQL Server we would ask them if they had a preference, if none was selected we would put them in a group that looked like it had less people in it.  We then pointed them in the direction of our main room, where we had food and coffee.

Once the started the Keynote, was a very basic Keynote, it covered:

         Who was the User Group

         Location of the restrooms, and drinks

         Why we were doing this

         Plans for the day

         And then we went right into the Networking


I walked everyone thought the steps, started by asked the attendees to get into a circle with all the people that had the same color item they did.  Then I pointed each group to an area in the room.  Each person was asked to get a partner in the group and once that had been completed they were to get in a circle, with one partner facing the inside of the circle and the other with their back to the center of the circle (Note 1).  At this point we shared the directions with them:

         They had only 2 minutes with their partner

         They may not have time to meet everyone in the group, that is ok

         During the 2 minutes they were with the other attendee each person needs to answer 2 questions.

1. What one thing would they really want to learn at this SQL Saturday

2. What is their biggest accomplishment with SQL Server (Note 2)

         I had a stop watch and  every 2 minutes I would signal to everyone that it was time to change partners by the outside group rotating to the left.

We continued up until the time that we needed to break to get started for the sessions.  I was really surprised on how many people liked doing it.  To be honest, I don’t think we heard a complaint.  During the day we started a Tweet Board.  The idea here was to get contact info for people that you may have not had a chance to meet or exchange information with during the day.  People could come up and write their twitter handle on the board.

So a Couple of notes:

Note 1:  This can very easily get out of control real quick.  Asking people to get into 2 circles facing each other can just be complex and awkward to communicate.  About 5 min. before we started this all occurred to me, so I made sure that each circle has as many volunteers in it that I could get in there.  The idea was that they could help getting people in the circle, and with them in the circle they can help promote getting people to talk and not just stand around looking at each other’s shoes.  I was really surprised that we really didn’t have any wall flowers.  A great source for volunteers with this is the speakers.  The idea with the speakers here is that the speakers get to hear what the attendees want to learn about, and they get to promo their session.  Another neat part to the speakers being there in the circle is that there are some people that are too shy to ask the speakers direct questions.  This breaks the ice.

Note 2: The idea of the biggest accomplishment question is to talk about what you are most proud of with what you have done, or what was the most complex thing.  We wanted people to be able to say something along the lines of…  I was able to replicate data from Japan to the US.  This way if someone wanted to learn about replication, there are many people that know the person that considers that an accomplishment of theirs. 

If you have any questions on how to apply this at your event I would be more than happy to answer those.


Most of this information is for users who came to SQL Sat #66, but I would really like to have a list of twitter accounts grouped by what they work on with SQL Server. If you would like to be on this list please send me an email. Chris @ SQLSHAW.COM (Remove spaces). Think of this as a yellow book for SQL Server Twiter users.

During our SQL Saturday we had a white board where we posted all the twitter handles for everyone that attended the event. I would like to get all these names listed out so everyone may have starting point when they are trying to find someone. Here is what I ask of you… if you name is on this board over the next week please let me know what group you would like to in. For example I am SQLShaw and I prefer to be in a group with DB Admins or DB Architects. Look at the bottom of this post for the graph. I will be creating a perm page here or on the User Group side for this info. As a side note, the pictures look great I am going to upload many of them, give me a couple days. Here are the people I am really hoping to hear from.

@SQLShaw = me

@MrAndrewDykstra = Andrew Dykstra

@SQLPrincess = Rebecca Mitchell

@Bill_Pearson = Bill Pearson

@Randy_Knight = Randy Knight

@TJNorman = Tom Norman

@BillinKC = Bill Fellows

@douglane4 = Doug Lane

@CFRandall = Chris Randall

@TEDMALONE= Ted Malone

@TJayBelt = TJayBelt

@extofer = Gabriel Villa

@coffegrl = Meredith Ryan Smith (Meredith correct me where I am wrong.)

@LynnPettis = Lynn Pettis

@greeleygeek = Kelly Martinez

@MTNDBA = Andre Dubois

@DrewA5280 = Drew (could not read the last night)

@KCdwyer = Catherine Dwyer

@DataRealized = Jeremy Lowell

@GlennAlanBerry = Glenn Berry

@Jason Horner = Jason Horner

I would like to put everyone in a category looking something like this. Your name could go into many places. The idea here is to keep the communication and the networking that we started at the event to keeping our connections together. Please send me an email at Chris @ (remove the spaces.) I would love to have a really great list on who we know we can ask questions to.

DB Admin DB Developer BI Developer DB Architect BI Architect
@SQLShaw @douglane4 @Bill_Pearson @SQLShaw @Bill_Pearson
@GarethSwan @greeleygeek @CFRandall @way0utwest @CFRandall
@johndanley @johndanley @DataRealized @DataRealized
@tsqlprincess @tsqlprincess
@DataRealized @DataRealized

The Colorado Springs SQL Server User Group is going to meet Wed. night, and I think it’s going to be a great session. This meeting we are going to have 5 speakers giving 5 different sessions. Each of these sessions are considered lighting sessions so there should be text on the slides and it should be a quick hit for each subject. I will be speaking on the Growing Pains that I see in a database when I go into shops that are currently seeing a growth spurt. So come on down, have some fun with the group. You can find more information here

What is WIT

Posted: March 8, 2011 in SQLServerPedia Syndication

What is WIT? Ok that was my question for a number of years, but a few years back I had the privilege to talk to someone who shared with me a little bit about the group. I learned that WIT stands for Women in Technology, and with today being National Women’s Day I think it’s a great day to talk about it. WIT is a group of people that get together to talk about issues that women face day to day in the technology field, not just March 8th. At the PASS Summit they have a lunch where at one point in time I thought would be for women only… I was wrong. I can’t recall who said it to me, but whoever it was mentioned that the group is there to help not only the women today, but people like our daughters and sisters, because of this men are welcome to make technology better for everyone. WIT has had a presence as SQL Saturdays where they hosted at table at SQL Saturday #66 where people can sit and talk about WIT issues or anything else they choose.

I am proud to say that when I go to a conference the number of women in percentage to the number of men has increased. I hope this trend continues, there are a number of very strong and very intelligent women working with SQL Server, and helping others learn about SQL Server. So today I am proud to say that I support Women in Technology.

For women in technology, please know there are so many of you that not only myself but others look up to. Keep doing what you do because you teach us the community, and support us in the community in so many ways that you may not realize. Thank You, for your time, and your dedication.

What A Week

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Events, SQLServerPedia Syndication

I am working on a couple blog posts that I want to post in the next couple weeks. One of them is a list of what I think PASS should be. I mention this because I think it is just as important to each of the SQL Server Professionals that read this to make a decision and ask for what you actually want. So many people can and do complain or talk about how PASS does this or PASS doesn’t do that. I think that as a true community we owe it not only to ourselves but the rest of the community to make a statement about what we want. If you could talk to the PASS Board and make a request on what you think PASS should be, then I think you need to make it a point. Either post a blog, or send me an email, you can even leave a comment here and I will post my list and add any comments or emails that I get.

So where am I this week, why didn’t I put up something last week, and what’s going on?

MVP Summit

This week I was able to attend my first MVP Summit. If you follow people on twitter I am sure you have seen the #MVP11 hash tag. Chances are you are wondering what the heck is going on with all this NDA business that you are seeing. Here is the scoop: As a MVP one of the benefits I receive is the ability to sit in sessions where information is discussed that, well, I just can’t talk about it. There are cases when MVP’s have even said things on accident and they have lost the MVP Award.

So is this why I came to the Summit. Yeah I have received a ton of great information, but I have also met a number of really cool people, people outside SQL Server that are MVP’s in the software that they work with. The networking has been incredible. I have also been able to have discussions with other MVP’s about issues I have seen over the last few weeks. It’s great to have a second opinion on these.


I am back speaking at the SSWUG Virtual conference. This year the name has been changed and there has been a slight bit of a change when it comes to how I am involved. In this conference I am hosting a track that is going to focus on DBA 100 level sessions. These sessions contain information that new DBAs need when they start. This information includes technical skills and personal development skills. I will join Tom Roush and Wendy Pastrick for a couple sessions. I am really excited about this content and to be back involved with the event. If you want to get a discount off the normal price I am told you can use my special VIP code (SP11DBTechCS) and you will receive $30.00 off the total price. Make sure that when you use the code that you update the total price or you may not get the discount. I hope to see you there.

Deep Dives Book

The Deep Dives book is going to have a sequel. I missed being in the first book by just a week or two, however I am in the second version. I am really, really excited to be part of a book that has so many of the people that I look up to as authors. I will be working on the architecture section writing about the Growth Pains we feel when we see a database start to grow.

Rocky Mountain Trifecta

As of Monday, the event has sold out.  We are very excited about the tremendous response we have received.  For those that have not registered yet, there is a waitlist they can join by visiting