Thursday, September 08, 2011

I don't know anyone, I don't sing karaoke, I don't drink. Can I still have fun at SQLPASS? addendum

I wrote this blog post the other day about SQL PASS and how to experience it and ensure that you experience it all. Break out of your shell and soak it all in.
But I forgot to mention a few things, and I hope to clear these up in this post.

A few of my favorite things that always happen at the Summit are
SQL Server Central opening party
Welcome Reception & Quiz Bowl
Exhibitor Reception
Women in Technology Luncheon
Friends of RedGate Dinner
Keep in mind that these events are on different dates and times. And they often come with food. And people. People that you should be networking with. In a situation that allows you to network and get to know each other, ifn you'll simply open your mouth and talk to the other humans.

The SQL Server Central party is one of my favorites. Its always a relaxing event, with easy social interactions. Steve Jones and Red Gate put on a great party that allow us humans to interact easily with games, giveaways and fun. I would suggest you find your way to this event and join in. Its a hoot. Maybe you'll loose at whatever gambling game you participate in. Maybe you'll win a prize as Steve randomly circles the event giving out tons of swag. Maybe you'll make a fool of yourself and have the entire table yelling and screeching as you attempt to reach 21 and explode when you actually reach 21. In any event. you get my drift. You should attend, meet some great folks, play some games, and you might even get a descent shirt out of it.

The Welcome Reception and Quiz Bowl are a huge opening event, prior to the SQL Server Central party. It has food. It often has music. I've seen video games in the middle of the room. It may even have food. You wont really need to buy dinner. And all of a sudden there will be a few folks up on stage answering questions and amazing you with their knowledge and humor. The Quiz Bowl is always an entertaining event to participate in. You could even win a book or other swag as the quiz is going on by merely being close enough to the stage to join in.

On Wednesday night, after all the sessions of the day, you'll find yourself wondering into the Exhibitor Reception, which is located in the Exhibitor Hall. Besides all the people you can network with and wave at and join in with conversations, there's food. Again, dinner doesnt need to be purchased as there will be descent food here to keep your motor running. Take an opportunity to wonder around and visit with the vendors. Get some swag. Get some food. But don't forget to talk to the humans. They are all around. They have knowledge that can assist you in your day to day work. Or maybe you can help them. Maybe you need to make a list of things to talk about and refer to it, to assist you. But open your mouth. Talk to the others. Remember we are all there for the same purpose. To learn. To Share. To Network.

As a father with female offspring that I often do not understand, I find that attending the Women in Technology Luncheon is an eye opening event. Learning from the expert panel is always enlightening. I tend to sit there and think about my girls and how I can share this information with them. Help them enter the workforce ready and armed with what they may need to make it easier on them. This event, though it contains the value 'Women' is not solely intended for the women of the Summit. Its for us all. It helps us all. Oh, did I mention that there is food? Yeah, there is. Lunch. Good lunch. As you attend this event, put your head on straight and participate. Soak in the atmosphere and the topic.

Another event that I love to attend is the Friends of RedGate Dinner. This is such an honor to be a member of this fine club. Being able to rub shoulders in a social environment with the employees of this company is always engaging and fun. There is food, but that's actually not the top priority. Being able to interact with this crew of folks by far outweighs the food. This allows mere humans like me to be in the presence of many fine folks that have influence in the community as a whole. Open up your ears and you can learn tons from these folks. By volunteering in the community, gaining a position of influence and being able to share with folks is what allows you to become a member of this group of 'Friends'. Sidle up to these folks and learn. Learn all you can.

So, as you can tell, there are a lot of scheduled events that occur. Check out the schedule yourself. Try to hit as many of these events as possible. Especially these on my list of favorites. Maybe some of these can become your favorites.

Other things that you can do that I have loved to do.

Photo Walk
Breakfast at Lowells
Grabbing fresh fruit and other snacks at Pike Place
Wandering the streets towards Pike Place
Visiting a French Bakery with your new southern brother

Make yourself some goals. Write up some talking points and use them in a pinch to open discussions with other people. I guarantee that if you will make an effort and talk to the humans, you will find several fine folks that will become fast friends and cohorts in this journey we are all on to better ourselves thru professional development and education. You'll learn or share what you have learned. You'll make friends. You'll experience the best of SQLPASS.

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