Quick Blog: US Map of SQL Saturdays

Just a quick post here.

Yesterday there was a discussion around the notion of SQL Saturdays hitting a saturation point.  Statements like that remind me of the guy who was the head of the patent office and said that there was nothing left to patent.  I say that because I think that if we are in fact being successful with these events, as we expand the capabilities of DBAs DBDs and BIDs around the country, we will also expand what they want to learn next.  Not to mention the value proposition that these people bring to the table at their jobs.  Who knows, maybe I’m wrong and we’ll look back at this post 4 years from now and say “wow Aaron, that was a dumb prediction wasn’t it”. 

In any event Andy Warren ( blog | twitter ) thought before we got too far into this discussion we should have a look at a map so that we’re all working from the same frame of reference.  I’m currently working on some mapping stuff that you’ll find out more about later this week so I volunteered to whip up this map.  It’s basic and shows all SQL Saturdays past and currently scheduled on the home page.  If you click on the map it will take you to a larger version of it. 

image

There looks to be a lot of open space there in the middle, plus I hear they do SQL in Canada (or at least organize events around it).

I think a city the size of Atlanta could easily handle 2 SQL Saturdays per year depending on size; and the greater L.A. area could probably handle 4 per year so long as they move it around.  What do you guys and gals think?

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17 Responses

  1. I now understand how all of these SQL people can keep going to SQL Saturday events – they’re all over the Eastern states. Our nearest SQL Saturday outside of DFW is New Orleans – that’s an 8-10 hour drive. I know some of them are still up there in distance, but there are definitely more from which to choose.

    Hoping we get more in the middle states in the future. That would be pretty cool. Regardless, I’m glad to see people sharing their knowledge with those who couldn’t make the big PASS conference for whatever reason. I know I’m looking forward to our local SQL Saturday event coming to DFW soon.

  2. SQL Saturday will continue to be a successful venture as long as there are dedicated people to keep planning them. If you choose to host one, make sure you:
    1. Know your demographic. ex: I know people in Chicago won’t give up a nice day on a Saturday. Nice weather times are right out!
    2. Keep it fresh and creative! As Andy said, we had a 300+ event, but that means our model had to be different from a smaller SQL Saturday

    If anyone from the general Midwest area wants help putting one together, look me up!

  3. Wendy, I think you’re right, as we grow the number of events it’s going to strain the sponsors, both in terms of providing staff at the event and in providing cash contributions. I think we just have to work harder/smarter as event leaders to make sure sponsors get good value from us. Sponsors may also start to use speakers to supplement their staff at the events. Looking at the growth is one reason I’ve been a supporter of lunch fees.

    I’d also like to mention that not every SQLSat has to be 400 attendees. Nothing wrong with a 2 track event that has 50 people, and that opens up an interesting range of options!

  4. I agree with others at noticing the big empty space in the breadbasket of the country. I know a lot of folks tend to think of the central part of the US as one big giant corn field, but looking at that map, there are a couple large cities that stand out to me as not having a pin anywhere near them.

    I’d bet anything places like Denver, St. Louis, the Twin-cities, & maybe even Salt Lake City have enough SQL professionals to fill up a local SQL Saturday.

    Like others have pointed out, it takes individuals dedicated enough to deal with all the hassles involved with putting such an event on. Location…speakers…sponsors…logistics…etc. Quite a handful even for seasoned professionals.

  5. I attended my first SQLSaturday in Atlanta last weekend and loved it! I’ve been looking to see if there is another one within a short drive (2-3 hours) and I’m not seeing one for quite awhile. I wish there were 2 in Atlanta.

  6. Cool map!

    However, also kind of embarrassing.

    It’s hard to believe that the Silicon Valley area (San Francisco/San Jose) has not had a SQL Saturday. I’ll have to see what I can do about that… and I might take you up on your offer of doing a LiveMeeting presentation.

    I wanted to go to the L.A. SQL Saturday last weekend, but it was my (23rd) wedding anniversary, so not much choice there. 8^) But I know a person or two who drove down there, and I told them to take notes.

    –Brad

  7. As long as there are local people willing to do it then it should never be a question of Saturation. I learned long ago that if you have passionate people locally willing to put things on then they are going to do the events whether your there to assist or not. 🙂

    Personally we are looking to do a SQL Saturday in the Fall. Keep in mind where you see the empty space in the midwest this doesn’t mean there are not events just not ones only dedicated to SQL Server. As a person that’s put on several Code Camp’s we have quite a few events in the midwest that have lots of great content for SQL Server. This also means that I want more dedicated to SQL though so that’s why I’m planning on putting one on. 🙂

  8. I would be the ‘saturation’ sayer, but I feel taken out of context. My worry is not so much the platform, but the ability to maintain sponsorships and interest. For the latter, as long as scheduling (timing) and distance are accounted for, I believe that can be overcome. But when you start looking at a regional area and seeing more events pop up within a 2-4 hour drive of each other, it makes me wonder. If SQL Saturday doesn’t stay ‘special’ then vendors might not be as keen to support them and attendance drops, too.
    For the nay-sayers, I’ll just say that I’ve seen it happen in other communitites, BUT, those events are not free.
    I very much want SQL Saturday to prosper and continue! I just want to move forward with knowledge and empower us all to make them stronger.

    1. Sorry Wendy, I didn’t mean to take you out of context. I don’t think you were the only one though. You definitely bring up a great point. ‘If SQL Saturday doesn’t stay special’ it will be hard for it to contiue at this rocket pace. I’m ready to do my part to keep it special 🙂

  9. Great article. Like the map view of the events. Kind of lacking in the middle of the country.

    Saturation point? It’s like saying, there is nothing else to learn about SQL Server. Heck, I would love SQL Saturday once a month. Great content.

    Looking forward to SQLSat43 in Redmond, WA (June 12th)

  10. Very nice. I especially like that significant trail from Charlotte through Columbia to Atlanta. …maybe it’s the “SQLSaturday Superhighway?” 🙂

  11. I think we should keep doing what we’re doing, plus maybe encourage the growth of user groups in the breadbasket. We could do a buddy system; a few organizers from, say, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Phoenix could help out remotely with SQL Saturdays in CO / KS / OK / NM, for example (assuming we could get 50-100 ppl to come to an event in each of those states). We could really fill in that map!

    It feels to us like there’s a saturation, because we hear all about all the SQL Saturdays all over. But go out and talk to a couple of DBAs outside the Twitter/PASS UG circle, and they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about when you say SQL Saturday!

    1. Jen,

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn’t have said it better myself (Literally!). I plan to do some helping out with smaller chapters real soon, working on lining up a date with the Columbus, GA chapter right now. Maybe even Knoxville after that. If there’s a UG in the midwest anywhere that would like me to present over LiveMeeting I’m happy to do it.

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