SQLPam's Blog

March 22, 2012

A renewed experience

Filed under: Community — sqlpam @ 6:31 am

Last night I did something I have not done in a long while – I visited a SQL User Group other than one of my local groups. You tend to forget how different we are until you step outside your box. Last night I drove the hour and a half from my place over to MagicPASS in Orlando. This is a SQL group run by Kendal Van Dyke (Blog | Twitter). I was a little surprised when I saw in the announcement that the meeting start at 5:00 pm with a video presentation. Driving over – I thought about it. Having a time when people can feel comfortable just dropping by – without feeling they were dissing a speaker – might get that bit of the group that I lose because they have an hour to kill between work and group. Arriving – I found that it was also a great opportunity to network / reconnect with those members as well.

Kendal amazes me with his depth of knowledge and more – his ability to always seem to remember names with faces. This is a major failing of mine. In his group, I saw he helped this out by having everyone wear a name tag – another note to consider for future meetings. As time came for the main presentation – Kendal started with the announcements. This was the time when everyone should be there – right? The announcements were lengthy – but full of very useful – relevant information. He started with the supplied PASS slide deck and worked from there. Additional information included new information on certification – along with the announcement of forming study groups. All great info. Somewhere in all of this the food arrived – nice and hot – delivered by his wife and children. By this time in my group – the speaker was half way thru the presentation if not really warmed up. We took time to eat and network – that critical piece – network. When everyone had their fill – I was asked if I was ready. Oh no – the panic set in. But these were friendly people – it won’t be an issue.

I got a wonderful intro by Kendal and explained that this was the debut of this presentation. I got a little more than half way thru my material and Kendal informed me that it was 8:45 pm. I almost freaked – how did the presentation get so long? I know there were lots of questions – which is good – but really – almost 9:00 pm? I had been in this room for almost 4 hours at this point – but it was a full 4 hours.  Lots of information exchanged and not all of it from me.  I wound down. We finished with raffles and distribution of shirts and lapel pins left over from my SQL Saturday. We rearranged the room and headed out to the local watering hole for even more networking.

I am not sure what of this I will incorporate back home – but I know my comfortable view of the home meeting has changed. It was great to meet some wonderful new people. I even joined a certification study group to assist me with one of my goals for the year. They will be held via live meeting – so the distance is not an issue it would be otherwise. I came away much richer than I arrived.

Thank you Kendal!

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