Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SQL Saturday #67 Chicago - Take a Bow

Closing the books on our 2nd annual SQL Saturday in Chicago, it's evident this one was a resounding success!

There are so many great posts out there already, let's take a different look here...

Sponsors - THANK YOU! Without your support these events just couldn't happen in a city such as ours. At the very least they wouldn't be the great events they have grown into and we certainly wouldn't be able to accomodate up to 400 attendees! Please check out our Sponsor Page and try a free trial of some of the products offered (some ARE actually free!)

Speakers - THANK YOU! Without the incredible knowledge you share and the sacrifice of your time, the community would not be as strong as it is. The selfless act of donating not only your time but your knowledge as well makes the SQL community a force to be reckoned with.

Volunteers - THANK YOU! As much planning as the staff can manage ahead of time, it's those extra hands that make it all come together at the end, and the day-of the event. Without your sacrifice of time - which you could have spent attending a session - you manned a table, checked people in, handed out t-shirts, helped people find rooms, etc etc etc. Our gratitude goes out to you a hundred-fold.

Venue - THANK YOU! A huge thanks to DeVry in Addison, IL. Your facility made our event first class education for our attendees. Having a technical facility for these kind of events really steps it up in a BIG way. We are very much looking forward to working with you again next year.

Staff - I've already thanked the great staff assembled this year HERE and apparently did such a great job of making sure they were recognized, that people keep forgetting I was on the staff too! Having a larger number of people involved definitely made it easier. The whole 'divide and conquer' attitude worked very well and allowed people to delegate. Is there still room for improvement? Definitely! We already have more ideas for next year, so stay tuned.

Okay, so when I originally wrote this, I had another particular group in mind to give a big THANK YOU to, and I can't believe I forgot!

To the Spouses and Familes of everyone involved - THANK YOU! The time and dedication of so many people is invaluable and without your support it just wouldn't be possible. Everyone has a busy life at home and obligations to meet. Your contribution hasn't gone unnoticed and is very much appreciated!

Things that defintely worked better:
  • Speed Pass for check-in
  • Nice bins for collecting Raffle Tickets
  • Much nicer event t-shirts
  • Chapter table
  • End of the day Raffle Drawing

Things that still need a little work:

  • Event Evaluations
  • Speaker Evaluations / prize giveaways
  • Chapter table

The biggest red mark for us was the evaluation process. I tried to model the prize giveaways after the Kansas City SQL Saturday method, but it fell flat. I believe moving the Chapters table (where the prizes were waiting for the winners) to a more central location would have helped that out significantly. Also, communicating to the speakers about how to handle the evals at the close of their sessions - I spoke to many of them, but it would have been nicer to have something at each podium as reminder. Alternatively, we could have had designated room monitors for each session. That's a lot of people, but something to consider for next time.

Overall, the event was amazing! We had top-notch everything from Sponsors to Speakers to Attendees. My biggest surprise was how excited our out-of-town guests were to get Dunkin Donuts - I had no idea they didn't have those at home! I like to give the event a home town feel, as if we were inviting people into our home, I hope we were successful in that and we look forward to seeing you again.

C'mon Back Next Time, y'all!

Some blog posts already out there:
Grant Fritchey
Aaron Lowe
John Pertell
Nic Cain
Jason Strate
Jes Schultz Borland
Bob Pusateri
Gill Rowley
Christina Leo
Mark Vaillancourt
Doug Lane
Kim Tessereau
Hope Foley

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