I’ve heard some talk from SQL Saturday organizers that they only want advanced sessions at their SQL Saturday, for some reason or another.
This probably isn’t what your attendees want. Sure, some of them do. But a lot of people who attend these sorts of sessions want more introduction sessions. Have you polled you attendees on what they are looking for in the sessions at your event?
How do I know this? I’ve given many intro level sessions at SQL Saturdays to a full rooms. I am a fairly well known speaker, so one could assume that people are coming to see me present. However, the very first time that I gave my session entitled “I’ve got a SQL Database, Now What?” was because I was filling in for another speaker who had a family emergency, my name was not on the session, and there was still a packed room.
At TechEd I’ve given the same session multiple times, and a good example was this year in Houston when I had over 800 people in my session room.
This shows that many attendees are looking for these types of sessions—SQL Saturday attendees, just like Code Camp and PASS Summit attendees have a wide mix of skill sets and job roles. Not everyone at a SQL Saturday is looking for information on spin locks, index internals, Hekaton internals, wait stats deep dives, etc. They are looking for sessions on how to do backups, how to index tables, the kinds of things that they can take back to the office on Monday, and use to fix problems. Some are Accidental DBAs, some are Production DBAs who know their job responsibilities are always expanding. Some are Production DBAs who’ve recently switched jobs and now have to use SQL Server in ways they didn’t have to do before. Some are famous database celebrities who want to learn more about parts of the expanding surface area of SQL Server features.
So if you are a SQL Saturday organizer or run other SQL Server conference (or really any conference), remember that not all your attendees are looking for the same 400/500 level sessions that you are looking for. Some are, while others are looking for 300 level sessions and many are looking for 100/200 level sessions. There’s nothing wrong with helping all those attendees. As the organizer of the event your job is to ensure that all your attendees are getting what they need from your event. It isn’t your job to have the first all-400-level session SQL Saturday, because odds are that isn’t what your local community needs. Even if you think it does.
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