T-SQL Tuesday 153: The Conference That Changed Everything For Me

This month, Kevin Kline (T | B) invites us to write about the conference that changed everything for me. I’m going to cheat a little bit and mention a number of conferences because together they shaped my working persona and my person as well.

SQL Saturday, Utrecht

This is the first conference, hosted by André Kamman (T | B) and his team, I ever went to and it opened my eyes. I found out there is a community, there are people investing free time to share knowledge and generally speaking there are a lot of very nice people around. This first very positive experience set me off to a journey to more.

Data grillen, Lingen

I picked up the news somewhere that there was a conference in Germany, not too far from where I live. Rumour had it that it was an excellent place to learn, connect and have a nice barbecue. So I tried it out, registered and drove a little over an hour to the conference site and landed in an extremely welcoming environment. The main motto is “be excellent”, and hosts Ben (T) and William (T) take that very literally. They are. As an attendee, all you have to do is be excellent to everyone else. If you’re not, you might find yourself on the street and not allowed back in.

As a speaker, you really have to be excellent as well, the sessions are all at a very high level. But the main reason I’m mentioning this conference is their corona spin-off called New stars of data. I’m in debt to this conference because they let me start on my speaking journey.

SQL Bits, London

The final conference I’d like to mention is the big european one, SQL bits. Hosted by an excellent team with a lot of experience it’s an experience in itself. This year they had a new concept called bits buddies. As a hermit it’s always been a bit of a struggle for me to connect to new people. Enter my buddie Angela Henry. She went out of her way to introduce me to new people and let me expand my network at an incredible pace. She gave me a lot of confidence in walking up to people and getting to know them. This concept has really helped me in meeting new people and starting a conversation with them.

The Conference

Kevin asked for the conference that changed everything. For me it’s a stack of three. With SQL Saturday I got connected to the community, with Data Grillen / New Stars of Data I made large steps and SQL Bits upgraded my core code to connect to humans directly.

All in all, there’s no substitute for conferences. Attend them, and you will hopefully experience (personal) growth.

A final word though, there are still people who seem to have fun harassing other people. If you can’t behave like a normal human being, stay home and out of conferences. There’s no place for you there. There are a lot of blogs out there explaining the impact bad behavior can have. If you want to learn, read them. Jen Stirrup, Tracy Boggiano and Cathrine Wilhelmsen have all written blogs on their experiences with, let’s call it bad, behavior. If you want to improve, read them and google for more.

Thanks for reading!

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