There’s still an event in Seattle in a few weeks. As I’ve been traveling around the country, literally around through New York, Austin, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston, I’ve met a lot of people and shaken a lot of hands. There have been lots of questions as well as, I hope, lots of good answers.
It’s been hard, and I’m tired, but I’ve enjoyed it. I hope we do it again next year, though I’m sure we’ll make a few changes.
It’s been a fun event. We’ve had an opening keynote at every event that starts with the “deployment game” where we have balloons representing application changes (white) and database changes (red). They are inflated, but not tied and it’s up to the people to pass them from the front (development) to the rear (production).
We’re simulating the issues involved with multiple steps of passing things from person to person. One of the chiefs at Red Gate had the idea that we’d do this with eyes closed to simulate “nothing in source control”. This ties in with our thought that it makes sense to keep everything, including the database schema in source control and we offer a few products to do this, including one that uses Visual Studio.
It’s been a challenge at times with some strange rooms, some small
and some large
People have been slow to get going in a few venues, but with a little encouragement, and once a few balloons lose air, there are some cheers and it’s fun.
They keynote is interesting, talking a little about our products, but it’s mostly a look at the things we’ve learned in building software, primarily about deployment and performance. I particularly like that we’re (Red Gate) supporting the Glimpse open source project, which looks really cool. If I were a web developer, I’d use this.
I was tasked with two talks at the events: Database Maintenance Essentials and Prepare for Disaster. I’ve posted a few notes, and I’ll do more once the tour is complete. These talks have been fairly well received, and I’d be happy to do them at other events once this is complete.
The schedule had me delivering talks each morning so that I could leave early if need be. I had to duck out of New York and Boston to catch my flights home, and my apologies to everyone. That schedule let me spend time talking with people and even watching a few talks at different places.
I had new shirts at each location. It was time for a Hawaiian wardrobe refresh, and I even gave away 3 shirts at each event. We’ll have 3 more in Seattle, so register and come (must be present to win) if you will be in the city on Nov 5.
The food was nice at each event. One of the nice things about running your own event is some level of control and we made sure there were plenty of snacks in between sessions, as well as breakfast and lunch. Lots of complements on the food, and plenty of it.
We notified people when sessions were starting with the Red Gate “hoot” from this horn. I got a little too excited with it a few times and it was taken away from me on more than one occasion. I thought it was a nice reminder that things were moving along, and I’d often hear it as I wandered around the venues.
The Red Gate staff was a mix of product managers, developers, marketing people, sales people, and more. With everyone in Red Shirts, it was easy to find someone to ask a question if you had it. We aren’t a pushy group, at least I didn’t think so from the conversations I overheard. Instead, we try to talk about what we do well, how we can help you, and if we can’t, we acknowledge that.
There were lots of guest speakers in addition to Grant, myself, and a few Red Gate employees. Buck Woody was there, with his every present cup of coffee.
Denny Cherry on the West Coast, hard at work on his way back home from events in Europe
And in Chicago, Brent Ozar played host the evening prior to the event with the reception in his Chicago apartment overlooking the Field Museum.
I don’t think he was upset by the group, and at least the folks from Cambridge were well behaved.
It was amazing to see so much equipment move from place to place. We had lots of signage, though they made us take it down in New York with the wind and rain outside.
It was easy to find the various product groups, some of which have a sense of humor.
Overall I think we managed to give some training and knowledge to a lot of people that otherwise don’t get the chance to attend larger conferences around the country. With our short happy hour receptions at the end, there was even a nice casual networking opportunity at the end of each day.
It was a long few weeks, and I ended up seeing too much of this, though my lines were never this short:
I rode too many of these:
But I did get to see, and do some neat things. I ran in Central Park and along the Red River in Austin. I went up and down some hills in San Francisco and ate dinner at Pier 39 and had a nice run and chat with Allen White in Chicago, looping around Grant Park. I even managed to swing by Fenway Park in Boston on my evening run.
I saw the Field Museum in Chicago, though only a small part of it. That’s a place I’d like to go back someday.
And I even managed to get home and take care of a few chores during one of my off days, which was good as it snowed in Denver last week.
We gave away lots of swag, including a number of the books that we’ve published over the years. We had lots of books, and people had their choice of which titles they wanted. We even left a number of various user group leaders in the cities, so there’s more swag coming.
A big thanks to Annabel Bradford, who organized the tour, kept everything moving along, and even motivated the group throughout the week.
If you enjoyed the events, please send us your feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know what you liked and what we can do better. If you want to have Red Gate some do some training in your city, let us know that as well.
We’ll be talking about our plans for events in 2013 soon and hopefully we’ll have another great set of ideas and events next year. We do believe in supporting, educating, and helping the community at Red Gate. We want to sell software, but we feel there’s more to our relationship with data professionals than just selling software.