SQL Saturday Fargo, Don’ cha know

I have been to three SQL Saturdays in April and each one was great, but because I have been so busy I haven’t had much time to reflect on things. I’m not sure May is going to any less busy, but I wanted to get some thoughts down about SQL Saturday #175, because it is sure to be legendary. It was the first SQL Saturday in North Dakota and hopefully the spark for the a user group in Fargo. To accommodate the need for a quick post and the desire to document this experience I am going to resort to the time tested internet format – the top 10 list.

Top 10 Things That Were Awesome About SQL Saturday Fargo

  • The weather was glorious. We have had the Never Ending Winter this year and to have the sun finally make an appearance was wonderful.
  • The Microsoft Executive Briefing Center. Microsoft loaned us the use of their state-of-the-art conference rooms and made us all feel like executives.
  • And speaking of executives, Mr. Bill Gates (B|T)  himself was in the same building that day doing a meet and greet with his Fargo employees. It ended up being right outside the doors of our seminars and we were allowed to listen in and watch as he answered questions from the audience. I think there is a part in all geeks that loves the story of a guy writing a computer program and then going on to be one of the most successful people in the world. In short it was a very cool to “meet” Bill Gates.
  • Elephants, Giraffes, and Okapis – Oh My. I sat in on Jes Borland’s (B|T) session on Index Options You’re Not Using and learned some new things about indexes. Even better I learned how to handle a crashing demo with aplomb and grace.
  • I heard you like Excel so I put some Excel in your Excel and now you can excel at BI. I got to learn all about Building BI Solutions with Excel in 2013 from Steve Hughes (B|T). Steve posits the slightly controversial idea that your entire BI solution can be completed in Excel 2013. He does this using PowerPivot, PowerView and other new features (even the new GeoFlow) of every end users favorite place to store data. It was pretty compelling and made me want to play with these tools some more – in Excel of course.
  • I got to give away a prize at the end of the day. The company I work for, Digineer, was one of the sponsors for SQL Saturday Fargo which was a first for me.
  • Attending a presentation on Encryption by Steve Jones (B|T) of SQLServerCentral fame. It was an excellent no-nonsense session. I came back on Monday and double checked that I had all of my keys backed up.
  • I got some great in person and twitter feedback from people who attended my session on the SSIS Catalog.
  • #SQLRun. Saturday morning I went on  a 3 mile run with Jes, Steve and Jason Horner (B|T). I’ve been on a bit of a running hiatus and it was great to get out and run again. Did I mention the weather was glorious?
  • And last, but certainly not least, going out afterwards with the #sqlfamily and having some serious fun at the karaoke bar. I am not usually one to jump up on stage and sing, but when Jes asked if anyone wanted to go up and sing White and Nerdy I couldn’t pass it up. We managed to convince Aaron King (B|T) to sing with us and the three of us gave a rendition of White and Nerdy that Fargo will not soon forget – no matter how hard they try.

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