While it may seem like an odd question, I actually do get asked this quite often. I mean, while we do work with some sponsors occasionally, the fact is that we’re so focused on the sessions. Not in an obnoxious “aren’t we grand for doing this” way, but in a community way.
I really think that information, tips, things we learn along the way, including things to avoid, are critical to this industry. I see so many people that force their way through learning things that have been conquered by others, or that could benefit from the learnings of others. Sure, there are some great resources online, from SSWUG.org to other sites to twitter and discussion-type sites.
I’ve always felt like it would be cool though to have events that literally anyone could attend and that we could offer that didn’t require overhead and expenses that could prevent them from being able to be there. That’s the real push behind the events. It’s sort of a “learning event for the rest of us.” It can be extremely expensive to go to an event, from travel to food to possibly paying for the event itself, depending on what you’re attending. We really look to alleviate some of that and at the same time, we get to be a little looser on topics; after all, it’s all online, so we can be focused, but relaxed on topic selection. We’ll just add another session on a great sounding topic!
It’s great to see the things people pull together for sessions. I almost always take their favorite submissions because I know they’ll be passionate about that. There’s a huge difference between someone presenting just because they thought it was a topic to cover, and someone presenting because they love and have slayed the topic they chose. Those are great. I’ve seen so many presenters where you want them to slow down a bit because they’re so excited about the next bit they get to talk about – but then, I’d rather let them go on – I can always catch it on-demand.
I’m not telling you all of this because I want to promote the event (although, http://www.sswugvc.com, just sayin’…) but rather as a bit of an answer to the question we get asked, and more than that, a thank you to the speakers that continue to work with us, that bring you unique ideas and viewpoints and love talking about their passions.
It used to be that you’d be doing a strictly functional session (I can’t tell you how many sessions I’ve done on managing and completing your backup processes) but now it’s as likely to include interesting tweaks to solve a problem, or even theoretical in the application of some new technology. Have you tried connecting the Azure Chat Bot service to SQL Server to pull information from accounts and integrate it into an FAQ bot? No? Me neither, but it sounds cool.
I hope you enjoy the events – we’ve kept them free and we have some really great plans going forward, some new and experienced speakers that will be presenting this time (it’s October 24, 25) and I think you’ll have a great time if you’re able to attend. If you are, please remember to send me a quick email, or comment below on this post, to let me know what you’d like to see going forward, what was fun, what could be improved. We are constantly shifting, changing and tweaking – I’d love to have your feedback.