Last month I had the pleasure of attending my first SQLSaturday event outside of Minnesota, I went to Madison, Wisconsin. Not only did I get to attend and present at the main SQLSaturday event, I was also fortunate to be able to put on an all-day pre-conference event the Friday before – Self-Service BI to the Max.
So Thursday afternoon I headed out on my four hour road trip into the neighboring state to visit Madison (for my first time).
It started out raining (only one accident being reported by TomTom) and eventually turned to snow as I got into Wisconsin. The roads were not too bad, but the two lane 94 driving in was a tad fun with all of the semi drivers;) The drive was a tad long and driving solo makes it a bit boring. I tried to check out a few of the water parks along the road and eventually made it into Madison and found the hotel, which was right next to the pre-conference event (walking distance).
I did some final preparation for the pre-con and drove around town a bit (roads are crazy, need a GPS for sure) and got confused with the medians that divided the left turn lanes in the streets (found that a odd and confusing). The next day was the all-day pre-con and I got spiffed up in the brand new Power BI shirt:)
The event went great, the location was nice and the 25 people in the room were great. We went over the Power BI content (my pre-con was Self-Service BI to the Max), went over some demos, answered questions, and did some hands-on labs. A fairly long day, but it was a great time meeting a new crowd and talking about Microsoft BI! (photo taken by Jes Borland – @grrl_geek)
After the long day I headed over to the main SQLSaturday event location to check it out as well as stuff a few event bags (350!). I also met a bunch of new people as well as SQL family that I knew by name, just have never met in-person. One of the new people I met was Pat Wright (@SQLAsylum, a.k.a. PASS photographer) who took a bunch of awesome photos and a few down below that I am including and linking back to with his permission, thanks!
Once we were done with the bags is was off to find something a cool to drink (thanks to Ted Krueger, @onpnt, he tracked down a Mt. Dew to tide me over for a bit). We headed over to Erin’s Snug Irish Pub for a little ale.
Then it was over to the speaker’s dinner, non-stop action.
That was about all I could do on Friday, I was wiped out. Time to get some shut eye and get ready for Saturday. On Saturday morning I headed out with Dustin Mueller (@sqlcheesecake), Mike Donnelly (@sqlmd), and Tracy McKibben (@RealSQLGuy) for a little SQL run (just 4 miles). It was a tad chilly on the first lap (remember, this was in March), but things were fine on the second one. Unfortunately Jes Borland (@grrl_geek) was unable to join us because she was still recovering from an injury (she was with us in spirit and talk though).
Once I got back to the room after the run I got cleaned up and got a text from Ted inquiring if I could give a second BI presentation because they had a cancellation. There were only a handful of BI sessions for the event, so they wanted to have another BI one to fill in. I agreed and arranged another slide deck and demos for the second presentation (good thing I did an all-day pre-con the day before).
For the SQLSaturday event I did two presentations, fie the first one the room was a tad warm and it was standing room only, jam packed (awesome)! I spoke on Delivering Self-Service BI with Power (new Excel 2013 features, Power Pivot, and Power View). Then for my second presentation after lunch I spoke on “Getting Down with Power Query and Power Map”.
I was very pleased and glad to receive all of the evaluations and feedback. On a scale of 1 to 5 I received good scores and the feedback was very helpful, lots of content to cover.
All-in-all I had a wonderful time, enjoyed my first out-of-state SQLSaturday event, looking forward to a few more. I want to thank Ted and Jes for reaching out to me and Gina Meronek (@equerystrian) and the gang for putting on an awesome event, very well organized and an extremely helpful group over in WI. Thanks for having me out and looking forward to returning next year:)
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