356labs – Presentation Design for Technical Presentations

Technical presentations vary from introductions for beginner audiences (where it is more about the why than the how), to deep dives for expert audiences (where it is all about the details). Some speakers prefer a more fast-paced and inspirational presentation style, while others spend more time on content and have a more informational presentation style.

A 5-minute lightning talk is completely different than a full-day workshop, but they have one thing in common: The content should be delivered in the best way possible so the audience leaves with new inspiration, new ideas and new knowledge.

Presentation design is not just about making things pretty. It is about making content understandable and communicating effectively. It is about creating a logical flow and a story that grabs the attention of the audience, keeps them engaged, and helps them remember the content when they leave.

Which of these two slides are you most likely to remember?

Presentation Design - Bad? Presentation Design - Good?

Presentation design is important. But let’s face it. It can also be really difficult and time-consuming!

I have a tiny designer living inside me and I love spending hours tweaking my slide decks, finding new fonts, searching for pictures and creating illustrations for my content. Presentation design is important to me, I enjoy the process, and I always try to improve and learn more.

But what if you don’t enjoy tweaking pixels as much as I do?

356labs is a presentation design agency that focus on creating high-quality slide decks, and also offers training on presentation design and presentation skills. They can help you make things pretty and understandable.

It was launched earlier this week by Boris Hristov (@BorisHristov), one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to presentation design for technical presentations. (Also check out his Presentation Design webinar and Introduction to Presentation Design course on Pluralsight.)

I’m a pixel-perfect control freak with OCD tendencies, but if there is one person I would trust to create a presentation for me – it’s Boris. I can’t wait to see the amazing presentations that 356labs will create in the future! Good luck :)

SQLSaturday Oslo 2015 Summary and Pictures

Thank you for making SQLSaturday Oslo 2015 a huge success!
After many months and countless hours of planning, it’s hard to believe that the second SQLSaturday in Oslo is over. It was a huge success thanks to all our organizers, speakers, volunteers, sponsors and attendees – thank you! I’m so proud of everything we accomplished, and I hope everyone had a great time :)

SQLSaturday #414 Oslo 2015 Pictures

Pictures from the event
A special thank you to Rodney and Erik who were our photographers during the event, and to Pål for sharing some of his great pictures!

An international event in Oslo
A total of 164 attendees out of 196 registered showed up during a sunny day in Oslo. Did you know that we had attendees from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Germany, Austria and England, as well as from all parts of Norway? On top of that, we had speakers coming in from Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Israel, The Netherlands, Belgium, England, Ireland, Portugal, USA and Norway. Crazymazing!

Pre-conference workshops
This year we decided to organize two pre-conference workshops (precons) on Friday before the main SQLSaturday event. David Peter Hansen (@DPHansen) presented Understanding SSIS Internals and Performance Tuning for 22 SSIS developers, and Margarita Naumova presented A Practical Approach for Troubleshooting Performance Problems for 21 DBAs. It was a great addition to the main event, and we plan to have two or three precons next year as well – and we plan to let you guys decide which ones :)

See you next year?
We hope you enjoyed SQLSaturday Oslo 2015 and that we’ll see you and your coworkers again next year! Follow us on twitter (@SQLSatOslo) and make sure you join SQL Server User Group Norway for more free training and networking while you’re waiting for SQLSaturday Oslo 2016 :)

Costumes for Charity at PASS Summit 2015

Argenis Without Borders at PASS Summit 2014If you attended PASS Summit 2014, you probably noticed the Rainbow Unicorn Hoodie, the Fluffy Rainbow Leggings, the Rainbow Wings and the I ♥ Unicorns ribbons. It was the result of Argenis Without Borders and the SQL Server community raising over $13000 (!) for Doctors Without Borders.

And they’re doing it again with Argenis Without Borders 2.0! Please help support a good cause and let’s have some fun while doing it :)

PASS Summit 2015 is close to Halloween, so this year it’s all about Costumey-Crazy Hat-Crazy Fun. #SQLFamily raised over $1000 and reached the first goal in just 1 hour (!) and we all look forward to seeing Argenis in a Ted costume :D

The next goal is $5000. A whole bunch of people from the SQL Server community, myself included, will dress up in costumes and/or hats during PASS Summit when we reach this goal. At $10000, one lucky donor will win a PS4 or Xbox One. (Hey, even if you don’t care about supporting a good cause, donate anyway for the chance to win a really cool prize!) And there are more fun things to look forward to if we do better than last year. Can I tempt you with some embarrassing dancing to beautiful trombone music?

This is such a fun and silly event that it can be easy to forget what it is all about. We can help save lives. Imagine what Doctors Without Borders could do if each of the 5000 PASS Summit attendees donated just $5? What if we decide to skip a drink during PASS Summit and raise the amount to $10? So little, yet so much.

Donate to Argenis Without Borders 2.0 today! :)

Speaking at SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg

SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg, SwedenThe very first SQLSaturday in Sweden, SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg 2015, will be held on September 5th. I’m very happy to announce that I will be speaking! I will be presenting an updated version of my Biml for Beginners session, and I will also be available the rest of the day if anyone wants to chat about Biml or learn more about the advanced features :)

I was planning to attend this event even if I wasn’t selected to speak since it is the first SQLSaturday in Sweden. It’s so great to see the Nordic PASS community grow, and I want to help and support my neighbors in any way I can. It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks for me doing the whole Scandinavian SQLSaturday tour: SQLSatOslo on August 29th, SQLSatGothenburg on September 5th, and SQLSatDenmark on September 19th. Yay!

Take a look at the great schedule, register, and I hope to see you in Gothenburg! :)

I’m a Microsoft SQL Server MVP

Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional)I spent most of July 1st relaxing in the sun, reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and enjoying my vacation. I spent the rest of July 1st reading, re-reading and re-re-reading the e-mail I received from Microsoft congratulating me with my first MVP Award.

On July 1st 2015, I became a Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in Norway.

Unfortunately my copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy did not have Don’t Panic written in large, friendly letters on the cover. So I panicked a little. I think I may have panicked more than just a little. Actually, I’m pretty sure I panicked a lot:

Sheldon Panicking

You see, I had mixed feelings about becoming an MVP. I am truly honored and thankful, but it is also very intimidating to be part of a group with so many talented people that I admire. I don’t have decades of experience, I’m not a SQL Server expert, I haven’t published any books and I haven’t created any scripts that are used all over the world. Why should I deserve to become an MVP? I panicked a little (or a lot) because I compared myself to those who are years ahead of me down the road, and because it felt like I cut in line in front of amazing people who deserves the award more than me.

So I took a step back and thought about what the MVP Award means to me. To quote Microsoft: MVPs are community leaders who’ve demonstrated an exemplary commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft technologies. They share their exceptional passion, real-world knowledge, and technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft.

To me, it’s all about community. I may not be the most experienced SQL Server expert, but I helped restart SQL Server User Group Norway. I was the main organizer of the first SQLSaturday in Oslo and currently organizing the second one. I’ve volunteered and presented sessions online, in Europe and in the US. I blog, I tweet and I do my best to help others.

And I love it. Being recognized by Microsoft and getting a thank you for what I have done this past year means so much to me. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me and believed in me, it means more to me than I can say. Receiving the MVP Award inspires me even more to give back and pay it forward, to keep learning and sharing my knowledge, to help grow the Norwegian SQL Server community.

I’m just getting started :)

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