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PASS SQLRally Nordic 2015

PASS SQLRally Nordic 2015PASS SQLRally Nordic is back! This year it is being held at the Tivoli Hotel & Congress Center in Copenhagen, Denmark from March 2-4. It starts with a full day of pre-conference seminars followed by two days of regular sessions by top international experts, speakers, authors and MVPs.

Check out the amazing list of speakers and sessions, find the perfect precon for you, and register today. You have until January 14th to get the Early Bird price and save €100 on your registration.

(And for you Norwegian SQL Server User Group members, get another 5% off your registration by using the discount code NORWAYUSER5)

SQLHangout #26 – Biml in the Real World

SQLHangoutBack in June I did a #SQLHangout with Boris (@brshristov) about Biml that I called “Blabbering about Biml“. (Boris is much nicer, he called it “Biml. An Introduction.“)

Yesterday we did another fun #SQLHangout about Biml. This time we were joined by João Lopes (@SQLSniper), Rasmus Reinholdt (@RasmusReinholdt) and Régis Baccaro (@regbac) – great guys that I admire. It was interesting to hear how we use Biml in different ways and what we would like to see happen in 2015. I look forward to seeing all of them again and learn from their experiences!

BIML in the real world. v2!

Five people from Bulgaria, Denmark, Portugal and Norway talking about Biml – isn’t that awesome? :)

SQL Server User Group Norway 2014 Summary

This has been a great year for SQL Server User Group Norway. It has been fun to see the user group come back to life and I’m very excited to share some news about our plans for 2015! But first, a summary of what happened in 2014.

SQL Server User Group Norway 2014 JanuaryAfter getting our new website up and running we kicked off the year on January 23rd with a Hekaton presentation by Erik Flateby, and what we called an “interactive session” by me. I talked about PASS and everything it has to offer, showed our new website and how to join our local chapter, and did a survey to figure out who our members were and and what they expected from the user group. Most of the members worked in BI.

On March 5th we had Erin Stellato (@erinstellato) do a remote session for us about Extended Events, and Erik Flateby talked about Columnstore Indexes. Erin did a great job presenting without seeing her audience, and it was a good session even with a few technical problems on our side. Lesson learned: have two-way video for our next remote session.

Shortly after, on March 31st, Hans Olav Norheim (@norheim) presented Azure SQL Databases. He had traveled from the US to be part of the SQL Server 2014 launch event in Oslo and said yes to present for our user group. We were slightly disappointed that we didn’t have as many attendees as we had hoped for. We thought it was because we didn’t promote the event enough or because our meeting was so close to another SQL Server event where Hans Olav presented a similar topic. Lesson learned: Promoting too much is better than not promoting enough!

SQL Server User Group Norway 2014 MayOn May 12th it was time for my favorite event of the year, the Biml techie meetup with Varigence and Rehfeld :) I thought it was an amazing session, but there weren’t as many attendees as we had hoped for – again. (However, that was when I decided that I wanted to spread the word about Biml and start speaking, so for me personally it was sort of a good thing.) The previous meeting and this meeting were both scheduled on Mondays, and another lesson learned: Schedule meetings later in the week so you can send reminders a day or two before the meeting.

We had a long summer break and started the fall season with a massive success called SQLSaturday #317 Oslo on August 30th. Did you know that we had to say no to a user group meeting with Brian Knight (@brianknight) that following week because it was too close to our SQLSaturday, and we just didn’t have the time and resources to promote and organize a meeting? That was such a strange experience for us, and we all wished we could have said yes. (Brian, if you would like to come back another time, I promise we will have time and resources to plan a proper meeting!)

In September we joined Meetup and moved our meetings to our new “home”, Teknologihuset (House of Communities), two of the best decisions we made in 2014. We reached more people through Meetup, and it is a great tool for organizers with all its features. I do have to admit it is a bit confusing having members spread out over the PASS chapter website, Meetup and LinkedIn. It takes a bit of extra time to schedule meetings and get the correct information out to everyone without feeling like we’re spamming our members, but we’re learning. So far it seems like it’s better to have too much information than not enough. My favorite part about moving to Teknologihuset is that it is such a cool and unique concept, a whole building dedicated to technical communities that we can use for free on evenings!

SQL Server User Group Norway 2014 SeptemberWe were thrilled to have Stacia Misner (@StaciaMisner) kick off the fall season with a presentation about Multidimensional vs. Tabular for us on September 24th. She spent some days in Oslo doing other events and also brought Dean (@mr_stacia) with her, so I named it the Stacia Misner Week :) A new experience for the board members of our user group was that we didn’t have to look for a meeting sponsor, we had some sponsor funds left from SQLSaturday Oslo to cover food and drinks. One of the goals of a SQLSaturday is to be fundraisers for the local user group(s), and I’m happy that we were careful with how we spent our money. It is a great feeling knowing that you can organize user group meeting without worrying about sponsors.

Just a few weeks later we had another familiar face visit our user group. Peter Myers presented Data Mining on October 13th. I couldn’t make it to the meeting, but Peter got great feedback from the attendees. It was great to see many new people sign up for our meetings after the summer, and to see the average attendance rate go up.

On November 20th we welcomed our first new, local speaker! Marius Pedersen (@soylentshell) presented Maintenance Plans. One of our goals in SQL Server User Group Norway is to grow new speakers. We want to give new speakers a chance to practice presentations before submitting to larger events, and of course we want to build a community of sharing knowledge. I was so happy that Marius wanted to present, and I hope to see more new and local speakers in 2015. Try it one time, maybe you’ll get addicted! :)

SQL Server User Group Norway 2014 DecemberThe last speaker of the year was Marco Russo (@marcorus) who took us on a tour inside Power Query on December 1st. We had three new attendee records! Most attendees registered, most attendees who showed up, and most first-time attendees. One lesson learned with Meetup is that it is very easy to RSVP yes for anyone, and this can make it difficult to plan meetings. Our meetings have had at least 25% fewer attendees show up than the number of registered attendees, so we always count the actual attendees during meetings.

What a year! I’m so proud of our user group. In May Tone S. Hansson (@ToneHansson) stepped up as the new Chapter Leader, and she has done a phenomenal job. Just wait until you see what happens in 2015! Say thank you the next time you see her, she deserves it :) In November Rune Ovlien Rakeie (@runeo34) joined the board, and we were happy to welcome a proper DBA to the team. Let’s make 2015 an even better year for SQL Server User Group Norway! :D

Giving back to the SQL Community in 2015 (T-SQL Tuesday #61)

T-SQL TuesdayWayne Sheffield (@DBAWayne) is hosting T-SQL Tuesday #61, the last one of the year, and he wants to know how you plan on giving back to the SQL community in 2015.

My short answer is to continue to do everything I did in 2014 – and some more.

In 2014 we restarted our local PASS chapter, SQL Server User Group Norway, and in 2015 I will continue to be a board member and help organize meetings. It has been great to see our chapter grow this year. We have more members, but more importantly, we are slowly becoming a community. Members have volunteered to help out with events, they want to start speaking, and it’s great to see former coworkers catch up with each other at meetings.

We also organized the first SQLSaturday in Norway in 2014, and we have already started planning our next SQLSaturday. (We’re aiming for August 29th, so save the date!) It was a lot of hard work organizing the event this year, but it was such an amazing learning experience that I can’t wait to start working on the next event. I’m so happy that we can give the Norwegian SQL community a day of high-quality free training!

Volunteering is fun and I’ve become slightly addicted to it. I’m planning to be a helper at SQLBits XIV and I have also told the SQLRally Nordic organizers that I’m happy to volunteer if needed. The same goes for all the other PASS events. I hope I can help out again at PASS Summit 2015 and 24 Hours of PASS, and I also want to join the Program Committee and learn from that.

Next year I want to challenge myself to speak and blog more. I love to do both, but they terrify me because they push me out of my comfort zone. There will always be someone who knows more than me, who has more experience than me, who has presented something before me, but I don’t want that to stop me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if others hadn’t shared their knowledge, and hopefully I will be able to help someone by sharing my knowledge. Also, I can’t think of a better way to learn something than to figure out how to teach it to others, so I’m really just being selfish.

And lastly, I will be hosting a T-SQL Tuesday next year! I thought it was fun to share the news in a T-SQL Tuesday post about giving back to the SQL community :)