Browsing articles tagged with " Conference"

Dell World 2016

Oct 18, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //    //  No Comments

Dell World 2016 logo

I will be attending Dell World 2016 as an influencer/media/analyst participant.  This means that I’ll get access to the regular sessions, plus special engagements with product teams to see what they’ve been working on recently and what they want to do in the future.  I’ve attended a couple of Dell on-site events and am looking forward to talking to key customers and real-world, hands-on data professionals.  Also, doesn’t everyone want to visit Austin as much as possible?

If you will be attending Dell World, let me know.  I hope we can #selfie.  Or just have a real conversation.  Or we can get breakfast tacos.

 

Join me at DellWorld 2016 in Austin, TX

Aug 15, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Cloud, Data, Data Modeling, DLBlog, NoSQL, Professional Development, SQL Server  //  1 Comment

Dell World 2016 logo
I will be attending DellWorld 2016 as an influencer/media/analyst participant. This means that I’ll get access to the regular sessions, plus special engagements with product teams to see what they’ve been working on recently and what they want to do in the future. I’ve attended a couple of Dell on-site events and am looking forward to talking to key customers and real-world, hands-on data professionals. Also, doesn’t everyone want to visit Austin as much as possible?

If you will be attending Dell World, let me know. I hope we can #selfie. Or just have a real conversation. Or we can get breakfast tacos.

Confusing Community with Sales

May 23, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Ethics, Events, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, WTF  //  23 Comments

Litter Box Marketing

There have been some blog posts floating around about a new PASS Summit policy.  Most of the posts have been either misleading or ill-informed about why this new rule came about.  Last year there was a sh*tshow of bad marketing and sales practices:

  • Two vendors did a bulk drop of branded promotional items in the Community Zone.  They literally turned an area intended to be about chapters, networking, and #SQLFamily into a their own company litter box.
  • A vendor lefts stacks of promotional items on booths of sponsors in the exhibit areas.  Yes, a vendor who did not pay to sponsor the event used the booths that other vendors paid for to attempt to distribute their marketing materials.
  • I heard of other things happening from sponsors, but did not witness them.  They were right along the lines of those two things above.

So PASS has come out with a new rule about exchanging stuff at the PASS Summit.  They are now going to attempt to limit exchanges to business cards only.  I think this is way too specific of a rule definition, but unlike the other bloggers, instead of making this a post about how awful the board is, I’m going to offer up win-win-win alternatives below.

Some of the comments on these posts have been made in an attempt to soften the “guerrilla marketing” bad behaviours I mentioned.  They claim that the board wants to limit small, personal exchanges of gifts like ribbons and stickers, both very common conference exchanges.  In the space community, these also include mission patches and pins. I don’t believe the board wants that, but they have certainly put that in writing.

First, the rule right now only applies to speakers. I’m not sure if it applies to attendees, but I’d want any such rules to apply to everyone at the event.

Feral Cats and What’s That Smell?

The issue isn’t about personal exchanges of gifts. The issue, as all of us know here but are pretending we don’t, is the literal carpet bombing of commercial collateral, including promotional, branded swag in community areas, empty session rooms, empty tables, restrooms, hallways, charging areas, etc.  I do not support the claims that this type of feral-cat like spraying of vendor materials is “Community over Sponsors” behaviours. It’s about sales over members. Don’t kid yourself. Consultants are vendors. InfoAdvisors is a vendor. I’m a vendor at these events because I work for a vendor.

Consultants are vendors. InfoAdvisors is a vendor. I’m a vendor at these events because I work for a vendor.

All that spraying smells. It’s only community if your business belongs in a back alley. It’s only community if you think of attendees as “prospective invoices”.  It’s all litter box marketing.

That isn’t about gifts. It’s not about community.

And what has happened is that the “arms race” mentioned in one post has now become such an embarrassment to the community that our professional association has had to step in and make a rule.

Update: One vendors claims that the sponsors asked him to drop swag on their tables.  “it just looks like litter boxing” (paraphrased). The two events I witnessed involved the sponsors throwing the swag in the garbage and asking “WTH was that?”  I’m going to guess that “being invited to give out swag at the booths” is a giant misunderstanding.  Ha ha. : ).

The New Rule Isn’t Right

I agree that the limiting to business cards is a unacceptable way to draw the line on this “I don’t see you all as community but as potential invoices” behaviours. But the real fault is on the people who need to have the event as a “sell-first, avoid you later” event.

Saying they can’t afford to have a booth isn’t accurate. It’s affordable.   Many smaller vendors have booths at SQL Saturdays and at the big show.  It’s very affordable, especially if you share with other vendors.  Which is a great way to have a booth because who wants to man/woman/kitten a booth for the entire conference?

Should you have to have a booth to exchange stickers or ribbons? No.  But when sponsors get other people’s swag dropped on their booths, or when the community zone becomes a porta-potty for marketing materials, we’ve lost our path.  No matter what someone tells you, that’s not community. It’s seeing our event not as a Connect. Share. Learn. event. It’s about seeing our event as a Speak and Sell event.

Blame for the new rule goes 100% to the folks who did these things.  Okay, maybe I’ll blame the board 10% for coming with a new rule that isn’t quite a win-win-win solution.

This Ain’t the Tea Party

If you think telling sponsors “we’ll take your money, but others can turn the community zone into their own “rogue exhibit hall” is good conferences sales point, I suggest we just give away exhibit booths and charge everyone the real price it costs to put this on.   I’m guessing that registration will cost about the same as a 7-day cruise.  Or it will be like a local user group meeting, with fewer people.   Austerity might be your political stance.  Telling people to just change jobs if their employer won’t pay $7k for them to attend Summit is a nonstarter.

The fact of the matter is that community events the size of Summit (thousands) can’t happen without sponsors.  Ensuring that sponsors get what they pay for is not “putting sponsors over the needs of attendees”.  It’s about running an event that is affordable and sustainable.  Sure, it’s a balance.  But pretending that somehow non-sponsoring vendors should be allowed to use sponsor resources for their own needs is naïve at best.  At worst, it’s painting the situation as being something it is not.

Data.  Get Your Data Right.

It’s misleading to say that these rules happened because PASS wants to cater to sponsors over community. A few overly-greedy, it’s-all-about-money people have caused this. Focus your ammo on the right malicious “users” of PASS.

What I Want the Rule to Be

I’ve talked to board members and PASS staff.  This is what I want the rule to be.  I think it’s a win-win-win for attendees, consultant and sponsors.

 

Personal, one-on-one exchanges of low-cost items like the ones below should be allowed and even encouraged.

  • Stickers
  • business cards
  • patches
  • buttons & pins
  • temp tattoos
  • ribbons
  • candy
  • stamps
  • etc.

 

I don’t care if those things have your name, your favourite tagline, your picture, your cat-owner’s photo, or your logo.  They key here is one-on-one, personal exchanges of low-value, often fun, things.  I also don’t want to have a detailed list.  People love to have a check box set of rules, but that just leads to people finding loopholes.  Heck, I love sharing space swag at non-space events. Especially collectibles that are older than most of the attendees.

Update: What do I mean by exchanges?  I mean giving out these low-cost items in trade for the other person’s similar item or for some other value.  One year at EDW I asked people to tell me they “loved their data” to get a ribbon.  Hearing people say that was a small but important value to me. I may have done that at Summit one year as well.  The key is these are still one-on-one exchanges. And none of them happened from the podium.  Selling while presenting should be a paid session.

Ribbons, stickers, stamps are all part of the geek community and I want that to continue to be a part of Summit.

 

Bulk distributions of marketing materials, flyers, branded materials should require some sort of sponsorship level.  As should the distribution of more expensive swag, cars, real tattoos, kittens, and $20 bills.

Distribution of items on sponsor booths without their permission should not be allowed.  Bulk distribution on the exhibit floor without being a sponsor or in the Community Zone should not be allowed.

 

The Community Zone Should Be a Sales-free Zone

The Community Zone should be sales-free, as far as I’m concerned. It’s the violation of this rule that I think should cause people not to be invited back to the event.  Attendees should have one area where they aren’t treated like invoices.  Having to put this into a rule makes me sad. People should just understand this is how life works.

Maybe we need a $500 sponsorship level for those vendors whose business is doing so poorly they can’t afford a booth.  Or for independent consultants.  Again, this is for people and organizations that want to do mass distribution of marketing materials and collateral, not personal exchanges.

A professional association should indeed help all members be great at what they do.  Whether they are consultants, software vendors, contractors, full- or part-time employees, retired, whatever.  But that doesn’t mean that a professional association event must provide a sales opportunity in every part of the event.

This proposal is a win-win-win because attendees can keep doing what we’ve always done.  Vendors can still do their sales things, but appropriately.  Vendor sponsors can keep getting value out of their sponsorship dollars without some on other vendor being a feral cat and bragging how “sponsoring a booth is stupid when you can just do guerrilla marketing.”  Our sponsors are part of our community, too.  In fact, organizations can be members of PASS if the sign up.

Finally…

The world does have bigger problems.  But the posts that have been coming out have not been giving the full picture, nor have they offered up a balanced solution. I think it’s good that this year several people came forward to complain to the board that the stuff people have been doing has crossed a line.   It may not really be an “arms race”. But is has been escalating.  Houston, we’ve had a problem. It stinks. It’s time to fix it.  Let’s all work together to get it right, before the urine smell kills the whole event.  If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them.

This is some of the feedback I got for speaking up.
I’ve never attended a SQL Saturday Ottawa yet (there’s always been a scheduling conflict). I was not in Ottawa that day. I was at a NASA Armstrong Teacher Educator event.

This is how nasty this whole discussion as become. A vendor took a bunch of my tweets over the last year, some about these behaviours, some about my dislike of the things that Mr. Trump says, and some about God knows what else and made a video saying I’m mean. Then this video became a facebook post on the vendor’s own Facebook wall.

.Never Been to Ottawa.

A few people spoke up and this commenter deleted his comment after a while. The vendor did not delete it. The commenter did.  Remember this when you are thinking about win-win-win solutions. This is what’s at stake. This why bad behaviour leads to more bad behaviour. I’ll still keep blogging about it. And people will still comment on ME instead of the issue.Its what is broken with our community. Talk about bad behaviours, not people.

Database Design Throwdown – Austin SQLSaturday

Jan 30, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //    //  No Comments

Database Design Throwdown

Speaker(s):  Karen Lopez Thomas LaRock

Duration: 60 minutes

Track: Application & Database Development

Everyone agrees that great database performance starts with a great database design. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees which design options are best. Data architects and DBAs have debated database design best practices for decades. Systems built to handle current workloads are unable to maintain performance as workloads increase.Attend this new and improved session and join the debate about the pros and cons of database design decisions. This debate includes topics such as logical design, data types, primary keys, indexes, refactoring, code-first generators, and even the cloud. Learn about the contentious issues that most affect your end users and how to avoid them.

SQLSaturdays are free to attend, usually with an option to pay for lunch if you’d like.

 

 

 

Toronto SQL Server User Group PASS Summit Discount Code

image

 

Many Toronto User Group members will be attending the PASS Summit in November in Seattle Washington, including me.  If you work with SQL Server, this is the only community-driven event for SQL Server training, presentations, workshops and networking.

Would you like to join us?  Use our PASS Summit Discount code / Coupon / promo code:

CASUMG64

You can register now at  http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2014/RegisterNow.aspx and use the code to save $150 off full registrations.  If you register before 27 June, you’ll get the best discount you can get right now and the Toronto User Group gets $50 to fund our meetings which start again in September.  That’s right: you save some dough and our user group gets funding for our upcoming season that starts in September 2014.

If you can’t register now, no worries.  You can still use our chapter code later. 

Feel free to share this information with colleagues, even the discount code.  The more the merrier. And the better you can love your SQL Server data.

Join Me at Enterprise Data World and Save $200 + $200

Conference Session Photo

I’ve been attending Enterprise Data World for more than 15 years.  This event, focused on data architectures, data management, data modeling data governance and other great enterprise-class methods is part technical training and part revival for data professionals.  It’s just that good.

This year the big bash is being held in Austin, TX, a thriving tech-oriented community, 27-April to 1 May.  And this year’s theme is “The Transformation to Data-Driven Business Starts Here.”

And right now there’s a $200 Early Bird Discount going…plus if you use coupon code “DATACHICK” you can save $200 more on a multi-day registration or fifty bucks on a one day pass.  There.  I just saved you $400.  And no, I get no kickbacks with this discount code.  I don’t need them.  I need you to be at this event, sharing your knowledge and meeting other data professionals. I need you to be part of the community of data professionals.

Top 10 Reasons You Need to Go to EDW 2014

  1. Data is HOT HOT HOT.  I deemed 2013 The Year of Data and I see no signs that organizations are going to back to software-is-everything thinking.  2014 is still going to be a year full of data. There’s even an executive, invitation-only CDOvision even co-located.
  2. Not Just Bullet Points.  There are over 20 hours of scheduled networking events for you to chat with other data-curious people.  Chatting with other data professionals is my favourite part of this event.  Bring your business cards…er… .vcs contact file.
  3. Lots of Expertise. Not just data celebrities, but also other data professionals with thousands of hours of hands-on experiences, sharing their use cases around data.  And not just data modeling.  Big Data.  Analytics.  Methods.  Tools.  Open Data.  Governance. NoSQL. SQL. RDBMS. Fun.
  4. Certifications.  You can take advantage of the Pay-Only-If-You-Pass option for the CDMP on-site certification testing.
  5. Workshops. I’m doing a half day tutorial on Driving Development Projects with Enterprise Data Models.  I’ll be talking about how data models fit within real-life, practical, get-stuff-done development projects. No ivory towers here.
  6. SIGs.  There are special interest groups on data modeling products, industries and methods. You can meet people just like you an share your tips and tricks for data lovin.  I will be leading the ER/Studio SIG.
  7. Ice Cream.  This conference has a tradition of the ice cream break on the exhibit floor.  Nice ice cream, even.
  8. Austin. Austin is one of the more vibrant cities in Texas.  So cool, it even has a Stevie Ray Vaughan statue. Museums, Theatres, indoor golf, clubs.  There’s a reason why SxSW is held here.
  9. Vendors. Yes, we love them, too.  Meet the product teams of the makers of the tools you use every day.  Or meet new teams and ask for a demo.  They are good people.
  10. Love Your Data.  There’s no better way to show your love than to network with other data professionals and learn from industry leaders.

Come learn how to help your organization love data better.  You might even see me in a lightning talk holding a martini.  Or taking impromptu pics of @data_model and other data professionals.  Or debating data management strategy with people from around the globe.  In other words, talking data. With people who love their data.  Join us.

I’m Speaking at Enterprise Data World – Atlanta

Apr 23, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Snark, Speaking  //  2 Comments

imageI’m not sure, but I think I’ve been attending the Enterprise Data World event (formerly the Wilshire Meta-Data/DAMA Symposium) since 1998 and speaking at most of them.  There’s a reason I keep going back: this is my annual "revival" for networking and collaborating with other data professionals.  I need that fix, every 12 months or so, to focus on sharing and caring about data modeling, database design and tools.

This year the event will be held in Atlanta, so at least we’ll be warmer than some years, right?  I remember a particularly freezing March in Boston.  I don’t want to repeat that, ever.

By the way, there is still time to register and I believe there is still a $100 discount available.  If you can’t find that, contact me and I’ll see what I can do for you <grin>.

My Events

This is a busy year for me at EDW.

Kick-off Panel: I’ll be part of the "Welcome Panel" moderated by Tony Shaw of Dataversity.  Jaime Fitzgerald, Peter Aiken, Sue Gueuns and I will be talking about our tips for getting the most out of the event, including our recommendations for the sessions we most want to attend.

http://edw2012.dataversity.net/sessionPop.cfm?confid=65&proposalid=4803

Size Doesn’t Matter: I’ll be defending my Talk Champion crown sweatshirt at this year’s Lightning Talks.  All other speakers, be warned.  I talk FAST.  I’m also known for going for the cheap jokes that get votes.

http://edw2012.dataversity.net/sessionPop.cfm?confid=65&proposalid=4813

ER/Studio Special Interest Group: I’ll be leading a user-to-user discussion of Embarcadero and their database and data modeling tools. We will have Embarcadero reps there to contribute, but this is still a user group meeting.  You don’t have to be a current customer to attend.

By the way, there are also SIGs for CA ERwin Data Modeler and Sybase PowerDesigner going on at other times. 

http://edw2012.dataversity.net/sessionPop.cfm?confid=65&proposalid=4505

Finding Myself: A Case Study on Your Data Model, My Data and Me:  This is my regular session at the event, where I take a snarky look at how your systems mess with my data…and how I pay the price for that messiness.  I hope you’ll join me for this irreverent look at cost, benefit and risk choices that "they" make when "they" manage our data. 

http://edw2012.dataversity.net/sessionPop.cfm?confid=65&proposalid=4496

Data Modeling Power Panel – Contemporary Issues in Modeling:  I’ll be participating in Alec Sharp‘s panel along with Michael Blaha and David Hay on forward-looking topics in data modeling and management.  My topic will focus on NoSQL, especially extensions to relational DBMSs.

John Zachman

This year marks the 30th year since John Zachman shared his Zachman Framework with the world. There will be a special event on Wednesday evening to recognize his contributions to enterprise architecture over the last three decades. 

Social

Of course in addition to all the great sessions, there will be social events and time for catching up on what other data professionals have been up to since I saw them last year in Chicago.

For those of you who can’t make it, a bunch of us will be tweeting using the hashtag #EDW12.  You can follow along on Twitter, even if you aren’t signed up for it, by going to http://search.twitter.com and searching for "EDW12"

I hope to see you and get a chance to chat with you at this year’s EDW.  That’s why I go…the sessions are great, but the chance to share ideas, tips, tricks and data stories is what keeps me coming back.

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