SQLBits 2020 – My Review & Thoughts

Like so many events SQLBits 2020 was delivered from our homes…

  • Training sessions and content delivered via webcam and recordings.
  • Catching up with friends done via chat rooms and breakout sessions.
  • Hanging out in the coffee line done my hanging out in your kitchen with a headset.
  • Banter and consume sharing done via social media.
  • Demo failures done by cats walking across keyboards.
  • Drinking done by, well drinking!

Although the event wasn’t as good virtually as in person and I confess feeling sceptical in the beginning. In all cases we did it! We got it done, we adapted, we made it happen, we came together and we overcame. We found new ways to replace the missing face to face experiences with safe virtual alternatives.

This community spirit is without a doubt the sole of our industry and when faced with a common enemy it’s amazing to see what people, although isolated and disconnected can still do. I was meant to be writing a review of the conference in this post but I cannot help take a moment to acknowledge the greater thing at play here. People. People in this community. You are amazing!

Back to the event:

Thank you to the organisers for making the hard decisions to change the event, not once, but twice.

Thank you to the sponsors for still supporting the conference.

Thank you to the orange t-shirt crew of helpers for being there when needed and dressed appropriately 🙂

Thank you to the speakers for the huge amount of effort made in recording, presenting and sharing your knowledge.

Thank you to the attendee’s for coming together and showing your support despite the imperfections.

For me specifically, I had the pleasure of once again wearing four different hats during this year’s SQLBits; speaker, sponsor, helper and attendee. In the past this has been a challenge. However, this year, the best thing about being a virtual event was the ability to be in multiple places at once!… Like some sort of multiverse sci-fi thing. With enough monitors and browser windows it became possible to hang out in the sponsor booth while still attending sessions. Going off and networking in chat rooms while still delivering a pre-recorded session. Hanging out in multiple sponsor booths at the same time. Making lunch while still engaged in content. The “conferencing experience” just went parallel threaded! Lol

As a speaker the experience of recording and listening to yourself was fairly cringeworthy. But, with enough takes its possible to make peace with the sound of your own voice, I think, maybe. We all also learnt a bunch of new skills this year as sound engineers, lighting rig builders and web cam resolution perfectionists. Some many hours spent tweaking hardware and software to create the best semi-professional data platform production! Including, a load of practicing with YouTube videos. The bar has certainly been set as the Amazon deliveries for new microphones, stream desks and sound proofing stack up. What a funny biproduct of a data platform conference… being able to spot and measure lip-sync delays 🙂

SQLBits 2020 was certainly a new experience and on reflection a great one (a great show, you could say). If we have to continue life like this for a while, I hope we can maintain the community spirit seen last week and hold out for the day when we are reunited.

Many thanks for reading.

Miss you.

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