SQLSaturday #13 update

It all started with phone call with Andy Warren last Friday (February 13); that seems like a lifetime ago.  I was concerned because things weren’t going so well with the planning for SQLSaturday #13 here in Atlanta on April 25 (sorry; it starts becoming a habit.  I can’t say the name without giving a location and a date).

Anyway, I’m coordinating this event, and it just wasn’t feeling right.  I had been exchanging emails with Andy, and he suggested a phone call to give me some advice.  It was a good idea; among Andy’s suggestions was that I tackle one problem at a time.  Our schedule was only about half full, our registrations were about half full, and we only had one or two sponsors.  Andy suggested that I get the schedule filled up, and that would draw in registrations.  With registrations, I could sell the show to sponsors.  I agreed, and started thinking about where I could advertise for speakers.

I started by contacting everyone who had ever spoken at a SQLSaturday event in the past; I then posted the call for speakers to every LinkedIn group to which I belonged.  I asked nearvy regional user groups for speaker recommendations.  I did all of this on Friday afternoon.

Response was swift; I got several responses, including one short email on Saturday:

“Celko can do extra slots.”

Celko?  Joe Celko?  The guy from the usergroups with whom everyone I know has had at least one brief and antagonistic conversation? THAT Celko?

Yep.

Out of desperation (and a little avarice), I wrote back and asked if he would consider being a featured presentation.  The way I figured, Celko’s a controversial figure; a lot of people love him, and a lot of people, well, don’t.  But, I had heard that he’s a great speaker, and even though I’ve disagreed with some of his methods, he is a smart guy.

He agreed.  I posted a couple of postings to different newsgroups advertising Celko’s presentation, and wanted to see if the numbers would go up.  They eked up a notch (5 or 6 registrations), but not much.  I then asked the email master at AtlantaMDF to send out a blast to all registered members announcing the event.

Sunday came and went.  No email.

Monday and Tuesday came and went. No email.

On Wednesday, I nudged the email master.  At 3:39 pm the email went out.  By 4:02, we had jumped from 76 registrations to 100 registrations.  I was hoping for 120.  By 4:45, we had 118.

After consulting with the other team members, we decided to bump up the available seats to 140.  By 7:00 AM today, we had hit it.  Andy suggested we bump it to the fire code limits; I now have a limit of 200 seats, and a little over 150 registrants.

Of course, we picked up other speakers along the way; we now have 26 scheduled sessions (I was expecting 15), and I’m now having to turn people away.   I’m still waiting for sponsors to respond, but I’m very hopeful that we’ll get a good response SINCE WE”RE TWO MONTHS OUT AND I”M LOOKING AT STANDING ROOM ONLY.

Sorry for yelling.  I’m a little excited.

It all started with a phone call.

February 20, 2009 · stuart · 2 Comments
Posted in: Conferences

2 Responses

  1. Andy Warren - February 20, 2009

    Stuart,

    Bravo for sharing the pain & process! We all go through the worries, and I think telling people that will help them a little when they decide to try doing their own SQLSaturday.

    Andy

  2. Steve Jones - February 20, 2009

    Contgrats, Stuart, and sorry I can’t make it down there, but good luck on the event. Glad it’s going well and thanks for sharing.

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