I think this is a good idea, and I’ll give you some reasons, but every SQL Saturday ought to consider having a few sessions an hour before the main event starts.
When the Rocky Mountain TechTrifecta v2 came to Denver this past February, I was one of 7 or 8 people that was asked to run an early morning session. From 7:30-8:30, before the 9:00am kickoff, we had a number of sessions in various rooms that were essentially discussions. I actually picked up someone else’s session since they couldn’t make it, and had about 10 slides, but it was really me leading a discussion with 6 or 7 people in the room.
I wondered what was the point, but as I talked with Julie Yack, the organizer, she said that the previous year they’d had lots of people show up early to register and then stood around, not knowing what to do. I’ve seen that in other events, including many SQL Saturday’s as well. It takes time to register 200+ people, even if you are just giving out a name badge, and so the first person to come in has a lot of time to waste.
There’s also a lot of people that come to SQL Saturday that are very new beginners. They don’t understand a lot about SQL Server, and they’ll get lost during other sessions. Or they are experienced in one area, but not another.
This is the time for a basic foundation for SQL Server. Honestly I would suggest that every SQL Saturday recruit 4 or 5 speakers, and offer these basic sessions, a very, very junior level session, before the main event.
- Introduction to SQL Server
- Introduction to Reporting Services
- Introduction to Querying in T-SQL
- Introduction to Integration Services
- Introduction to Analysis Services (if you have speakers in this area)
Set up a few rooms, start them at 7:30 if you start the event at 9:00 and publicize them for beginners. You will have some very, very happy attendees.