I read Eddie Wuerch’s post on cross-submissions for SQL Saturdays and found it hitting close to home. It provoked a few thoughts, and I wanted to write a little bit about what I think since it’s something I think more and more people will deal with over time.
The idea behind SQL Saturday was to get more local events, more local speakers, and improve our industry at a grass roots level. That was Andy Warren’s vision, and it was something we strived for as we grew the SQL Saturday framework. Over time it’s evolved into something we never expected, with many speakers traveling from remote locations to talk.
It’s also grown so much that many of the weekends of the year have multiple events. This year we have 58 events (completed or scheduled) and we have multiple collisions, including
- 3 on Apr 21, Apr 28, Aug 4, Sept 15, and Sept 29,
- 5 on Apr 14
There are also plenty of weekends with two events.
As a speaker, I like attending these events. I’ve been to quite a few, and I turn many more down because of scheduling conflicts. I try to get to 4-5 a year, and meet a lot of people. These are fun events, and I’d like to do more, but travel is hard and it takes away from other things in my life.
When I decide to submit to a SQL Saturday, I usually start making plans to attend. I don’t book travel, but I free up my schedule, and I don’t submit to events on consecutive weeks. Traveling two weeks in a row, while it might not seem like much, is a big impact to my family, and to me.
My method for dealing with multiple events and choices is to contact the organizers of my first choice. I don’t ask them for a favor, but I do ask if they would like me to submit and attend. I’ll give him an idea of what I am prepared to talk about and let them know that I don’t want to submit if I’m not being chosen, only because I would like to attend some event that weekend. If they decline, and I have had some decline, I thank them and contact my second choice.
I don’t like the idea of adding in more rules, or restrictions, or even asking the organizers to work out among the various events who will get speaker X. I think it’s the burden on the speakers to make as little an impact on the organizer’s workload.