It’s T-SQL Tuesday time, the second Tuesday of the month when we all coordinate our blog posts on a particular topic. This month Kendal Van Dyke has invited us to take a break from technical topics and have a bit more fun. This month’s topic is asking about the swag that you’ve gotten from an event. This seems appropriate given that there are so many events this time of year. In addition to the tremendous number of SQL Saturdays, we had DevConnections last week, SQL in the City this week, the PASS Summit next week, and SQL Intersection next week.
The Best SWAG
I’ve been fortunate to attend many events in my career. I’ve been to TechEd, the PDC, SQL Connections, SQL Intersection, the PASS Summit, various TechFests, lots of SQL Saturdays, and, of course, Red Gate’s SQL in the City events. I don’t often get swag these days, but earlier in my career I would grab various gifts and goodies from the events and vendors. I’d often bring back items for co-workers and my kids, some of which I actually still have.
These days I don’t get much swag, though I do get speaker gifts from some places, which feel like swag to me. What are the best items? I’m not sure that I can pick just one, but I have a few things that stand out.
During the WIT panel at SQL Saturday #222, SIOS sponsored a gift to take back to kids, boys or girls. It was a multi-tool and I grabbed two, one for each of my kids. I even checked my bag (which I never do) so I could bring the small knives to my son and daughter. They loved them, putting them in bags to use when they might need them. I saw my son actually break this out a week later to use the pliers.
The speaker gift from SQL Saturday #222 in Sacramento this year was a bottle of wine. I thought that was a great gift, and one that’s still sitting in our wine rack, but probably not for too much longer 🙂
A few years ago the crew from SQL Sentry gave away silicone beer mugs at the SQL Connections conference. I loved the insulated mug for cold beverages, and so did my kids. I found after a week that I never got to drink from them because my kids were filling them with smoothies, juices, and more. The mugs were always in the dishwasher. I mentioned this to Peter Shire and he graciously gave me 4 more at the next event. That hasn’t stopped my kids from using them at every opportunity, but with 5, I do get to use a few of them now and then.
I’ve gotten a few, and some of them are very nice, but the one that stands out for me was from the SQL Saturday #169 in Denver. The local user group made their own parachute cord keychains that I still have on a backpack. It’s similar to a survival bracelet, the kind of things that Boy Scouts carry, just in case. I love the keychain and while I hope I never have to use it, I have it if I need it.
Lots of Gifts
There are plenty of other things I’ve gotten that have survived. I have bags and shirts from many events. I have pens, USB drives, a couple keychains, and even a few bottle openers. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the other items, though to be fair, there were lots of forgettable items.
It’s hard to give out good swag. At SQLServerCentral, we’ve struggled to think of what things people would like. I’ve given away lots of shirts and books since I’ve felt people will keep those around and hopefully have fond memories of the events. I know I do when I use some of the items that I’ve gotten.