I was lucky to travel to London last week and attend SQL Bits 2022. This was the first live SQL Bits I’ve been to in 4 or 5 years, and the first one held since 2019. Two years away, but back strong and as wonderful as ever.
The event was at the London ExCel center, which is a large exhibition hall. There were 4 or 5 other events taking place, and the 1,000+ SQL Bits event was in less than 1/10th of the space. Still, a large space that reminded me of what a large conference is like.
The event hall was a large space, surrounded by curtains, with booths in the middle and around the edge. The Community Zone was a section near registration that had some benches, large pillows, and of course, an arcade machine. Various people were hanging out here all week.
The “rooms” were spaces that were curtained off with large screens, stages, and seating that was separated out with tables and space. Overall, I liked the room, though there was a low rumbling of crosstalk from other sessions. Not so loud that it felt like I was listening to two speakers, but more there was a lot of ambient noise, and I had to focus on my speaker. Applause was a bit loud.
I saw lots of friends. Here’s my Kevin Kline shot, adding to my collection. I’ve seen Kevin at events all over the world for the last 20 years and it’s always a treat.
I also ran into John Morehouse and many others. I didn’t end up taking as many pictures as I would have liked. A sore wrist and a phone stuck in the wrong pocket had me rarely taking it out.
The Friday keynote was a Community one, which I really liked. Rob Sewell and Ben Weissman hosted and asked a number of us to pick our favorite feature in the data platform.
I had my moment on stage and someone got a nice shot.
Both keynotes were live in one of the 12 rooms, but broadcast to the others. That meant that there wasn’t a large space where everyone had to go to in order to watch. They could go to session rooms and see the keynote. I like this idea, and would like to see it at more events. Requiring a large space is hard, and expensive.
One thing I like about Bits is lots of breaks, with time between sessions to walk around, see people, get coffee, etc. Some events seem to have everyone running from place to place, but Bits is more relaxed.
Speaking of relaxing, I was wiped out by Friday afternoon. I spent a good portion of time relaxing in the main expo hall, talking with Redgaters and others.
London is an amazing city, one of my favorites, and I had a couple nice dinners out with Brent Ozar. Here’s one with Erik Darling and his wife. Wonderful times with friends that I’ve missed the last two years.
The party Friday night was a fun affair. I liked that some food and refreshments were in the expo hall, which was quieter. A smaller space behind there was the louder party with music, games, and dancing. Not quite my style, but it was nice to see people having fun. I had to fly Saturday morning, so a quick photo with Grant and Kathi as I was leaving.
SQL Bits went too quick, and I was sorry that I wasn’t there for the last day. It was a lot of fun, and a sign that people still want to meet in person and conferences will come back. I’m looking forward to future events and hopefully SQL Bits in 2023 as well.