My T-SQL Tuesday contribution for this month is about organizing DataWeekender. Which is also known as Data Community Weekender Europe.
This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Glenn Berry. Glenn invites us to discuss what we have done in response to COVID-19.
You can read more about the invite by either clicking on the T-SQL Tuesday logo in this post.
First time I mentioned the original idea I had which led to DataWeekender was in a post I did during the first week of April. Which you can read in detail here.
As you can read in that post I wondered if it was worth getting organizers from cancelled or postponed SQL Server and Data Platform events in Europe together. In order to organize an online event.
I wanted to do this so that organizers and volunteers could still contribute during COVID-19. Plus, I knew there was a lot of people at home who would appreciate being involved in something different online.
One thing led to another and six of us professionals from around Europe got together to form the organization team. You can see all of the members of the organization team in the ‘About us’ section on the event website here.
Within a month we ended up organizing and hosting one of the largest free online Microsoft Data Platform conferences to date.
After some talks we decided to have a short time period for call for speakers. Once the deadline finished we got together as soon as possible to discuss a lot of things.
For instance, the number of sessions we were going to show. In addition, what technology to use.
We finally decided to show 42 separate sessions in six different tracks using Microsoft Teams. During the event various topics were covered including Power BI, SQL Server and Cognitive Services.
Because we realized a lot of people were coping with the current situation differently we selected a session about mental health and wellness. For me, this session spoke volumes.
Because my wife is a social worker and is currently still going out to work at the moment to look after the vulnerable. I might have done my part for this event, but she will always be the hero during COVID-19 in our house.
Since Glenn is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday I also want to thank him personally for speaking at our event.
In reality, we spent a lot of time planning things before the event. Which was necessary in order to deliver it within a month. We were also able to do some other good things before the event.
For instance, various badges like the one below for the event organizers. We originally only got badges done with the event logo in for the speakers. However, because they were such a big hit we also got badges done for organizers and supporters.
On the day itself I got up and nice and early and got ready to do my introduction for the event. Because we decided that each member of the organization team would introduce the event in a different track at the start of the day.
So, I introduced the event before Eitan Blumin’s session in track one. Afterwards, I worked on the event until the very end. It was good to see both speakers and attendees enjoy the day.
I have to admit I was surprised when one attendee told me they were from Canada and had watched the event from the start. Because the event started just before one o’clock in the morning their time.
Of course, even after the event we still had to do some work. I made the effort to try and return the feedback ratings I provided to speakers in the right numerical format for their country. Because I know small gestures like that matter.
I am glad that an idea of mine turned into one of the largest free online Microsoft Data Platform events to date. Of course, I must stress here that I was one member of the organization team and it was very much a team effort.
With this in mind, I think I speak for all of the organization team when I thank everybody involved. Including the moderators, speakers, others behind the scenes and of course the attendees.
You can see the public feedback statistics for the event here. Considering we had 600 attendees attend at least one session I think event went well. Especially considering we put it all together within a month.
I hope you enjoyed my T-SQL Tuesday contribution about organizing DataWeekender.
Very pleased that I was able to do my bit to help others during these times. In addition, a lot of respect for others who have being able to help others as well. Especially all the key workers out there.
One last thing relating to one of the most popular questions about DataWeekender in the last month. I can confirm that the organization team have since spoken, and we have all agreed that we will do it again.