In this post I want to cover DataWeekenders unique formula. Because I believe it is unique from other Microsoft Data Platform conferences for various reasons.
Just a quick recap for you all. DataWeekender is a free online conference for the Microsoft Data Platform community.
You can see the full schedule for the next DataWeekender event which is happening on October 17th in detail here. In addition, you can also sign up to attend the next DataWeekender virtual conference here.
What makes us think we are different?
Like a lot of you reading this post I have seen the comments on social media about online events. For example, how most of them appear to be the same.
Whether a lot of them are or not is entirely up to yourselves to decide. However, as one of the organizers of DataWeekender I want to put a case forward as to why I think DataWeekender truly is unique.
After all, DataWeekender was the first virtual Microsoft Data Platform of this size to appear during the spread of COVID-19. In fact, DataWeekender was nearly a branded event. However, that’s a story few people know about and it’s probably best kept that way.
For now, lets just say I had an idea to do something with organizers from around Europe and it grew from there.
Because we were not sponsored or tied in with a company we were free to choose our platform of choice when delivering the event. We opted to use Microsoft Teams which we are using at the next DataWeekender as well.
In addition, we opted to do all the sessions completely live with no recordings. We want to do this to encourage people to attend and network during the event itself. I have noticed that a lot of speakers do prefer this method instead of recording their sessions.
I myself have recorded a session for an event. Since it’s an event that people have paid to attend I can fully understand why they want it to be perfect on the day.
We made the decision not to record sessions either for similar reason. Part of the magic for the last DataWeekender was the networking everybody did. You just don’t get that if you watch a recorded session.
However, DataWeekender is a completely free event. We currently have zero sponsors and a budget to match. All of us in the team do this on a volunteer basis. In fact, the costs of some of the tech and the stickers all the speakers get come out of our own pockets.
In reality, this is another reason why we do not record sessions. We all put in a lot of hours leading up to DataWeekender to prepare for the event in our free time. For a free event of this size it does not make sense to spend hours of our personal time editing recorded sessions.
It’s true that other online Data Platform conferences have appeared since. Some of them with their own unique touches as well.
Diversity is a big topic for the DataWeekender team. In reality, a lot of events now have a diversity policy. However, in the DataWeekender team we actively promote and standby ours.
During the call for speakers we were upfront in stating that we wanted more female speakers because we do. We would love to have a 50/50 split in presenters, and we hope to achieve it. To quote one of the DataWeekender organizers:
This is really important. I want my kids to see a more diverse set of role models in this industry – not just white guys in their 40s. We’ve done a decent job with Data Weekender, but I agree there’s more to be done.Member of DataWeekender organization team
Our session selection for this DataWeekender reflects our diversity policy. Members of the Data Platform community have openly given us praise for doing this and we are proud of this achievement.
Our stance on diversity and having an inclusive event does not end there either. For this DataWeekender we decided that the master/slave metaphor would not be welcome in any of the sessions. You can read a previous post about that here.
DataWeekender is an inclusive event for everybody involved with the Microsoft Data Platform at all levels.
As you can see, a lot of factors contribute to DataWeekenders unique formula. We’re not following trends from other events. A lot of them do things that make them unique and that’s great. In fact, we actively promote other conferences that are unique.
Because we have a conference that’s unique as well and all of us in the organization team strive to do better.
We’re an event with a purpose and a great logo and on behalf of the entire organization team we hope everybody involved enjoys Saturday’s event.