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T-SQL Tuesday 153 – The SQLBits where I met the Woz

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For this months T-SQL Tuesday contribution I want to share the SQLBits where I met the Woz. Because it was the first SQLBits that I attended, and it had a big impact on me.

To clarify, when I say ‘the Woz’, I mean Steve Wozniak. Who is a bit of a big deal in the IT world. I met him at SQLBits XIII which was held in Brighton.

Before I go any further, I must point out that Kevin Kline hosts this months T-SQL Tuesday. Who is a big deal in his own right. Mostly due to his outstanding contributions to the SQL Server community over the years.

In fact, years ago I considered it an honour that somebody confused me for him once.

Anyway, Kevin invites us to cover a conference that resulted in an amazing career or life opportunity.

You can read the original invitation by clicking on this link for the T-SQL Tuesday 153 invitation or on the image below.

T-SQL Tuesday 153 - The SQLBits where I met Woz
T-SQL Tuesday logo

Please be aware that the next section touches on grief. If you think that this will be upsetting for you, feel free to stop reading here.

Leading up to the SQLBits where I met Woz

Anyway, to explain why that conference changed everything I need to give a bit of background to events beforehand.

As some of you know, I lost a couple of people close to me during a short period of time around 2010. First, my grandmother passed away in front of me on Christmas Day in 2009. In August 2010 my late fiancée passed away after long-term illness.

Before my late fiancée passed away most of my dealings with the SQL Server community had been online. Even more so during her treatment. In fact, to this day I still have a number of points on a well-known SQL Server site.

After she passed away I was home alone a lot of the time. So, I threw myself into learning SQL Server harder than I had done before.

I would spend most evening going through as much SQL Server material that I could get my hands on. Including the well-known black internals book.

I got invited to attend the Southampton SQL user group. Which at the time was led by Mark Pryce-Maher. I started to attend, and I thought it was great. After a while I started turning up early to help Mark set things up.

A couple of attendees than started mentioning that the next SQLBits was taking place in Brighton in the UK. So, I decided to buy a ticket and go. I drove there with my colleague John Martin not quite knowing what to expect.


Right from the start the experience was great. Everybody was so friendly and welcoming there.

I still remember going to one of the parties in the evening, which if I remember correctly was sponsored by Fusion-io. Which was the company Steve Wozniak was involved with at the time. I remember that party for a few reasons.

Firstly, because the food was fish and chips in cones.

Secondly, because I met John Samson. Who back then was writing some great SQL Server posts. He was as modest back then as known him to be since.

Thirdly, because I got to meet Steve Wozniak (Woz) in-person. Which I was not expecting at all.

I remember that during the rest of the event everybody was friendly and I kept thinking how great it was. Looking back, that event helped me a lot during a time that I needed it.

After that SQLBits I started going to more community events. Even though others might not have realized it, back then they were helping me when I was at these events.

I think that is one of the things that a community is suppose to do. Help each other people even when they do not realize that they need it.

To be honest, I think meeting Steve Wozniak at SQLBits influenced one of my answers on a recent survey about events. Because I mentioned that it would be great if William Shatner attended a conference in-person. So, if anybody saw that answer it was me who wrote it.

Final words

Well now you know about the SQLBits where I met Woz. It was this event that got me more inspired to be involved in the larger events for the Microsoft Data Platform community.

My advice is to attend events like these where possible. Because they can help in so many different ways and can lead to some great things.

If I had not attended that SQLBits I would not have got involved with other events. Such as SQL Saturday Cambridge and DataWeekender. Plus, I would never had ended up presenting a training day at SQLBits.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about this post feel free to leave a comment.

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