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Rick Heiges

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Developing a Keynote for SQL Saturday #250

I volunteered to help out and present a keynote at SQL Saturday #250.  It worked out that they couldn't find anyone better.  :-)  I am really looking forward to it and hope that I do not disappoint. The time available is about 40 minutes so it can't get too technical.

Although I have been a part of 2 keynotes at the PASS Summit, I really only added some ideas to the overall messaging for the third day keynote which is really more like an emcee.  And I also got to introduce Dr DeWitt for the meat of the keynote - so the keynote was a breeze.  The behind the scenes team at PASS was great at develping a script and timing.  Most of the development comes from the professional marketing team to keep what I say on stage on message.  Coming up with a keynote is different from developing a breakout session.  Typically, a keynote is meant to present information at a high level so that the details don't distract from the message; it is not meant to garner questions like a breakout session where the questions really enhance the content.  It is also meant to inspire (at some level) the audience to act on the message. 

The Message - The SQL Community is full of great stuff. - This is aimed at the "newbie" attendee.  They may have some favorite blogs or have seen a webcast or two, but they are not aware of the various moving parts and players in the community.  Naturally, I will highlight PASS events because that is what I know best and have a passion for.  But I also intend to shine the light on some of the "properties" for lack of a better word that I have found useful over the years.  This includes vendors, consultancies, and other web focused properties that are active in the community.  This was the first cut of the keynote message.

I was asked to add some techie stuff into the keynote as well.  I thought about several ways to go.  I looked over the finalized schedule of sessions and noticed that there were not a lot of sessions focused on SQL Server 2014. It seemed only too natural to talk about the upcoming rleease of SQL Server and what to expect.  Obviously, I had to include Hekaton in here.  I also selected Clustered Column-store Index and Buffer Pool Extensions to highlight some key features in the next release.  However, just diving into the features wouldn't be beneficial unless it was framed properly and really help the audience think BIG and beyond their current issues in their environment.  In order to frame these features in the proper light, I take a look back at what things were like 10 years ago in regards to OS, RAM, Storage, etc and contrast that with today's realities. The big things that I key on are the 64-bit OS enabling more RAM to be available, multi-core CPUs, and the surge of SSDs. I also have some fun with gazing 10 years iinto the future with some wild guesses thrown in to lighten things up a bit.  I will give a 45,000 foot view of the features with the limited time and once again get the audience to think about the future and what's next and to get excited about SQL Server 2014.

So now the message is "Community and Cool Stuff".  The first half is centered around Community and what resources are available.  The call to action is to "Connect, Share, Learn" with specific attainable goals for that day.  Connect - Meet at least 10 new people. Share - Provide Feedback to the Speakers and Actively Particiapte in Sessions (perhaps by asking questions). Learn - Write down at least one tip from each session and review the list on Monday Morning.  The second half of the keynote is about SQL Server 2014.  The call to action is to get the CTP and get ahead of the curve.

In closing, developing a Keynote has been a lot of work, but it was fun to think of communicating at a different level.  Essentially I get to talk about some great resources in the community and some cool features in the upcoming release.  I plan on blogging about the experience afterwrads and hope to get some solid feedback to improve upon.  If you are attending SQL Saturday #250 in Pittsburgh, please say "Hello" on Saturday.  I am looking forward to being back "home" for the weekend.

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Rick Heiges said:

The organizers of SQL Saturday #250 in Pittsburgh did a great job at putting on their second SQL Saturday.

September 17, 2013 10:38 AM

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