New England Data Camp v1.0 Results

January 26, 2009 at 8:23 am (PASS, SNESSUG, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008) (, , , )

I believe that the very first New England Data Camp was a success. We had about 185 attendees. There 18 sessions from 16 speakers. Both the sessions I gave and the one I sat in on were full. Credit goes to to Adam Machanic who did 90% of the work pulling this together. Amazing job Adam. My personal thanks to our sponsors.  First, Microsoft, who provided us with a magnificent facility, nice swag, a full AV suite, coffee and donuts and in the morning, and a lot of help. It wouldn’t have come out as well as it did without you guys. Next, the Professional Association of SQL Server Users (PASS), who supplied us with money, without which we could not have eaten lunch, a few posters to decorate the place and a nice Powerpoint template. Good job guys. Finally, Red Gate, those t-shirts were very handy. Thanks again.

A special thank you to the speakers. You guys rock, and from the evaluations I saw, others think so too. You volunteered to come in on a Saturday to share with others. That’s pretty special.

Thanks to Dave Mulanaphy from SNESSUG. He did a ton of work before the event and was a huge help that day. It wouldn’t have been a success without him. Thanks Dave.

I saw about 1/4 of the evals, and except for getting dinged on food (more on that in a moment), the Data Camp was very well received and I saw many requests that we do another.

Food. Yes, pizza is not the healthiest choice. Yes, I like pepperoni too. But guys, you’re getting first class training and breakfast and lunch, all for free. You need to cut us some slack because we’re doing the best we can to get as much together as quickly as possible. Pizza is easy. We spent, are you ready, $1400 on pizza. We only had $1200 in donations. We spent another $100 on drinks. That’s $300 that came out of the two user NOT FOR PROFIT user groups that hosted the event. We did the best we could (or Adam did, I just pitched in) and, as someone else pointed out, the door wasn’t locked and you came there in a car. If you have special dietary needs, run out for lunch.

The two sessions I presented seemed to be very well received. I could have done with a bit more preparation on the Visual Studio Team System Database Edition  session. I hadn’t rehearsed the new version of the presentation enough and it showed in a couple of places. The execution plan session went well, I thought. The big “ooh” moment in that presentation surprised me. Most of the audience didn’t know about the little plus sign in the lower right of the Management Studio execution plan window (it’s in 2005 and 2008 ) that lets you scroll around in an execution plan. When I get the full set of aggregated results from the evaluations, I’ll post them. I saw some positive feedback (thank you) and some interesting criticisms (thank you too).

Overall it was a great day. I hope Adam recovers and decides to put on another, but next time he should delegate more to others.


  1. Rachel said,

    Hi Grant,

    Glad it all went off well in the end. I second your virtual pat on the back for Adam M. He always seems to be so organised with these things.

    Once you’ve both caught your breath I bet you’ll be back on the go for the next one!

    Good job again, from all of us at Red Gate,

  2. scarydba said,

    Hey Rachel,

    Thanks again. You guys are so nice to pitch in for the community like you do. I appreciate it.

    By the way, you got a lot of free press during my presentations. I started typing in Visual Studio when SQL Prompt popped up to help me auto-complete some TSQL syntax. The audience went nuts. It was only about 50 people or so, but I’ll bet you get some hits. When I mentioned how much I liked your tools several audience members also piped up with positive feedback.

    In the second session on Execution Plans I plugged you guys again since you have copies of the book available. That’s another 50 or so hits that should come your way.

  3. Rachel said,

    You are too good to us Grant! But you do yourself a disservice. Your book on SQL Server Excecution Plans has had so many good comments about it, it’s unreal, and it’s all your work. We’re riding on the back of your success ;)

    Thanks for being such a great advocate for us!


  4. scarydba said,

    Thanks Rachel,

    I’m not too sure who is carying whom in this situation. I just appreciate you guys as a company and a set of people and don’t mind showing it.

  5. Andy Warren said,

    Nice write up Grant. Food is always a challenge and its just human nature to want things to be done well even if its free! I’d recommend working hard(er) at setting expectations – its free, limited budget, expect pizza, point out nearby alternatives. Just don’t forget you’ll almost always have vegetarians.

  6. Adam Machanic said,

    Thanks for the writeup, Grant! I’m going to do one soon too…

    Andy: We only ordered cheese pizzas. And Microsoft was kind enough to buy a huge number of donuts for the morning. One person gave the food a 1 (on a scale of 1 – 9) and left a comment “I hate donuts!” Another person gave the food a 3 and left a comment “What would have been wrong with a few pepperonis?” So this isn’t vegetarians, just people who have no appreciation for what they’re getting for free…

    Luckily some other people were a bit more thoughtful. One person gave the food a 9 and wrote “Lots of donuts and lots of pizza! Yum!” Another person said that the event was one of the best they’d attended. So I’m not completely giving up on my fellow human beings quite yet… And as I told the person who asked why we weren’t recording and webcasting the presentations, “if you want to get us more sponsorship money, we’ll be happy to do it!” :-)

  7. scarydba said,

    Thanks Andy,

    We were talking to the Microsoft guys before lunch (I wish I could remember their names). They told us to expect it. Actually they said, someone is going to come up and ask where their salad is. We didn’t get precisely that. Instead we got a “Can’t you offer healthier choices.” Which was close enough.

    I wouldn’t mind doing sandwhiches, just for variety, but most of the time those are prepared so much in advance that the meat is dry and the buns are soggy. Blech.

    It was decent pizza and we had plent of it, so no one (who could eat pizza) went hungry. In fact ordered a bit too much.

    That aside, it really was a good day.

  8. scarydba said,

    Hey Adam,

    I too saw a lot of really good comments on the event in the evals. The only serious complaints were for the food.

    BTW, I’ve said it several times, but it bears repeating. You did an outstanding job. Thank you. But next time, delegate more.

  9. Adam Machanic said,

    Thanks, Grant, and thanks again for the help… Next time you’ll feel much more pain, don’t worry ;-)

  10. scarydba said,

    Ah, but that means there will be a “next time.” Cool!

  11. Jack D Corbett said,

    Glad the day went well. Wish I could have been there and even presented. Maybe next time. Turns out I was driving around Northern NH and Central ME all day.

    I’ll never understand people who complain about a free day of training and free food.

  12. scarydba said,

    Or maybe I’ll find my way down south where it’s warm sometime. I’m pretty sure Adam will host one of these again and you’re welcome to come by. You could always present something at our little user group in Rhode Island too.

  13. Tom W said,

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to say job well done on this – my eval had perfect 9’s! I sat in on both of grant’s sessions – superb.

    Great training and free food – what more could you ask for.

    BTW, is there a location where the slides for the seesions are posted? I just had a chance to follow up on this and I am unable to find them via a Google search.

    Thanks again,

  14. scarydba said,



    Adam & I were supposed to put them all up on our respective user group’s web sites. I’ve been remiss in getting him mine. I’m not sure if he’s posted any yet. If so, they’ll be at

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