I am a #DataWeekender – schedule is live!

Data Weekender Schedule

The past ten days, I have spent quite some time promoting the virtual conference Data Community Weekender Europe, or #DataWeekender on May 2 2020. I’m one of six organizers, all people from the Microsoft Data community, better known as #sqlfamily. We saw conferences get cancelled or postponed and wanted to do something for the members of the community, speakers as well as conference attendees. So we came up with the idea to organize a virtual conference – #DataWeekender.

We are not alone, EightKB is another new Microsoft Data Platform conference, in June. And GroupBy is happening as usual in May. (I have submitted sessions to both, and for GroupBy, you are very welcome to vote for my session, as their sessions are picked by the community, not the organizers).

But #DataWeekender is probably the conference with the shortest time from idea to conference day. We opened up Call for Speakers April 8 and the conference is May 2. Given that short timeframe, I’m completely blown away by the number and quality of submissions. Doing session selections has been extremely difficult. If we created a new conference, with only the speakers and sessions we unfortunately had to reject, it would still be a very respectable conference schedule.

We still have a lot of work to do the coming less than two weeks leading up to the conference. And during the actual conference, the whole organising team will be busy moderating sessions. And until then, we need to test out conference technology, distribute and get confirmation on tons of information to speakers. And last but absolutely not least, we need to continue marketing the conference to attendees.

A very important milestone in the conference planning is now done. We have a schedule! Six tracks. 42 sessions. 43 speakers. Check it out on www.dataweekender.com/schedule ! Also checkout the speaker wall below, click on speaker name to see their bio and session.

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#DataWeekender is running on a zero budget. We haven’t accepted any sponsors and we are not charging anyone to attend. Speakers get a Thank You, and bragging rights for getting selected. But nobody is paid anything. That makes marketing a little different than commercial conferences. We also do not have the Sql Saturday platform to channel information to the community. Instead, we are relying on our contacts with User Groups all over Europe and our social media channels.

Therefore, I ask from you to help promoting the conference. The schedule will be up on www.dataweekender.com late tomorrow. Whenever you see information about #DataWeekender in your social media feeds, please help us share the information. We would be very happy if you also make a post on your own about it. The speaker line-up is truly an impressive one, with MVPs, Certified Masters, Microsoft Employees and other amazing Data Platform presenters. Please help us get that known to the Data Platform community. I’m going to be more active than usual on the blog, sharing news not suited for the Twitter limited number of characters.

I hope to see you on May 2!.

No SQL Saturdays, but #dataweekender is online

The forced upon social distancing is new and – to say the least – different! For me, this means I’m exploring my local surroundings (we have really beautiful walking and running paths close to my house) a LOT more than usual. I’m spending my lunches running instead of looking for the best indian restaurants around the office.

Data Community Weekender Europe conference May 2nd, Call for speakers end on April 17th

A big part of my – and thousands of other SQL Server professionals – life is the Microsoft Data Platform Community – the SQL Family. That has obviously also seen some recent changes. I was gonna spek on SQL Saturday in Zagreb and Stockholm, I planned to go to London for SQL Bits and I had ideas for the SQL Server Usergroup which I’m co-leading. None of that happened. Speakers around the world tell the same story.

But instead of letting Nothing replace all of that, new things are happening. I’m speaking in Ohio next week. Or at least I’m speaking to user groups whose members live in Ohio. Online obviously, I’m not travelling to Ohio for a tuesday and a wednesday session. For the swedish SQL Server Usergroup (SQLUG Sweden), we were delighted to have Mark Hayes (T) speak about Power Platform the other day (Thanks Mark!).

Another thing which is happening is that online conferences are popping up. Me and a group of SQL Community organisers decided it’s too booring to just wait for social distancing rules to pass. That’s how Data Community Weekender Europe started. It’s really a crazy idea. From when Call For Speakers page came up, to when the conference happens (May 2nd), it’s roughly three weeks. In that time, we in the organising committee need to market the event to potential speakers, get session submissions in in a timeframe which is one tenth of a normal conference, do session selection, market the event to attendees and get the technical platform in place. Plus potentially recruiting volounteers for event day. But guess what? We WILL do it. We already have some great session submissions in and we’re working out the technical platform. We in the organising committee are all seasoned SQL Community organisers. We have pulled off crazy schedules before, though perhaps not at this scale. But we WILL pull it off. Stay tuned for the attendee registration. It will be announced here and on social platforms.

If you’re a Microsoft Data Platform speaker, send in your submission! It won’t be like attending a physical conference. The speakers’ dinner will be much less crowded, you’ll have to have your post session beer on your own. But you’ll be able to provide your amazing content. So thank you in advance, for submitting to this crazy idea of a conference!!