The SQL Community is like no other. Really! I’ve been part of many technology related communities during my career and no other has felt as well rounded and stable as the SQL Community. This can be seen in social networking tools such as Twitter and how the SQL Community embraces them to enhance the flow and sharing of knowledge and skills. It can be seen from the top SQL Server companies in the world such as SQL Skills, freely exchanging all they have to offer from their highly skilled employees. It can be seen in groups that are created by community leaders and mentors such as SQL People.
Recently, another community leader and coworker of mine at Magenic, Aaron Lowe (T | B), created another group, SQL Friends, that I believe is one of those community enhancing concepts and groups that will benefit the community so much, that it will be as valued as much as the networking power of SQL Saturday events and SQLPASS networking sessions.
The best way I can explain SQL Friends and what it is would be to tell you a situation that relates to what Aaron and SQL Friends are doing.
A few years ago, I was attending my first SQL PASS Summit. As with any first timer, as the badge told everyone I was, I scheduled sessions to attend and events to find. The schedule was, of course, manipulated a little, and at one point I ended up sitting out all the sessions and networking in the commons area with friends in the community. While doing this, I noticed that there were many people sitting alone in the commons area and small pockets of tables spread around the event. When I saw this, I decided to skip most of the sessions I had planned to attend and instead, wander the halls during the normal sessions and work on networking with those small pockets of people. During that time, I found that almost all of them were eager to get into conversations, not simply about SQL Server but the MVP program, PASS, and all kinds of other community related topics. Many asked me questions about writing, blogging, twitter, and my career. In fact, only 3 or 4 of the people I had the pleasure of talking to, asked me a direct SQL Server technical question. The conversations were almost exclusively, “How do you do what you do and why should I?”
I took more away from doing that during my first PASS Summit than anything. I also took away energy and ambition to help even more than I did prior to that, in getting more SQL Server and Database Professionals involved in the community.
SQLFriends.org and Aaron have packaged this and made it an event that we can now rely on. The networking that I did that first year at the PASS Summit is the same networking you can do at a SQLFriends event. There isn’t a technical theme. No agenda. There is only networking, questions you want to ask that maybe, the time just never permits or situation is not appropriate to ask them otherwise. Do you want to know what it’s like to write a book, be an MVP, be a presenter, or work for a company like Magenic as a consultant? The ORs are limitless to what you can ask.
There are no bounds here other than; you can ask leaders and mentors in the community anything you want with no limits on the questions.
The cool part of this
The coolest part of this is I get to be on the hot seat at the next SQLFriends event!
On May 18th, 2012, the next SQLFriends lunch will be held. I’m as excited about this event as any other the year has in store for me. May in the Chicago area is going to be busy, too. SQL Saturday in Chicago is May 19th. I think this is a great mix of events. You can come have lunch with SQLFriends and follow it up with SQL Saturday the next day. Oh, I hear Jes Borland (T | B) is registered too. I just hope that means you are ignoring me to ask her all the questions. ;-)
I really hope to see you May 18th AND May 19th. Get registered for SQLFriends to secure your spot. The last time, the spots went quick!