Not Accepted for the PASS Summit 2015?

I guess it could be easy to become complacent about being selected to speak at conferences and you could certainly argue that I have been tremendously lucky with the selection process since I first broke into the speaking circuit in 2010. In 2011 I delivered my first lightning talk at the Summit and this was already off the back of me being the only European speaker (AFAIK) at SQLRally Orlando. Every year since then I have been fortunate enough to be selected to deliver one (or more) full session abstracts at the Summit and when combined with a nice collection of speaking gigs at SQLSaturdays, 24HOP and other events you could be forgiven for thinking that I must have the “magic touch”.

Except I haven’t.

There is no silver bullet to getting your abstracts selected, no single ingredient needed and a large dose of good luck required in order to get your sessions past the winning post. The point is that for every success there is usually a failure (I have failed frequently and often), but to win it -you have to be in it!

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Was I successful in 2015 or did I fail? Well I can tell you that this year I not only had 3 general sessions rejected but also had a further 2 pre-conference sessions hurled back my way. The only consolation was that with the rejections came 1 general session acceptance along with 1 lightning talk – but surely failure is the only way to describe such a small number of sessions accepted from such a large number of submissions?

Except it isn’t. Our successes are what truly define us and as the entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes once said “Failure is success if we learn from it”. This is summed up better by Thomas Edison who also said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. I will review those sessions that did not get selected and the reasons why, but I will not dwell on those failures any more than is necessary. I will learn from them, I will adapt and I will try again.

If you failed to get selected this year, my commiserations, but please keep on trying. You may be asking the question “why do the same people always appear to get selected every year when I am not?”. This is probably best explained by the simple fact that it is not that they are not succeeding more than you are, rather that they are failing more than you are (so that they may also succeed more). So avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, submit multiple sessions to many events and learn what works and what doesn’t -oh AND expect failure often, pray for good luck and enjoy those fleeting moments of success when they come! There isn’t a secret sauce for selection but there is a smörgåsbord of ingredients you can use to improve your chances of doing so. Find out what works best for you and eventually lady luck may shine your way.

Posted in Community, Events, Personal Development, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Announcing SharePoint Saturday Cambridge – We got two tribes

In 2013, SQLSaturday Cambridge became the first ever SQLSaturday in the World to host a dedicated SharePoint track and the event was a great success. It struck me at the time how well we managed to get a SharePoint audience at an event that was largely about SQL Server so with the support of our dedicated SharePoint sponsors (Combined Knowledge, K2 and AxioWorks), a fantastic addition of SharePoint speakers and with the expert help from the SharePoint community through Peter Baddeley (web|twitter) I think we managed to light the touch paper for my future plans for SQLSaturday Cambridge.

Since that event I have harbored a desire to continue our innovation with SQLSaturday Cambridge and I am therefore delighted to finally announce that as of yesterday our SharePoint “experiment” that we pioneered in 2013 is now an official reality through our sister event SharePoint Saturday Cambridge. A further call for speakers is open for SharePoint Saturday Cambridge and this will close no later than July 31st.

Both events will run on the same day, at the same venue and fall within the same scheduling constraints, but each have their own unique identities and tracks. If you are a SharePoint professional you may wish to only attend SharePoint sessions and if you are a SQL Server professional you may only wish to attend SQL sessions, however ALL tracks and BOTH events are available together for your enjoyment should you get curious. 2013 proved to us all that there is sufficient cross-over and plenty of curiosity between both communities and this is your chance to pick and choose your agenda to your hearts desire!

SQLSaturday Cambridge will host 24 sessions and SharePoint Saturday Cambridge will host 14 sessions, but together they will provide our combined audience of 300 people with a whopping 48 sessions across 8 tracks! Sponsors of either event will automatically be enrolled as a sponsor of the other so it is a win/ win situation all around!

This event is the first of its kind, and yet again Cambridge is leading the way with new ideas and innovations. Please make sure you register soon in order that you do not miss the fun. We are already 50% full and have several months to go and we *still* haven’t even notified past attendees, so please register through SharePoint Saturday Cambridge OR SQLSaturday Cambridge while you can (but please only register with one) and this will give you access to both events in their entirety!

I hope you are as excited as I am, and hope you can come and join the fun.

Shine on you crazy diamonds!

Further reading and social media
Current event schedule
SQLSaturday Cambridge/ SharePoint Saturday Cambridge News and Information
SharePoint Saturday Cambridge Event Home
SQLSaturday Cambridge Event Home
SharePoint Saturday Cambridge on Facebook
SharePoint Saturday Cambridge on Twitter
SQLSaturday Cambridge on Facebook
SQLSaturday Cambridge on Twitter

Posted in Events, SharePoint, SQL, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Speaking at SharePoint Saturday London

evoconfI don’t think it is any great secret that I have had my eyes on the SharePoint Community for quite some time. With the introduction of a dedicated SharePoint track (and precon) in 2013 at SQLSaturday Cambridge (a World 1st, I believe) and most recently my attendance of the three day annual SharePoint Evolution Conference in London, it has been clear to me for years that the SQL and SharePoint Communities and technologies are more closely related and integrated than I think most professionals would realize. They are simply just different perspectives on what is essentially the end goal of presenting data to the end-user.

Ironically SharePoint is focused on the empowerment of the end-user providing them with rich document management and search capabilities (and therefore opening access to data), and SQL Server is more focused on securing, preserving and restricting access to the data; however SQL is a primary pre-requisite in order for SharePoint to perform its magic.

After recently attending many dedicated SharePoint sessions and SQL Server focused sessions for SharePoint professionals at the Evolution Conference, it was obvious that all of these Speakers were very highly skilled in their profession. There was however something that niggled me a little -they were first and foremost SharePoint professionals so discussing SQL Server to a SharePoint audience seemed like the wrong way around to me. So while every speaker was either a SharePoint MCSM/ MVP or had extensive experience working with SharePoint solutions, there was no getting away from the fact that something was missing in these SQL (or SQL HA) for SharePoint Professionals style sessions.

After a quick chat during the event with Peter Baddeley (blog|twitter) about my intentions to one day submit some sessions to a SharePoint event in the future, his encouragement was such that I decided to do this sooner rather than later and promptly submitted an abstract to SharePoint Saturday London.

The SQL Server pre-requisite is one of the biggest problems SharePoint deployments face since most SQL Server deployments come with a Database Administrator in tow. From my own personal experiences, DBAs skillsets can range anything from awful to excellent (usually favoring the former), and in any case they usually have zero understanding about SharePoint Configurations. SharePoint professionals are at the mercy of these (bad) DBAs and I want to provide them with an authoritative (of sorts) reference point from a SQL Server MCM so that they can understand how SQL Server *really* works, why it works this way, and how you should configure it with SharePoint deployments in mind. I aim to go slightly deeper than would normally be the case for this style of session because I firmly believe that having a comprehensive understanding of the core SQL subjects will arm SharePoint professionals with enough information to push through changes within their own company’s SQL Server environment.

My session SharePoint is from Mars, SQL Server is from Venus was born, and I am delighted that it has been selected. I cannot wait to be part of what I know will be a great event and look forward to seeing you there.

Posted in Events, SharePoint, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged , | 2 Comments