For 2022’s SQL Saturday event, the Memphis Data Professionals (formerly known as MemPASS) decided to forgo a virtual or hybrid event and return to a fully in-person event. The primary reason for this decision was simplicity, as running a hybrid event would require A/V configuration, online moderation, etc. In addition to simplicity, Zoom exhaustion is real, and we were excited to spend time with the community in person.
This was our first in-person SQL Saturday since 2019, as well as overall being one of the first in-person events our group has held since 2020. The event was hosted at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis, and we are very grateful to them for letting us use their facilities.
Steve Jones was extremely helpful in helping us organize everything, from start to finish. We are especially grateful for him arranging a donation from Microsoft that helped to cover many of the expenses we incurred.
We hosted the event’s signup page on Meetup, as part of the larger Memphis Technology User Groups. This allowed us to advertise the event to a group of almost 6,000 local techies. Since we wouldn’t be charging admission, Meetup was the simplest way to both advertise the event and handle registration.
The leadership team started planning this event in June, with standing monthly meetings and informal check-ins in between. Given our relationship with the University of Memphis, securing the venue was quick. Our call for speakers was primarily done by personally reaching out to friends of the group, which simplified that process greatly. We were fortunate to still have leftover supplies from our last in-person SQL Saturday event, with Rob graciously shopping for what was missing, as well as all of the food and drinks. In all, around 12 hours were spent planning the event.
- 75 RSVPs on Meetup
- Actual max attendance - 30
- 6 speakers in a single track
- 8 gift card giveaways to attendees throughout the day
- Gift cards also given to speakers as thanks
- Drinks, snacks, and lunch were provided to attendees
Overall, the event was successful in our opinion. We received great feedback from attendees, and people were excited to be back in person. Our speakers were incredible and they all had awesome sessions - all of our thanks goes to them! The attendance was lower than we had hoped, but there were heavy rainstorms throughout the day which could have contributed to that. The donation from Microsoft allowed us to have plenty of giveaways, plus free lunch, that helped keep attendees at the event all day. A single speaker track was great in terms of keeping things simple, but it did limit our ability to have focused tracks. We are hoping to build on the momentum from this event moving into 2023, and would like to have multi-track events in the future.
Keep up with SQL Saturday
SQL Saturday is an independent 501.c.3 charity that seeks to promote and assist local organizers in running free events. Remind others to register for our mailing list to keep up with what is happening: http://eepurl.com/hwVBKn