Tag Archives: user group

Growing a community is not easy……

…… But it is a lot of fun!

Last Friday I put on a small community event in my home town (#SQLGrillen). It was no SQLSaturday, with just four sessions and only 2 months preparation time, but it was a lot of fun!

Why would you do this? Why for free?!

I’ve heard those two questions a lot recently in the run up to the event itself, but also over the last year since founding the Emsland SQL Server User Group.

It seems to confuse people greatly that I would want to spend my private/personal time on “work”. I have wondered if this is a regional bias (I live in a quite rural part of Germany), or maybe a cultural one (many people I have met in Germany strictly separate work from private life). If the cultural reasoning holds true, then it would explain some of the difficulties of getting attendees for the user group. Either way, I don’t consider it to be “work”. Of course there is an overlap, it is a SQL Server user group and I work with SQL Server. However, I find the social aspect of a user group/event to be almost as important as the technical side. I probably enjoy exchanging ideas/war stories with fellow data professionals more than the technical content – somehow, even though I’m an awkward geek, the human interaction is the source of greater fulfillment.

Why would I do this for free? Why do people run marathons? Why do they join various other clubs in their spare time? Do they get paid to do this volunteer work? I think this goes back to the work/private life separation thing and people not understanding how I can mix the two.

Why would I not do this?

I have made some great friends and had some fantastic experiences as part of the community and hope to “infect” other people with the community virus. I also gained a lot in my career through the things I have learned (that I would never have been able to see in my normal work day) and have gained so many connections that I now don’t need to really look for new opportunities. If I wanted to swap jobs, I just need to explore the ones that get sent my way on a daily basis.

I am not that good that people want to hire me all the time, but being out there in the community makes me visible to companies/recruiters like nothing else.

We want you!

I realise that I am preaching to the choir when writing here (if you are reading a blog on SQL Server, you are already investing time that 99% of others don’t), but I’d still like to suggest that you get yourself involved in the community somehow. There are a wide range of tasks that User Groups, Events or Associations have that need doing and are too much for their current members/helpers to achieve. Even if you don’t want to speak, there is plenty of opportunity to get involved in another way.

So please, for the altruistic side of you, or for the “get ahead in my career” side of you; get in touch with your local User Group or Association and see if you can help out in some way. You will not regret it, I assure you.

P.S. Thanks to Rob Sewell ( b | t ) for the reminder: A few places for you to start would be finding your local PASS Chapter, or if there isn’t one where you are, there are also the Virtual Chapters.

Emsland SQL Server User Group

I have lived in the Emsland for over a decade and have missed visiting a user group that whole time.  The nearest one to me is about 90 minutes drive away, so was not really a viable option.

After starting to speak at conferences last year, I understand the need for local user groups. This is where people can meet more regularly than at conferences, where they can find like minded people who also live nearby (some conferences are on entirely different continents, which is cool, but makes it difficult to keep in touch).

With that in mind, I have decided that it is about time that the North West of Germany, or rather the Emsland, should have its own SQL Server User Group.

We are rushing the start a little, because I want to take advantage of having Jonathan Allen ( b | t ) over for a visit in June.

Our first meeting will be on the 19.06 starting at 17:30 (CST) at the IT Emsland in Lingen. Jonathan will be presenting his session “Extended Events – Not so tricky as you might think” (in English) and I will be presenting my session “SQL Server Consolidation – Resistence is Futile” (English or German).

If you want to attend (or attend future meetings), please let me know. We have a contact formular setup or you can get in touch with my via Twitter or email (william_durkin at live dot com).

I look forward to how this turns out.

See you there!