Postgres Events: PgSQLPhriday #014
It is PgSQLPhriday time again! This month's event is PgSQLPhriday (#014) and is hosted by Pavlo Golub. I'm barely making the deadline, but didn't want to miss this one! Pavlo chose PostgreSQL Events for the focus for this month's topic. See his post for the full details. As always, I can't wait to read the rest of the contributions this month. This post addresses roughly three of his questions.
It just so happens, I finally got to meet Pavlo in person at the PASS 2023 summit in Seattle, Washington! 👋
Q: "Discuss the importance of networking. Have you formed valuable connections or partnerships as a result of these events?"
Absolutely, I have formed valuable connections from participating in events! I have participated in community events fairly consistently over the past 10+ years. Some of my most impactful connections have been made through networking at these events. At PASS a few weeks ago, I got to see old friends, made a variety of new connections, and finally met half a dozen people I've "internet-known" for years!
Advantages by Modality
Q: "What unique advantages and challenges does each setting present? How has the shift to virtual impacted your engagement with the PostgreSQL community?"
The big advantage to in-person settings is the networking and quality of interactions. You get to meet people, talk with them at lunch, and have proper discussions and dialog. You get the full experience of tone, gestures, and body language.
Two big advantages to virtual are the low cost and easy ability to share content long-term. Cost is low because there's no need for a flight, hotel, rental car, or per diem. Long term sharing is easy because recording a virtual session is a built-in feature of the technology. Thanks to doing virtual sessions, I have nine recordings of virtual talks I've given since late 2019 (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine).
The switch to virtual is welcomed by me! If you look at my 6-part virtual series on PostGIS and OpenStreetMap, it ran from December 11, 2019 through March 4, 2020. We were finishing that series by the time COVID-19 was forcing the world into virtual meetings. I started planning that virtual series with PostgresConf earlier that year (March 2019) while we were in New York City for that in-person conference.
While I absolutely love there are more virtual options than ever before, I do not want to lose the opportunity for in-person events. Both bring different elements to the table, and I think we're all better off with multiple types of learning and networking available.
Q: "If you’ve ever taken on the roles of organizer or speaker, share your unique behind-the-scenes experiences. What motivated you to share your expertise or contribute your time and efforts to the event’s organization? How did you prepare for speaking engagements or event planning?"
My first big presentation was in 2012 at the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) conference in New Orleans. My talk was about building dashboards in Excel with data from MS SQL Server using VBA. My first surprise was when my talk was accepted. The bigger surprise was when I had a packed room with 120 people, standing room only! Luckily for me, my real preparation for speaking was from piano lessons growing up. I practice slowly, fix errors quickly, and work up muscle memory. As the event approaches, I pace around and talk through my session using the clicker. I practice long versions and short versions of various sections to help adapt if I'm running short or long.
My motivation to speak is the same basic motivation behind this blog. I spent the early years of my technical career reading the freely available writings of others (Joel Spolsky, Phil Factor, Steve Jones, and more) who shared their valuable experience. Knowing how much value I gained from others, I wanted to give back to the community and pay it forward to future developers.
This has been my contribution to PgSQL Phriday this month. I look forward to reading the other contributions!
Thank you Pavlo for hosting and picking this great topic!
Published December 01, 2023
Last Updated December 01, 2023