We’re already in the early stages of preparing for our 2015 SQL Saturday. One thing that was missing from this year’s event was local speakers; we just didn’t have many, and I’m hoping we can change that the next time around.
For a lot of people (myself included), getting into speaking can be intimidating. Do I even have something interesting to say? What if I can’t fill an entire hour (or 75 minutes)? What if I get everything all wrong?
One session held each day at PASS Summit may hold the answer - Lightning Talks. In a standard session time block, 5-7 speakers each present for only about 10 minutes each. Step up, hook up your laptop, talk about a very focused, narrowly-scoped topic, and then yield the floor to the next speaker.
I held my own “lightning talk” at work one day as an experiment. While working on some reports, I found an alternative way to write a portion of the query which resulted in a significant improvement in the execution plan. I brought my team together, gave a brief intro (basically, the preceding sentence here), then gave a demo:
- Present both versions of the query
- Explain the change made for the faster version
- Run the query
- Compare I/O and time statistics
- Compare the execution plans
- Wrap up
With a couple of questions and some technical difficulties sprinkled in, it was over in just under 15 minutes. Not bad, and with some practice & honing, I think I could get it to 10 minutes.
Could this work at SQL Saturday scale? I think it’s mostly a matter of finding volunteers. But this should be easier than full sessions. Everyone has at least one thing they’ve discovered, learned, experimented with or implemented in a creative way that’s worth sharing - even if it’s something very brief. With it being only 10-15 minutes, you don’t have to worry about filling a full session slot or losing the audience.