T-SQL Tuesday 153 Roundup: The Conference That Changed Everything

I received a great collection of blog posts in response to T-SQL Tuesday 153 which I kicked off on Tuesday, August 2nd – asking you to write about a conference or event that had a significant event on their life. As one of the small handful of people who attended every PASS Summit from its founding through the pandemic lockdown, I’ve witnessed so many transformational experiences firsthand.

Human beings are social creatures and though we as IT pros like to focus on hard technology skills first and foremost, I think we can all admit that having a great social experience at a conference like the PASS Summit in North America, SQLBits in the UK, or Data Platform Summit in India is at least as important as the technical learning.

Let me also point out that it’s never too late to talk about this topic. First of all, I’d love to hear further stories or links to your stories as comments here. But also continue to blog and write about your experiences on social media. Sharing your positive experiences can also uplift others by seeing you as a role model to emulate or offering examples of experiences that they too can enjoy.

Many of these writers I can now call friends. For me, this is the heart of great conferences and a great community – building lasting relationships that stand the test of time. Here’s what others written about had to say in response to T-SQL Tuesday 153:

Aaron Bertrand (t|b), one of the brightest lights in the SQL Server sky, tells us about a time where presenting at a SQL Saturday event led to a decision to relocate and how that impacted his life henceforth –

Rob Farley (t|b), full-time comedian, musician, and pastor also knows a thing or three about SQL Server. He has made many PASS Summits an extra-special time for me by singing happy birthday to me at first sight no matter how many people might be between us. (Fwiw, my birthday and the PASS Summit coincided for several years in a row). He shares his story about how conference speaking led to wider opportunities as an entertainer, and more. You can see his blog post at https://lobsterpot.com.au/blog/2022/08/09/conferences/.

Kevin Chant (t|b), an online friend but not yet an in-person friend, tells about SQLBits XIII where his experiences with the friendly community of SQLBits and meeting Steve Wozniak made a lasting mark on him for years to come. Read more here – https://www.kevinrchant.com/2022/08/09/t-sql-tuesday-153-the-sqlbits-where-i-met-woz/

Andy Yun (t|b), SQL Server expert at Pure Storage and a friend for many years, has written about this topic before, under the fantastic title of Family Got Me Here, but adds another great stories here about the “kid’s table” – https://sqlbek.wordpress.com/2022/08/09/dont-forget-the-little-things/

Olivier Van Steenlandt (t|b), who I haven’t yet met in person but I hope to the next time I venture to Netherlands and/or Belbium, tells about how he became more involved in the wonderful SQL community of the Benelux region here – link: https://www.oliviervs.be/general/tsql-tuesday/t-sql-tuesday-153-the-conference-that-changed-everything-for-me/

Deepti Goguri (t|b), whom I’ve had several conversations with but only met online for the first time during the pandemic, tells us about the therapeutic and confidence-building power of attending and speaking at conferences. Read more here –

Malathi Mahadevan (t|b), a long-standing fixture of the SQL Server volunteer community, tells us about several events, from SQLCruise to the PASS Summit 2006 where she won the PASSion Award for volunteer of the year. Mala’s experiences at events are many and heart-warming. Read more – https://curiousaboutdata.com/2022/08/09/t-sql-tuesday-153-the-conference-that-changed-everything/

Shane O’Neill (t|b), a leader in the Irish SQL Server community and an organizer of the DBAFundamentals group, tells my favorite kind of story about the people he has met and the relationships he has formed by attending conferences. Read his story at https://nocolumnname.blog/2022/08/09/t-sql-tuesday-153-the-conference-that-changed-everything/

Steve Jones (t|b), one of the greats of #sqlfamily and an abundant source of the best hugs, tells us a fun story about his first PASS Summit in 1999 and getting to meet one of the legendary figures of #sqlfamily – https://voiceofthedba.com/2022/08/09/the-conference-of-the-year-t-sql-tuesday-153/

Todd Kleinhans (t|b), both a VR expert and SQL Server expert, shares some great experiences he has had over the years and how the #sqlfamily is so much like a true family, a community where love and job abide –  https://toddkleinhans.wordpress.com/2022/08/10/t-sql-tuesday-153-looking-back-at-pass-2011-mvp-authors/

Greg Moore (t|b), who I only met for the first time about a year ago in a SQL Server online meetup, tells how attending a PASS Summit enabled him to meet the one and only Kathi Kellenberger and how that in turn led to the fulfillment of one of his dreams, becoming a published author. Read more at https://blog.greenms.com/2022/08/09/t-sql-tuesday-the-conference-that-changed-everything-for-me/

Andy Levy (t|b) talks about finding his people, a refrain we hear quite frequently among #sqlfamily, and growing tight with DBATools team. He helps out the SQL Server community quite a lot in upstate New York region and is also quite active on the SQL Server community on Slack. Read the details here – https://www.flxsql.com/2022/08/09/t-sql-tuesday-153-conference-changed-it-all/

Dr. Greg Low (t|b), one of the few celebrities of the SQL Server world who can entertain you with stories from just about every era of computing from mainframes of the 1970’s to the cloud platforms of the 21st century, shares some great stories including one in which he was privileged to deliver a portion of the keynote at TechEd Australia 2004. Over the years, I’ve learned that some of Greg’s best stories are the those that are merely hinted at, for example this line from his blog, “Let’s just say that I’m glad I wasn’t part of the SharePoint section <of the keynote>.” Um, wait, what the heck happened in the SharePoint section?!? :^D Read more at

Nigel Foulkes-Nock (t|b) is a familiar face to speakers like me who are only able to visit the UK for events like SQLBits. He is strikingly memorable due to his height and friendly demeanor, but don’t tell him that. He still doesn’t know how I remember his name every time I see him. :^D Read about his experiences as a member of #sqlfamily from the UK point of view –

Tracy Boggiano (t|b) first burst onto the SQL Server scene back in 2015 with frenetic energy speaking at many events and blogging frequently, even organizing her own groups and webcasts. Tracy tells a story that warms my heart, how a tough childhood and mental health problems didn’t stop her from not only meeting her SQL Server heroes but also becoming a hero to others. Read on at https://tracyboggiano.com/archive/2022/08/t-sql-tuesday-153-sqlfamily/


There are many lessons we can glean from these blogs, but I want to highlight only of these – the SQL Server world might seem large and intimidating, but it is actually small and very approachable. Many of the writers above as well as speakers and writers everywhere in the #sqlfamily are thrilled to interact with those of us in the trenches working with SQL Server and related Microsoft products. If you have questions for them or simply want to meet them, reach out – you might just make a friend for life. Cheers!

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