Last minute thoughts for Summit 2014

I have written before about Summit and the kind of things to take/pack/do. But I feel that some things have changed and that I am smarter now so I want to revisit this list.



Before a trip we use the dining room table as a place to hold things we want to take and don’t currently need to use. We fondly refer to this as the staging table. I started staging things about a week or so ago. Also make a list of things you don’t want to be without during your trip so you can check it off as it goes in the bag.

  • If you plan on doing any shopping throw a reusable shopping bag in. Seattle charges you for plastic bags and then I feel dirty throwing it out.
  • Bring a water bottle. I found that Summit is generally only equipped with water coolers and small cups. You need to stay hydrated.
  • Bring a rain tolerant jacket. I feel like it must mist on you every day regardless of the forecast. Mine is lined so it’s warm too.
    • On that note I also have a pair of thin gloves. My hands get really cold and I just hate that.
    • I also try not to wear it to the conference center. I want a sweater to stay warm not a noisy jacket.
  • Do you suffer from afternoon crashes? Bring some protein bars, snacks or something to keep you going. They don’t serve anything after lunch.
  • Pack a comfy, I feel like crap and want to be in my room outfit. Why? You may still want to go to the hotel for breakfast and you feel like crap.
  • Portable battery supply. I find it hard to be on my phone all day and it have any juice for after hours. Also anytime you have a chance to get power, do so.
  • Extra bag to bring home stuff. We have a decent size duffle that zips into a small square, we will unpack it and fill it for returning home. Guaranteed.
  • Extra pants. I really think getting in and out of cabs, restaurant booths, and every other public place you sit causes your cloths to feel dirty faster.


How to survive

I know everyone tells you drink in moderation, drink lots of water and get some sleep. I mean if you follow those rules you’ll be fine. But of course accidents do happen and I have a few tips for surviving.

  • Bring a pair of sunglasses. Mother nature will punish you with a sunny day and you will need to walk somewhere, trust me.
  • Charcoal tablets. They might not work for everyone but I have found that they sure help at least my stomach feel better. I have taken them before going out, again at bed time and in the am.
  • Nuun Active Hydration. I saw a few runners talking about this stuff. Best part is that 1 tube has 12 tablets.
  • Electrolyte Stamina pills. I can’t take credit for finding these but they work because they make you retain water. No bitching about cankles, dehydration is why you feel like crap.
  • Eat. I have been dieting and doing rather well a lot of times I find it difficult to keep on track while traveling. But one thing I will do no matter what is eat a little something every time I get a chance. You never know how long it will be before you get to some place where you’ll be able to get second dinner or early breakfast.


Several things that I find useful/important when being at Summit.

  • Get an Uber account and get it installed on your phone. Since they now have a windows app I have done this. Great news I have a $10 credit.
  • Get some cash. I never have have money on me but I have learned that getting singles and small bills before going on a trip is critical. You need to tip baggage handlers, split cab rides, tip the hotel cleaning staff and sometimes you are in a hurry so throwing $5 on the table and leaving is a good thing.
  • Got a windows phone? Get office lens. You can take a photo of text items and it will convert it for you to a OneNote or word document. I love it.
  • Problems, everyone has them. Why not find one of your pain points at work and bring it with you. You should most certainly be able to find someone that will shed some light. You’ll go back to work looking like a hero and prove the value of this trip in seconds.
  • Make a reasonable schedule for keeping up with loved ones at home. I am lucky because my husband (#SQLWedding) is there with me and I don’t have children, just dogs. Remember the time zone difference and try not to schedule things at meal times (yours or theirs) or networking events, you don’t want to miss those. But you need to make time.
  • If you get a car from the airport, yes there is like a < $3 train follow Tam’s rule of thumb and you’ll be most happy. 1) tip nicely 2) get a card and ask if they do any other trips around town and 3) ask if you can call them. They like repeat service. Our driver just happened to be dropping off folks from the airport when we needed a ride, he took us in  the GIANT BLACK SUV where we needed for only $5.
  • The time change happens Saturday night into Sunday – just a reminder!
  • Use TripIt. It will hold everything for you and you can share trips with friends. Really awesome to have everything just sitting in one place. There  is also a calendar export option.
  • Make a schedule and mark your alternates, you may find the room full and need to make a mad dash somewhere stopping to look up what you want takes to long.


    • Write things down. Someone hands you a business card as soon as they turn away write on it. This is the only way I remember why I was talking to them and what I need to do for follow up.
      • Speaking of follow up. When you get back home I recommend within the first 10-12 days sending emails to any of these people you really want to keep in touch with. Also a good time to add them on linked in. It is such an easy intro “Hi Tammy, it was so great meeting you at Summit. Would you mind sending me that slide deck with those instructions I really think those will help me with a problem I am having.”<-see how easy that was

  • Get on foursquare or what ever they want to call it, you will be able to see where groups of people are hanging out based on check ins. You’ll need to find people to follow so work fast.
  • Twitter, I mean we shouldn’t still be telling you this but you need a twitter account. You’ll know where groups are hanging out, you can get directions, find someone to walk with and when you get back to work you can use the #SQLHelp tag to seek advice in solving problems you post. Heck you might find yourself able to help someone else out.
  • Go to the community zone. There are people from the community (MVPs, Chapter Leaders, Regional Mentors and etc.) scheduled to be there daily. You can ask for help finding a chapter, running a Chapter or even get some ideas on organizing a SQLSaturday.
  • GO TO THINGS! Don’t sit in your room. You never know how the people you meet will change your life.

Things to know

  • There is a nice City Target just down the street so if you find you have forgotten something no worries. I got new socks there last time.
  • You should talk your boss into buying the session recordings, for $195 you can have team meetings and share the learning.
  • You should try to hit Pikes, it is something to see.

Just one more thing, remember we are all different and a lot of us don’t like crowds, new people and etc. That however is no excuse, we all have issues, you won’t from die just talking to a stranger.

What an honor.

I am so excited and honored to share some exciting news. Last week I got a few burst of good news and I just can’t keep it inside any more. Honestly I just wanted to SING out loud.

I have been officially accepted into the Dun & Bradstreet MVP program. I am so delighted to have this honor and I am looking forward to the great things we can do together!!!

Of course I am not getting an Grammy or anything but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get 30 seconds to thank a few folks. First OMG a great big thanks to Kim Schmidt [ FACEBOOK | Twitter . . . → Read More: What an honor.

Farewell TechEd

Microsoft announced last week the name of its new all in one conference that would take the place of several other items, one of which is TechEd. There is still one last chance to attend a TechEd, Europe conference but it starts on October 28 and it in Barcelona Spain. MS Ignite will happen May 2015 in Chicago. But honestly that isn’t what I wanted to talk about.

For the last 2 years I have attended TechEd and represented PASS at their booth on the vendor floor. 2013 was spectacular! Our booth saw a lot of traffic. People coming by asking technical questions, learning about SQLSaturday and finding local chapters. . . . → Read More: Farewell TechEd

SQLSaturday Schedule printing, now made easier.

I have been playing with Power BI items lately and have found some really good uses and some really big shortcomings. But today while I was playing with something an idea popped into my head. As a SQLSaturday organizer I found creating the schedule for print was a PITA. I have seen people just print the screen, which makes blowing it up to poster size a bit of a mess. I had to cut and paste, fix, format and it ends up a hot mess like below so I think I ended up just typing it.

So let me give you a better option. This is so easy I . . . → Read More: SQLSaturday Schedule printing, now made easier.

I’m not that kind of smart

AKA: Why I haven’t gotten certified.

I have never really been one to worry about how many acronyms you could tag after your name. And to be quite honest it never really mattered to me how big those letters actually were, because at the end of the day you put your pants on the same way I do every single morning. But that isn’t what I want to post about.

I have been asked before why I don’t spend some of this current free time working on getting certified. All this time I have deferred the question and made up excuses I really never thought it through until recently. Last . . . → Read More: I’m not that kind of smart

Countdown to PASS Summit 2014

Just in case you needed a gentle reminder.


Time till 1st meeting (Volunteer Meeting Room 2AB)



Time till Summit Kick-Off (Welcome Reception)

PASS, Stickers, and BaCon

There has been a lot of things going on within the #SQLCommunity lately. Largely based on decisions the PASS Board of Directors have made recently. Some folks are out right against some things, others are like “MEH” what ever this too shall pass and some are agreeing to see change but don’t exactly like what/how it is happening.

Last night while talking with friends about some of these happenings Kerry walked into the dinning room and picked up a stray PASS sticker. You see I have a bag that I carry to events that has a small stash of swag, mostly stickers and a few pins. Some how one little . . . → Read More: PASS, Stickers, and BaCon

Evolution of Family

It always comes to me as a surprise that it is TSQL Tuesday again. I guess time just slips by so quickly these days. This month our wonderful host is Jeffrey Verheul [ B L O G | TWITTER ]. The writing challenge of this month is to talk about #sqlfamily. If you haven’t heard about or figured out what this Tuesday stuff is all about drop me a line and I will not only sell you on the concept I will convince you to write your first post for next month.


This month I would like to give everyone the opportunity to write about SQL Family. The . . . → Read More: Evolution of Family

Indianapolis here I come!

Well here we are middle of summer and I have been on a bit of a traveling break. Been home since early June and to be honest I have loved every moment of it. That being said I really miss my #SQLFamily.

We are headed to Indianapolis Indiana for #SQLSat 304. My friend Hope [ B L O G | TWITTER ] is putting together another great event and she’s even offered me an opportunity to speak. I will be presenting 45 Minutes to Your First SSRS Report. Also presenting is my dear friend Joseph D’Antoni [ B L O G | TWITTER ] and my lovely husband Kerry Tyler . . . → Read More: Indianapolis here I come!

Nom-Com 2014

I swore last year that I wouldn’t do this if I had to run a campaign to be on a committee. Well here we are, guess I got some explaining to do. But first let me remind you of last year

I wrote a series about my experience that basically ended up being 4 blog post(below).

Nom-Com Part 1 (Just getting started with the reading)

Nom-Com Part 2 (Discuss application ranking)

Nom-Com Part 3 (Details to what the NomCom was asked to do)

Nom-Com Part 4 (Summary and a request for changes to be made)


The committee last year didn’t have to run as only 3 people threw their . . . → Read More: Nom-Com 2014