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.

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