Author: Stuart Moore

New Session option open for submission

New Session option open for submission

There’s been lots of talk recently about the optimum length for a conference sessions. Some people have been saying the standard 50 minute session is great, other saying that a 20 minute session works better

Not being afraid of a bit of A/B testing Data Relay has decided to open up our session submissions to allow both Standard Sessions (50 minutes) and Lightning Talks (25 minutes)

You are welcome to submit as many of each as you want. So if you’ve got a great idea but don’t think it’ll fill 50 minutes, then please submit if for a 25 minutes slot.

Remember you don’t need to do more than 1 event if you don’t want to. So this could be a great way to dip your toes into conference speaking at an event local to you. So if you’re in Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham or Bristol then now’s your chance

As always we’re offering feedback and help to first time submitters, please get in touch with us if you’d like some and we’ll help you out.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

SQL Relay becomes Data Relay

SQL Relay becomes Data Relay

Data Relay Logo

We’re aware that some of you may not have been aware of our rebranding last year.

For the last 10 years SQL Relay have been crossing the country bringing free quality SQL Server sessions and workshops as part of a week long tour. As I’m sure most of our attendees are aware, SQL Server is a core part of Microsoft’s Data Platform. But, it is only a part of that Data Platform.

We found that we were bring in topics such as AI, DevOps, PowerShell, Azure, Data Bricks, Python and Machine Learning that don’t alway fit under the ‘SQL Server’ banner

In recognition of this the decision was taken in 2018 to rebrand our event from SQL Relay to Data Relay to show that we’re now covering the whole of the Microsoft Data Platform

Don’t worry, everything you’ve come to expect from SQL Relay will still be preset at Data Relay. 5 days of quality free sessions and workshops at venues around the country

All aboard the Data Bus

All aboard the Data Bus

Data Relay’s unique selling point is that we’re a travelling conference. Every day we setup in a new city, present great Microsoft Data Platform content, take everything down and move onto another city. This means moving our crew, our speakers and the conference paraphernalia every night

How do we get to the next city?

We used to use a small minibus, but this was cramped and didn’t let people have room to unwind or relax.

In 2018 we decided enough was enough, and moved up a good few steps on the conference travel ladder

We now book a 30 seater executive coach with a professional driver. This means larger seats with more room to stretch out. We have a large cargo hold so no need to have your suitcase on your lap or a pop up banner rattling behind you

Now we just cruise between the cities. What you do with the time is up to you. In 2018 we saw all of these options taken up at some point:

  • Sleep
  • Dial back into the office
  • Network
  • Just tune out with music and a book
  • Fix issues with open source projects

We want to keep it nice and chilled on the bus so people can do their own thing without being distracted or annoyed. All of the rules in our Code of Conduct apply as well

All speakers will get a seat between cities they are speaking in if doing more than one, and so will people volunteering to help at multiple events

How many events do Speakers have to do?

How many events do Speakers have to do?

Data Relay is a week long event, where we do 5 one day conferences, each of which is in a different city

So do we expect speakers to commit to a full week of 5 events?

Of course not! We understand that this is a major commitment from the speaker, the speaker’s family and their employer to let them gallivant around the country for a week of fun

Speakers are welcome to submit for as many or as few events as they want to.

If you only want to do 1 day at your local event, that’s fine with us

If you can can only do Monday and Thursday, we’re cool with that

If you want to commit to all 5 days, we salute your resolve

If you want to do just 1 event, and don’t mind which day, we can work with that as well

Basically any combination of the events is fine with us

Your choice of days will NOT impact your chances of selection. The voting panel will NOT see this information when they choose sessions. So all session submissions will carry the same weight no matter how many or which events you want to commit to.

And we know we’re asking you to sign up to dates a long way out, so we’re flexible. We will work with you if things change and work with you to make sure it all works out for you and us. At the end of the day, if we’ve selected you we want you to present your content, so we’ll make sure we do our best to have you present it when and where you want to.

If you’ve any questions, then please get in touch:


Why Speak at Data Relay

Why Speak at Data Relay

We’ve opened our 2019 Call for Papers

The Call for Papers for Data Relay 2019 is now open. We’re looking for high quality sessions covering any topic related to the Microsoft Data Platform. If you can think of a topic we’ve either had it or accept it. Over the last couple of tours the topics have included

  • SQL Server Data Engine
  • Machine Learning
  • Azure Data Factory
  • R
  • Performance Tuning
  • Hadoop
  • Python
  • DevOps
  • PowerShell
  • Azure Service Bus

So whatever topic you want to talk about, there’s a good chance we’ll be interested in.

While we love our regular speakers we are always looking to welcome new people. Whether you’re new to Data Relay or just new to presenting we welcome you all.

Why should you want to speak at Data Relay?

So why should you speak at Data Relay?

Learning

One of the best ways to dive deep into a technical topic is to write a presentation about it. Whenever I write a presentation, even on a topic I know, I discover a lot more about the intricacies of the topic and writing the demos exposes new pitfalls I’d never thought about

And there’s a good chance you’ll pick up some new knowledge as well. When you have so much Data Platform knowledge in one place, it’s inevitable that you’re going to pick some up, either in sessions or in conversations on the Data Bus

Meeting People

The UK has a great Data Platform community and a good chunk of it comes along to Data Relay. So this is a great opportunity to meet lots of new people and network

Career Development

Lots of employers now want something extra from prospective employees. Showing that you’ve experience of presenting technical content at a national level is a great way to stand out

Fun

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Data Relay is a lot of fun to be involved in. None of use get paid to do it, so there’s got to be some reason we come back every year!

Paying it Forward

Many of us have learnt new things from community events or blog posts that have helped us to get where we are. Now it’s our chance to provide new and update content to the community

We’re here to help

Data Relay is committed to helping new speakers or those stepping up from Usergroup events. Many of the organising committee have years of presenting experience and are members of Speaking Mentors, and want to help you submit. To encourage you to submit we have the following in place

  • Mentoring on writing a compelling submission
  • Blind session selection to avoid bias
  • Code of Conduct to make everyone feel welcome and safe
  • Pre event feedback on presentations
  • No requirement to do all 5 days, pick those that work for you
  • Flexible on schedules, we can work with you to pick slot times
  • Transport included between events

And we’re always happy to hear from you if there’s something else that would encourage you to submit. We really do want to make sure we’re presenting the best topics from the best speakers so want to be as inclusive as possible

If you’re still undecided about speaking at Data Relay then please get in touch and we’ll do our best to convince you: