in my last post I wrote about thinking of the tools as being a separate thing from the event. Not a complicated concept, but does it matter? Maybe. Let me pose one version of what the future might look like.

At a high level, it would be:

  • something.org, the host for an open source version of something like the SQLSaturday tools (user facing and admin). This could be nothing more than a github repo, but when combined with the next item I think it starts to look more like a non profit.
  • something.com. Provides white label hosting of the code at something.org, perfect for someone who ‘just wants to run a multi track (and maybe multi day!) event. There are real costs associated with hosting, so I’d guess that those would be covered through some combination of grants (if a non profit) and fees for paid events. Free events would be free (ideal) or very low cost, perhaps something in the $10-$50 range. An annual budget of a couple thousand maybe. A landing page that shows all upcoming events, regardless of brand.
  • SQLSaturday. Same ideals as before, perhaps fewer rules, but a lot more open on the hosting. Teams that want to run an event that align with the SQLSaturday philosophy could choose from free hosting (back ended by something.com above), running their own via the source code from something.org, perhaps some kind of documented mashup (sessionize + eventbrite + wordpress), or build their own. That way we’re providing the tools and the same low(er) friction way to get started, but not stifling innovation. At some point if someone comes up with somethingbetter.org we could switch to that too.

I like that approach for a couple of reasons. One is that it decouples the tools conversation from the SQLSaturday mission conversation (and with it, a lot of the frustration for many). The other is that it allows other communities to copy our model. Code Camp, Power BI, Devops, Docker, it’s a long list, but it doesn’t have to be tech. Pick a hobby you enjoy, this would give you the tools (the 5% I mentioned in the previous post) to get you started on a focused event.

To me all of that flows logically from open sourcing the event tools (or even documenting a mashup). It doesn’t take a lot more effort, but it could serve a lot more people.

Of course, the unknown is if we can get the SQLSaturday source code and how much effort it will be to unwind the DNN integration (I’m assuming we wouldn’t want to keep that). If not, or if we choose not to wait, then we could start building from scratch if we can find the volunteers and agree on the first few iterations towards something basic.