May Chicago PUG

I just published a post about our May meetup in my professional blog, and I wanted to add a couple more things to that.

Almost as always, I worried that people won’t come, that it’s too close to the conference, and that just having many of the world -class speakers, nobody would be interested in “made in Chicago.”

I was happy that my worries didn’t materialize, and I was happy to see new faces. Also, remembering my reflections on how to make this event more welcoming to the newcomers, I made sure to stop by and talk to the new members. I saw a female student, and I stopped by her after the talks were over to welcome her and encourage her to ask questions, and complimented her for being brave to come to the room full of unfamiliar faces.

I think she was very empowered by this conversation because she kept asking me about Postgres, my career, and lots of other things. I hope she will come again!

PG Day Chicago

I did it, and I did it! And it took me several days to realize that everything went well (mostly :)) and there is nothing to worry about and to lose sleep at night anymore!

My personal fitness stats: 19,000 steps on the day of the conference (that’s I never left the building between 7 AM and 8 PM!), and minus three pounds in three days (I absolutely did not need it). I do not know how I managed not to get sick the week of the conference – the weather was more than unpredictable, I didn’t sleep enough and worried about all sorts of things, and I almost lost my voice at the speaker’s dinner, but somehow managed to stay alive and well :)).

I have a long list of takeaways: buy lanyards myself, do not rely on people who order it the last minute (it didn’t arrive on time), do not turn away any volunteers (two people, including Anna, got sick and could not come), do not assign room monitoring to new volunteers (there was one disaster). Make sure there is water in all rooms, and test all the microphones. Possibly have the pre-conference dinner at the venue instead of a pub (I know that some would disagree). Advertise earlier and more aggressively. To be fair, I had two conferences in March, so I physically could not put enough effort into advertising. I am happy that we made it to 108 registrations, but it took me more effort than it should have.

Most importantly, people liked it. I had a lot of positive reviews. And it looks like now, I have it. I mean, this conference. So I will be busy every April 🙂

I Did It!

I can’t believe the conference is over, and it was a success! I can’t believe I did it. We did it! All this week, I worked so hard that I had no time for anything else!

We are done, and everything was great! Well, there are definitely things that could be done better and a lot of things I would do differently next time, but none was a disaster:)

I am happy 🙂

On The Same Topic, Again

On Sunday, I talked with my second cousin, who lives in Russia. We lived in the same apartment for the first twenty-two years of my life, so we had our share of hate and love, and I respect him both personally and professionally.

Unlike most of my family, he is not a technical person. He is a historian, and not like an amateur historian, and not like “the history of the USSR” historian. He specialized in the history of Russia in the 19th century, so one can only imagine how far from easy it was to stick with this topic for over forty years of research. In short, he knows it. Seriously.

So, I was talking to him, and we were about to say our goodbyes. Then he said he hoped the time would come when we saw each other again. He immediately corrected himself. He said that he did not see any of the future for Russia at all, and “if we exclude the complete collapse of the state,” the only non-catastrophic outcome he saw was the strengthening of dictatorship. He reiterated that the complete collapse would be the worst and that “he hoped we would never come to that.”

I told him that I saw our only hope in this complete collapse, and I did not see any possibility of rebuilding the nation without destroying everything that exists now. I added that I was thinking about Germany in 1947. He replied: yes, but there is one slight difference: in Gernamy in 1947, they had an external government. I said: yes, that’s what I mean, and then I realized that with all these positive things about him I mentioned at the beginning of the post, he still thinks that 1) nothing can be done, 2) anything is better than a potential collapse of the state.

And it’s extremely unfortunate.

Pg Day Paris

Today, I presented a talk in Paris for the first time! Once again, I saw many people I didn’t see since October and had great conversations! And – I am in Paris again!

We arrived yesterday, and guess what – there is another transportation strike going on! Fortunately, it was not as bad as in London last week! We walked around a little bit; saw the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame, and returned back to the hotel.

A view from our hotel window

More to come!

Still Traveling

I have 300 more pictures and 30 more stories to tell about the time I spent in Ireland, but life goes on, and I can’t keep up with it!

I arrived in Stockholm last night and spent the whole day not leaving the hotel, attending the conference, and talking to friends and peers. And tomorrow morning, I am leaving for Paris!

The whole conference was great, filled with presentations, meetings, and conversations!

Chicago PUG Meetup

On Tuesday, I hosted the second live meetup after the pandemic. I should have felt less anxious, but I didn’t. It was the first time I had invited speakers, and not even locals – people traveled, they made an effort to represent their company. Also, although I had a lot of RSVPs, the whole even was in danger because it was the day of the first snow, and nobody in Chicago wants to be out on the first day of snow unless they really need to be out.

Since most people have an option of working remotely, I was afraid that I will end up with zero participants. Fortunately, people came, although only half of those who RSVPed, but I was happy and thankful to everybody who came!

A Week In Review

In addition to all the things I am doing at work:

  • My next live meetup is next week, and I have guest speakers, and I can’t believe things are getting back to normal.
  • PG Day Chicago website is coming up next week as well, and we have the dates and the talks selection committee,
  • While doing actual work, I fixed a bug in my DIFF open source project and figured out how to create partitioned bitemporal tables (this means nothing for 99% of the readers, but what is important is that my work allows me to contribute to the open source projects)
  • And I hope to write a couple of professional blog posts during the weekend
  • And I am not behind on holiday planning!

The Conference Recap

I never had such a professionally-successful week! Starting from Monday, when I presented at Helsinki PUG and had such a positive response and new contacts in Aiven, continuing through the PG Conf EU was fantastic!
I told Boris that I would never have anything like this ever in my life, and he replied that he thinks it will always be like this now:).

We’ll see. The last time I thought “things are going my way” was before the pandemic. To be fair, if not for the pandemic, we won’t write the book. And for the past two months, I started to feel again that things are going my way, which is exciting and scary.

I had two talks, and both got tremendously positive responses. My first talk was on the first day, right after the keynotes, and I had two hundred people in the audience. I left fifteen minutes for questions, and people were asking even after that time. Pretty much each time I was alone in a hallway, somebody would approach me and ask something related to my talk. My second talk was on the last day of the conference, but still, there were many questions, and some people even offered to contribute to my projects. It’s a little bit scary when younger attendees ask to have a picture with you and tell you that you are their role model :).

Another thing that made me happy was that I saw a lot of my former colleagues, and nobody was mad at me; people still liked me and wanted to talk with me.

Also, we had a first program committee meeting, and my conference is progressing! I could not be happier with that development!

PG Conf EU

I am in Berlin – we came here last night, today was the first day of the conference, and my talk was the first talk after the keynote! I never talked at a conference with over 600 participants in a full room (there are four track, but I am pretty sure more than 100 people were listening to my talk!

All the presentations are so interesting, I wish I could be at four places at once! And people stop me and ask questions about my presentation, an I never had such level of interest!

Haven’t seen Berlin in the daylight yet :).