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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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!

Catching Up

Today first time after Sunday, my eye does not hurt, and I am trying to catch up for the lost time. I am still not sure when and if I will be able to wear contacts, so my head still hurts, but at least the eye is (almost) fine. I still feel it, but it is so much better, and I am so eager to do everything I could not do in the past several days!

Unfortunately, this week was going to be busy even without the vision crisis, and also – I am leaving Sunday night, so I am still horrified by the amount of work I need to do before I leave. And at the same time, I am terribly sorry that I am missing the whole European Film Festival – there were so many movies I wanted to watch, and I watched zero!

I am very well aware of how a person’s brain works, so I know that if I got to see zero, the festival would be lower in my list of priorities than other things… but I am still sad.

On the positive side, I finally made it to ODS, and we had a “make your own pizza” dinner, and it was a lot of fun. Almost all of the youth participated, and we all laughed and joked. I talked to several newcomers, and one boy who had been there for a while was really happy that I remembered his name. Some pizzas turned out very well, some – not so much, but nobody went hungry!

On Wednesday, I hosted Chicago PUG and not only hosted but also presented. I rehearsed a talk which I will be giving in Paris in two weeks. There were very few RSVPs, and I worried that nobody would come, but that was one of these rare cases when pretty much everybody showed up! All the pizza was gone – it almost never happens!

My talk was very well received, and I got a lot of helpful comments, so I am going to make some changes to the presentation. Overall, both Tuesday and Wednesday were great. I was so miserable with my eye, and the fact that I was surrounded by people, and people liked what I was doing, made me feel tons better.

Finally, today I made a recording for Citus Con. I didn’t want to submit anything to this conference because I knew I won’t have time, but the organizers asked me and told me that they would place me on the on-demand trek and that they would record me when I have time. And then, out of three talks I submitted, they selected the one which was completely unprepared! So I had to work on that one, in addition to my talk for Paris (and my reserve talk!)

Still, I didn’t want to cancel, because I knew that this would be a great opportunity to promote my new talk and new ideas, so I made time :). The talk was recorded by the organizers, and they will do the edits and everything. It went really well (I rehearsed it three times because the timeslots were shorter than usual – 25 min – and I wanted to make sure everything would fit. There were lots of technical difficulties during the recording, but after everything was resolved I was able to present well enough so that there was no need for re-recording. I feel pretty good about this, as well as the fact that the organizers loved my talk so much. And about me comfortable presenting i glasses – I might need to do the same in Paris!

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 :).

Work-Work Balance

Once again, I am trying to maintain a “work-work balance” as professional activities of different kinds continue to multiply. 

The things which are on my radar in addition to work are

  • getting ready for all of September conferences: only half is done
  • one completely new presentation for October – not even started
  • another presentation for October together with my co-worker: it was started only because both of us pushed each other, but there is still a lot to do (about 25% done)
  • interviews for each of the conferences (only one left, but it’s a huge one)
  • a user reported a bug in pg_bitemporal
  • we just merged a new iteration of NORM, but Boris wants to rework several things, and I agree
  • all things related to PG Day Chicago
  • to build an example for my not-yet-started presentation in October, I need to create tons of new things in postgres_air
  • educational video, which got stalled back in May

You know what I want to say? If not for The Lake, I won’t survive! The daily beach breaks for the past two weeks (along with very beach weather) helped me to relax and recharge, and some days I felt like I was on summer break (although other days, I would be so tired that I would drop dead at 9:30 PM).

As I did before, I am taking some days off to do some work πŸ™‚

When Everything Goes Wrong

Today’s meetup was another epic disaster.

I ordered a new MacBook, and it arrived on Monday. By midday Tuesday, I had it restored from my old Mac Air and started to use it. There were a couple of minor hiccups, but overall, everything looked and felt like I was on the same computer.

Today, I was hosting a Chicago PUG meetup. First, when I scheduled it, I tried “integration of meetup and zoom,” which resulted in me having three zoom meetings :). It took me a while to figure out which one was the right one, but finally, I was there, and people started to join. Then, I was going to start my 5-minute intro, but it turned out that zoom didn’t have screen share permission! I quickly went to the settings to fix it, but then zoom had to restart. I have no idea what happened next, but for some reason, people could not get back in! Zoom was asking for the password, which technically speaking was in the URL provided.

Also, I could not edit the existing meeup and could not paste a new link! And all on top of the fact that my speaker requested an earlier start!!!

The good news was that, after all, the meetup happened. But boy, what a disaster!!!