I thought I would step away from my usual style of blogs today. The vast majority of my blog posts in the past have been written to achieve a specific technical goal, and you can think of them as guides or how-to’s. Today, I’d like to go in a different direction and simply share some thoughts on what I find exciting about attending the upcoming Snowflake Summit 2022.
This year, I’m lucky enough to be able to attend Snowflake Summit 2022 in person. I have attended the virtual conferences over the past couple of years and have been fortunate to attend several smaller events in and around London, but this is my first time attending the “main event” in person. I must say, I’m excited. Here are a few reasons why.
Let’s start with the obvious. For the past two years, all of my interaction with the Snowflake community has taken place through a screen. The number of webinars and Zoom meetings has increased significantly, ensuring that we continue to receive high-quality content despite the pandemic, but nothing quite compares to physically meeting somebody face to face.
I have met a number of similarly-minded colleagues, both at Snowflake itself and as part of the wider Snowflake community, but every interaction has been stunted by the requirement for screens and technology. In a gathering of 10 people, it is easy to spend most of the session on mute whilst patiently waiting for a chance to speak that never comes without feeling like you will be interrupting somebody else. We’ve lost the option to split out and converse in smaller groups like we would in a standard social setting. I’m excited to meet up with members of the community and simply converse.
Meet Colleagues from Around the Globe
My colleagues at InterWorks are based all over the world. I’m part of our UK region and sometimes get to meet up with colleagues from mainland Europe, but it is rare to interact in person with colleagues from North America or APAC. The Snowflake Summit has given us a great opportunity to travel to a single location and actually meet. Time zones make it impossible for our global data practice to meet online across all of our regions, and now we have a chance to get in the same room and catch up. Of course, we will talk about various business topics such as the direction of our practice and ways we can continue to develop, but we can also just get to know each other much better than we’ve been able to in the past, and I can start feeling more like a member of a global team instead of a regional team in a global company. Despite many Zoom meetings to get to know each other more, I haven’t met the vast majority of my colleagues in person, and this Summit allows me to start fixing that.
Above: Some of my InterWorks colleagues at a recent Berlin team meetup
Meet Snowflake’s Team
As you can see, there’s already a theme going on here. There are so many people to meet and I’m just excited to do so! Throughout the past couple of years, I have engaged with the Snowflake community both as a Data Superhero and as a SnowPro Subject Matter Expert. As part of these two community threads, I have had the pleasure of meeting many intelligent, creative and dedicated people who all share my passion for working with Snowflake and data platforms.
Fortunately, many of these same people are also attending the Snowflake Summit, and I finally have a chance to get to know them more. It’s amazing how you can be in the same meeting with somebody else regularly for over a year and still know barely anything about them. We even have a dinner planned for the Data Superheroes, which I’m very excited about!
Interact with Snowflake Partners
So far, I’ve talked a lot about meeting people and some benefits of face-to-face interaction with people I have already met. Now we consider the wider community of Snowflake partners. Naturally, I’m already a big fan of Matillion, as you can see for yourself by looking through my catalog of previous blog posts, and InterWorks is partnered with several other Snowflake partners, but there are a plethora of others sponsoring and attending Snowflake Summit 2022, and I’m looking forward to touring the floor and meeting them. At InterWorks, an important part of our business is to understand our clients’ requirements and help find solutions to their challenges. This is much easier when we keep ourselves updated on the players in the space and take the time to interact with them, understand what they do and how they may have developed recently.
The Summit Itself
Now that I’ve covered the various people I wish to meet and interact with, we have the sessions themselves. To be completely honest, the sessions themselves are not my main reason to be excited to attend Snowflake Summit. My main reasons have already been covered above and can be summarised by these simple words: in-person interaction. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the sessions at all; in fact, we have an impressive line-up of sessions at Summit this year. The thing is, these sessions are mostly recorded and available online anyway.
I think there is a huge benefit to attending Snowflake Summit sessions, and I have attended them for several years virtually; however, this is the main part of the Summit that does not face the challenges that the pandemic brought. If anything, the changes brought by the pandemic here have been really useful as there are always too many sessions for one person to attend. There is so much going on at Snowflake Summit this year that every times lot has multiple competing sessions. It is impossible to see everything you want to see live and in person.
With this in mind, I plan on interacting with as many people as I can and engaging with the community as much as possible. When choosing between sessions, my key driver will be how interactive the session is. I’m grateful for all of the presenters and content creators at Snowflake Summit, regardless of session format, but if I have to choose between two equally interesting sessions, I will prioritise the one I can engage with most and catch up on the other when I can. If I can attend Q&As, panels and forums instead of presentations, I plan to do exactly that. If the only sessions to choose from in a time slot are not interactive, I’ll choose based on the content itself, which is incredibly challenging as there are so many interesting and thought-provoking sessions on the agenda.
Whatever I choose, I can’t attend everything, and I will miss out on something. But this is the beauty of recorded sessions. If anything, having a group of really interesting sessions downloaded to my laptop means I can pretend my flight home is another Snowflake Summit day!
See You in Person!
And thus concludes this brief glance into my current thoughts and feelings on Snowflake Summit. There are so many people to meet and interact with, and I’m really excited to get started. As for sessions, right now, I honestly don’t know which sessions I’ll attend as the agenda is packed with interesting topics and speakers. The only session I am certain to attend is Getting Started with Snowflake – What I Wish I Knew, but I’m a speaker on that panel so of course I’ll say that!
If you’ve made it this far, I’d love to know what you’re excited about for Snowflake Summit 2022, whether you’re attending in person or virtually. And if you are attending in person, let’s find an opportunity to get together and have a chat!