I generally can’t commit to traveling very far for SQL Saturdays. That’s ok though. They’re meant to be local events. Its also ok because I live in the densely populated North Eastern United States. This means there are many places within a 4 hour drive or Amtrak trip that host SQL Saturdays. One such place is Providence, RI. As such I have submitted an abstract to SQL Saturday 156, and will attend whether or not I am chosen to speak.
In terms of surface area, Rhode Island is least amongst the states in our more perfect union. However, it of home to SQL Celebrity Aaron Bertrand (blog|twitter). For those who never heard of Aaron, he works for SQL Sentry. He also blogs at sqlblogs.com, where he publishes comprehensive lists of SQL server updates, as well as connect digests. So while Rhode Island is small in size, it houses a giant of the #sqlfamily.
If your attend this SQL Saturday, you will probably get more opportunities to interact with Aaron and the other speakers, than a large event like SQL Saturday 158 in NY. The NYC SQL Saturday has 8 tracks. The attendee to speaker ratio will be very high. I also suspect that many of the speakers will be busy interacting with their important NYC based clients. Also, many of the people manning the sponsor tables will have relationships with those speakers and will wine and dine their way to face time with them.
I have no doubts that SQL Saturday NYC will be a great event. NYC is my homeland, and I love my homeland like Odysseus loved his. Its going to be big, like Billy Joel playing the Garden, Paul McCartney at Shea or Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands big. I know I’m going to have a great time there. However, SQL Saturday Providence will be awesome for different reasons. It will be smaller and, more intimate. Less people will mean more meaningful networking.