Let me set the context first:

SQLServerGeeks is organizing Asia’s Only Conference, SQLServerGeeks Annual Summit 2016, in the month of August 2016. This is the second time SSG is organizing such a conference, the first being SSGAS 2015, a grand success. The price of the conference pass is around 7,000 INR.

SQLMaestros offers 5-day Master Classes across various cities in India. We started offering our most popular courses to the public starting from Dec 2014 and they have been a run-away-hit. The price of the 5-day course if around 40,000 INR.

Good, so where is the problem?

The problem is: When a SQL professional approaches his manager/Project Head/L&D and expresses his willingness to attend both the events, there starts a comparison. It is something like this:

SQL Professional: “Sir, so here are the details. I would like to attend the class as well as the conference.”

Manager: “What is the cost involved”?

SQL Professional: “The class is around 40K and the conference is around 7K.”

Manager: “Cool, so you should attend the conference.”

SQL Professional: “Thanks Sir.”

apple-orange

Pic source: http://www.cristanwilliams.com/b/2012/01/10/apple-separatism/

So what has just happened is a comparison between apples and oranges.

What you get at an international conference cannot be replaced by a Master Class. Likewise, what you get in a 5-day Master Class can never be achieved in a conference.

What is the purpose of this post? Two things and I will make it quick:

Some SQL folks & their managers are comparing apples with oranges. Just because the conference price is less than a master class, your manager is deciding on your behalf that you should go for the conference. No thought is given to the fact that the purposes & objectives of the two events are completely different, poles apart.

In general, a conference is a place where you learn on a variety of topics or subjects from a number of speakers. You get an opportunity to increase the breadth of your knowledge. You get to learn about new things in your area of work. You get to network with industry experts and the community alike. You make connections that stay throughout your life. You get to click a selfie with your favorite international speaker :) and a dozen other such things!

On the other hands, a 5-day master class gives you deep-dive knowledge, skills, hands-on practice on a particular subject. You learn the nuts-and-bolts, and gain advanced knowledge and skills. And you get trained by a master who has years of experience just doing exactly what he teaches in the class. You go to a master class because that’s exactly what you need to be more productive in your current job.

So please, please, please: do not decide to visit Qutb Minar just because making a trip to Eifel Tower is expensive. A 1000-attendee conference has no comparison to a 20-seater advanced classroom training. Both the events have different purposes, different objectives, different modes of learning and completely different take-aways.

Well, I just talked about comparing apples to oranges. I feel, this post is so dumb :( – yet, it was needed!

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Amit Bansal
SQL MCM, SQL MVP
Director – eDominer Systems, Peopleware India, SQLMaestros

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