Steve Rezhener specializes in Microsoft Data Platform, SQL Server, AWS/Azure and Microsoft BI Stack.
Steve holds a degree Computer Information Systems and Software Development from Champlain College in Burlington, VT, and is graduate of the MBA Program in Information Technology from University of Redlands in Redlands, CA.
Steve is known in the SQL Community as a co-organizer of SQL Saturday in Los Angeles event, co-leader of LA Data Platform (fka SQLMalibu) User Group, frequent SQLSaturday speaker, and President and Co-Founder of Data Driven Technologies, Inc 501.c.3. non-profit.
Steve lives in Los Angeles, CA. When not dealing with data, he is fixing a house, and playing an XBOX with his 2 kids.
We are officially moving our non-profit credit card processing operations from PayPal to Stripe. This change will be finalized by January 31, 2023.
While we will still keep PayPal around for a few months as a backup, our official platform for collecting donations has been moved to Stripe. All the money inflow links are now pointing to Stripe.
We started to use PayPal years ago to collect donations for 2019 SQL.Saturday.LA event which was really easy and convenient. It all started with getting an IRS letter of determination. 2019 was the same year that we officially became a non-profit, opened a bank account, and set up our PayPal account.
This is a report of Data Driven Technologies, Inc finances for 2022.
Data Driven Technologies, Inc. (from here and on will be referred to as DDT) is a public US charity recognized under the IRS 501.c.3 code. Our board of directors is composed of various community members and makes all decisions about how the corporation is run.
Our current finances look like this (all numbers in US dollars).
We hold $17,258.69 in our bank account at this time.
Last month (August 2022) we had our 1st EVER (after covid) in-person event and it’s time to talk about how it all happened. This blog post is going to talk about our original plan, what we were able to deliver, and what worked well vs. what needs improvement.
After 2 years of virtual events, our goal was to finally have an in-person event. Whenever this is going to be a 300+ attendees event or small event, we were anxious to just have an in-person event. While running virtual events was better than having no events, we missed the energy exchange that frequently happens during an in-person event.
While we were originally targeting our regular event month, we had to give up on June 2022 due to venue unavailability. We were ecstatic to hear that August is available and booked Loyola Marymount University for August 13.
Running a PASS-free in-person event
Since this was our first in-person after PASS’s demise, we had to bring new tools to replicate and enhance our event experience. Unfortunately, sqlsaturday.com in its current form only provides us with the event listing. Luckily, our 2 past virtual events allowed us to master additional tools.
Tools used during this event:
Attendee registration – Eventbrite.com (+ Organizer mobile app to check-in)
Sponsor registration – custom-built Microsoft Form to enable sponsor sign-up, listing all available sponsorship tiers on the datadriventechnologies.org website, and PayPal invoicing to collect fees
Event/session feedback – custom-built Microsoft Form with QR code
Event raffle – custom-built Microsoft Form with QR code
Volunteer registration – custom-built Microsoft Form with QR code
Email marketing – Sender.net
Social Media marketing – buffer.com
14 speakers and 15 sessions (3 rooms x 5 sessions)
78 attendees with 209 registered attendees
6 paid sponsors (4 sponsor’s tables)
What worked great
Using EventBrite Organizer phone app check-in option provided us with real-time exact attendance numbers (no need to count attendee bags)
Having Social Media Booth generated plenty of visual content for our Instagram account
Running raffle without any paper and relying solely on electronic data collected by Microsoft Forms
Inclusion of raffle gift cards for each paid sponsorship
Indulging our speakers with both t-shirts and Yeti mugs
Communicating via 5 attendee email campaigns using Sender.net
Communicating with 3 speaker email campaigns using Sender.net
Creating session PPT template
Buying enough food and beverages for breakfast and lunch
Allocating 30-minute long breaks between sessions
Things to improve
Choose an event date with no local conflicts (choosing August 13 for event data was a strategic mistake as we ended up competing with DataConLA which happened on the same day and affected our attendance)
Create a printer-friendly Sessionize schedule (apparently, attendees preferred a printed schedule instead of a Sessionize PWA app)
Offer 2 Eventbrite types tickets (bring your own lunch and paid lunch) and collapsing paid into free few weeks before August 13 introduced complexity and confusion
We are reaching out to all people that enjoyed SQL Saturday in LA 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2021 events to let you know that the 2022 event is quickly approaching. Only 30+ days remain until the Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event on Saturday, August 13.
We appreciate you taking the time to consider sponsoring 2022 Data.SQL.Saturday in LA. We have assembled a few sponsorship plans that you can select from. Donations for this event will be used to cover the costs of running the event and the LA Data Platform SQL User Group meetings. If we have any surplus, it will go into sponsoring future events. The event is put on by Data Driven Technologies, Inc. a local 501.c.3 non-profit, and its volunteers.
The Data.SQL.Saturday is a single-day conference that offers data professionals the opportunity to improve their skills and learn about new products while networking with others in their field and connecting with other members of the local Database community and our sponsors.
This event is put together by a group of dedicated Los Angeles database community volunteers, local database user groups, and volunteer speakers from Los Angeles, California, other US States, and across the globe.
When the event was held in person, it used to bring in 300+ attendees. In 2020 we moved to a virtual event for the first time and had 700+ registrations from all around the world, with 400+ attending the event. In 2022, we anticipate 200+ attendees.
Cost of Sponsorship
This year, sponsorship ranges from Swag Only at $0 to Platinum at $2,000.00, depending on the package you select:
Sponsor Logo and URL on the event website and
Sponsor Logo and URL included in email campaigns
Sponsors Logo included in session slides
Sponsor Logo included in YouTube videos
Social Media posts Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram
x $50 GC included
x $75 GC included
x $100 GC included
x $125 GC included
Collect Raffle Leads*
Email sent on behalf of a sponsor
Sponsor table (comes with canopy, table, 2 chairs, and electricity) (based on availability, first come first serve)
Product-focused sponsor session (based on availability, first come first serve)
Sponsor a room (name a room) (based on availability, first come first serve)
Short video advertising embedded in a recorded session (if the room is recorded)
Caffeine and pastries
Speaker Appreciation dinner
12 months of LA Data Platform User Group sponsorship
To sponsor please follow this link to fill out the sponsorship form: https://forms.office.com/r/4VWxbgTBrQ. An invoice will be emailed to you (generated by PayPal) and can be paid by check or credit card. All fees must be paid in advance.
Any cancellation that is caused by us will result in a full refund. It’s really that simple – no event, no expenses, no need for sponsorship money.
Raffle registration is used to opt-in attendee information with our sponsors. Remember the raffle prize is your key to success and the better the prize the more leads you will collect. Attendees must be present to win.
We will manage the raffle and collect, clean up and de-dup the data for you and send you the leads after the event. We will let you know who the winners of the raffle are, and you can send them the prize. At the same time, we strongly recommend we take over prize disbursement as well, to be a one-stop-shop for an entire raffle lifecycle. Please let us know if you would like to handle the raffle prize on your own.
May 18, 2022, marked the day of LA Data Platform User Group’s first attempt to augment the MS Teams environment by live-streaming our user group meeting to a LinkedIn and Twitter using Restream.IO without OBS Studio. Restream.IO Studio allows you to simply live-stream your session content within the browser.
Since MS Teams can’t directly stream to social media, you need a “man-in-the-middle” like Restream.IO to connect between your screen & audio share and social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In Restream.IO, you would need to create destinations for your social media channels (See Fig #1) connecting to your existing social media accounts.
Once destinations are all working, you would need to decide how to live-stream your content – using Studio (read: internet browser) or OBS Studio.
In a more sophisticated streaming setup, you would be using OBS Studio which supports picture-in-picture (PIP), external sound sources, and even adding a green screen. What if you didn’t need that many options? What if you just need to stream your audio and video as simply and fast as possible?
While OBS Studio provides a great way to screen capture video and audio content, it’s feature-heavy and has a learning curve. Additionally, it still requires you to grab a Streaming Key from Restream.IO (Fig #3) and connect it to OBS Studio (Fig #4).
Introducing Restream.IO with Studio (not to confuse with OBS Studio). Restream.IO Studio allows you to simply live to stream your video and audio from within the browser. You don’t need to download anything and configure it (Fig #5).
Just select a few input options such as camera, and microphone, hit Enter Studio button and you are all set to start live streaming (Fig #6). Don’t worry, you can change those options later as well.
Now click the Share Screen button, choose an Entire Screen (this is the only way to stream both video and audio), checkbox on a Share system audio, and click Share button (see Fig #7).
To start your live stream, toggle visibility and click Go Live button (Fig #8). You are all set.
As you probably see on the right panel, you can also add bells and whistles like Overlay, Backgrounds, or even a video introduction (Video Clips), but those are all extras. If you did everything correctly, you are now live-streaming your content (Fig #9).
Don’t forget to hit the End Stream button to finish your live stream.
To conclude, what did we gain from using Restream.IO Studio? We have avoided an overhead associated with OBS Studio and went from thinking of live-streaming to actually live-streaming in just a few minutes.
Digital content is the king. Record, run video editing software, upload to a resource like YouTube or Rumble, and it will stay there forever. There are many benefits in recording and sharing knowledge via video: it can improve the speaker’s ability to deliver material, anybody can see it again and again. This blog post is going to cover a number of easy-to-follow steps to do video editing using TechSmith Camtasia.
Let’s talk about video editing. Making video content is usually split into 2 phases – pre-production (recording) and post-production (perfecting). While recording video is fairly obvious and mostly involves hitting the red record button, perfecting video is usually a time-consuming and scary process. Let’s make it easy. The following steps and screenshots will help you to get up to speed in creating video content as quickly as possible.
Add media artifacts
Start with downloading the mp4 from MS Teams. Now proceed with opening Camtasia and add a thumbnail, downloaded video, and intro (see Fig #1).
Add media artifacts to a track
Drag and drop media artifacts from the Media Bin into Track1 in the following order intro, thumbnail, and then video (Fig #2). Make sure that all 3 are stacked up one after the other, meaning that there is no space between them.
Edit the video to lose anything that is not important
Left double-click on the video, drag the red time tracker, and then choose Cut (Fig #3).
Apply noise reduction audio effect to remove any undesired noise from the recorded video by Clicking Audio Effects, choosing Noise Removal, and dragging and dropping it to the video.
Make sure your video is perfect
Left double-click on the intro to bring back the triangle-shaped time tracker to the beginning, and hit the play button (Fig #5) to watch the entire video to make sure it’s all perfect.
Make it a video file (mp4)
Choose Share from a menu item above, and then click on Local File (see Fig #6). Depending on your machine, dimension, and format as well as the TechSmith version, this step might take between 30-90 minutes.
Create a YouTube account with a channel, upload your mp4 file, and let everyone know that it’s ready for public consumption (Fig #7). Don’t forget to make it public.
Syndicate your content
While YouTube drives most of the viewers to channel, others platforms like Rumble are becoming more and more popular. Why not push your content to other platforms?
While you might think it’s not worth the time due to an effort that involves re-uploading your content, in reality, most YouTube competitors have a syncing capability built-in. Make your content available on YouTube, create an account in a competing platform, give that platform permission to access YouTube, and walla, your YouTube content will become available on the other platform as well.
This blog post is made possible by two great products Snag-It and Camtasia by the TechSmith Corporation.