Upcoming changes to Los Angeles Data Platform User Group virtual meetings

Due to a recent incident that involved a bad actor’s inappropriate behavior (read more here), we are introducing the following changes to combat and hopefully prevent such incidents in the future.

Here are some of the upcoming changes to the virtual meeting setup:

Meeting URL

Every meeting will have a new and unique URL.

Please pay special attention to the new link in EventBrite (Fig #1) and Meetup (Fig #2).

Fig #1
Fig #2

MS Team Meeting changes

Meeting option changes include Lobby, Presenters, Allowed resources for attendees, etc…

Registration Form

All participants will have to register (provide name and email) prior to joining (Fig #3)

Fig #3

Once you register, you will receive the following “Join Event” button to join the meeting (Fig #4)

Waiting Room (Lobby)

All participants will have to wait in a virtual waiting room before being allowed to join the main virtual meeting. The host of the meeting will admit participants individually or all at once.

We reserve the right to deny access (Fig #5) to and/or kick out (Fig #6) anyone whose sole purpose of joining the meeting is NOT to teach/learn about technology and data topics.

Fig #5
Fig #6

Sharing Restrictions

Only the host, co-host, and presenter(s) of the meeting will be able to share their screen, web camera, and microphone while participants will not be able to share anything (Fig #7) unless the host grants them permission to do so.

Fig #7

Registration cut-off (Fig #8)

Eventbrite ticket sale will end at 8PM PST

Fig #8

LA Data Platform User Group February 2023 meeting incident

Date: [February 15, 2023] Time: [8:00PM PST]

Description of Incident: On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, a virtual meeting was scheduled to take place at 7PM PST for Los Angeles Data Platform User Group virtual meeting. The meeting was attended by about 20 virtual attendees who had logged in from various locations using a video conferencing platform.

Shortly after the meeting started, one of the attendees, who had joined using a pseudonym, began sharing their screen and displaying inappropriate adult images. The individual also started screaming and using foul language, making it difficult for other attendees to concentrate on the meeting. The behavior of the bad actor was causing significant disruption and distress to the other attendees.

Response to Incident: As soon as the inappropriate behavior began, the meeting moderator tried to remove the bad actor from the meeting, but they kept rejoining using different pseudonyms. The moderator then attempted to mute the individual, but they continued to display inappropriate images and scream.

Given the severity of the situation and the inability to remove the bad actor, it was decided to end the meeting immediately to prevent any further distress to the attendees. The moderator informed all participants that the meeting was canceled due to technical difficulties and advised them to disconnect from the platform.

After the meeting, the incident of session hijacking was reported to the platform’s customer support team, who were able to identify the user’s IP address and take appropriate action.

Conclusion: The incident was deeply concerning, and we apologize to all attendees and speakers who were subjected to such inappropriate behavior. We are taking steps to ensure that future meetings are conducted in a safe and secure environment. This includes improving our meeting security protocols, implementing more robust user authentication measures, and training our moderators on handling disruptive behavior. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

2023 Data.SQL.Saturday Call to Speakers

We are looking for speakers. We are looking for awesome and passionate people to present on different data-related topics, such as:

RDBMS/NoSQL – SQL Server, Postgres, Oracle, MySQL, Snowflake, MongoDB, and others

Public cloud: Azure, AWS, GCP, Alibaba, Oracle, IBM, and others

Visualization – Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, and others

Please follow the link or scan the QR code below to submit your session(s):

Hello Stripe and Goodbye PayPal

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.

Luckily in 2022, we have options. Some of the benefits of Stripe are automatic bank deposits, the same non-profit discounted rate (2.2% + $0.30 per transaction), quicker customer service, and better User Agreement/Terms of Use/Business Policy. The only thing that Stripe is missing is a

2022 Data Driven Technologies Finances

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.

We also have these assets for our use:

  • Soft assets (, Office 365 data)
  • Hard assets – various event-related materials – $845.37 (see Fig #1)
Fig #1


At this time, we have no liabilities.

We have no other debts owed.

Income and Outflows

We began 2022 with $17,330.93 in the bank. We are ending 2022 with assets of $17,258.69.

We had an income in 2022 from any source. Our expenditures were:

  • $67 for domain registration and hosting
  • $25 for CA DOJ charity filling (eGov Registry)
  • $244.78 for LA Data Platform User Group t-shirts (monthly meeting raffle)
  • $6,703.26 for 2022 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event (aka SQL Saturday in Los Angeles)

This is a total of : $7,015.04 (see Fig #2)

Fig #2


2022 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event sponsorship generated a total income of $6,781.63 (see Fig #3)

Fig #3

Infrastructure Costs

Our infrastructure costs have been about $67 so far. We have done the following:

Microsoft 365 – as a non-profit, we have a free Office 365 account for collaboration, storage, and other tools.

Union Bank – As a non-profit, we have free banking, and to date, have not incurred any transaction charges.

WordPress – We use this for hosting website, the blog, and other information regarding our non-profit.

Meetup – funded by Microsoft to host and organize meetings for LA Data Platform User Group

That’s it. We’re not wasting money where we don’t need to do so.

Labor Costs

DDT runs on volunteer efforts and no individual is paid for their time.

Questions or Comments

This report was compiled by Steve Rezhener, President of DDT with cooperation and oversight by Elaena Bakman, VP and CFO of DDT.

If you have any questions or comments on the state of the finances for Data Driven Technologies, Inc., please contact us at

Retrospective on 2022 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event

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, 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 – (+ Organizer mobile app to check-in)
  • Sponsor registration – custom-built Microsoft Form to enable sponsor sign-up, listing all available sponsorship tiers on the website, and PayPal invoicing to collect fees
  • Speaker registration/schedule/session management –
  • Event listing –
  • 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 –
  • Social Media marketing –

Event stats:

  • 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
  • Communicating with 3 speaker email campaigns using
  • 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
  • Hick ups with the Eventbrite Organizer phone app
  • Automate raffle management
  • Perfect sponsor raffle QR codes
  • Improve keynote attendance

You are cordially invited to attend 2022 in-person Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event!

2022 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA
 Logo by Janella Payumo and Robert Mizikovsky

You are cordially invited! 😎

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.

More information here –
Follow us on social media –

Event Flyer

Flyer by Nasser Mansour and Elaena Bakman

Announcing 2022 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA Sponsorship Plans

Sponsorship Plan

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.

Event Overview

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 xxxxx
Sponsor Logo and URL included in email campaignsxxxxx
Sponsors Logo included in session slidesxxxxx
Sponsor Logo included in YouTube videosxxxxx
Social Media posts Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagramxxxxx
Sponsor Rafflexx
$50 GC included
$75 GC included
$100 GC included
$125 GC
Collect Raffle Leads*x xxx
Email sent on behalf of a sponsor  xxx
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)   xx
Caffeine and pastriesxx
Sponsor Emailx
Speaker Appreciation dinnerx
12 months of LA Data Platform User Group sponsorshipx
Sponsorship Plan

To sponsor please follow this link to fill out the sponsorship form:  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.

Cancellation Policy

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 Management

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.