Answering the Question: Why Should I Send Someone on SQL Cruise?

QUESTION:  As an IT Manager, Director or C-Level Executive I have many options for technical training for SQL Server.  Why would I ever consider sending one of my valuable team members on a cruise for a week – out of contact with the exception of expensive satellite-based internet connectivity – when they could be in the office grinding down zeroes into ones in the SQL Server mill behind the data center?

“Success” Isn’t Defined as Just Knowing SQL Server

That’s why SQL Cruise stresses the importance of understanding and learning about ancillary areas of technology that tomorrow’s Database Professional will be interacting with and utilizing in their daily efforts:

  • Powershell
  • Virtualization
  • Cloud Computing: AWS and Azure
  • SSIS, SSAS, Business Analytics and Business Intelligence Concepts
  • Communication, Personal Development, and Teamwork

Nurture V. Nature

IT Professionals – particularly Database Professionals gravitate towards this career because they’ve certain clearly-defined traits: organization, spatial intelligence, and near-compulsive focus being some of those that come to mind.  We also tend to be a little “sharp around the edges” as some would nicely put it.  Others may phrase this as “doesn’t play well with others.”

That’s not a good reputation for success nor a valuable trait for a team player.

SQL Cruise places a great emphasis on Professional Development over standard training events.  One of the primary goals of the week is to soften those sharp corners to help develop a well-rounded staff member for your company while at the same time providing more confidence and better communications skills to the individual to aid in their personal growth.  You’ll not find this emphasis in any other traditional technical training event.

Building A Network Strengthens Your Team

Traditional training does not lead to opportunities for interaction between trainers and students.  SQL Cruise embeds the Technical Leads and Cruisers together for the full week.  Technical Leads attend each session so they can lend their opinions and experiences to the training – even when they’re not presenting.  Every question is answered in class and longer class times allotted to allow for diving deep and diverting to answer those personalized questions.  Then there are the Office Hours where we dedicate time to address questions as a group to work out any unanswered items from class or dive into issues directly affecting your staff member in their daily work back on land:  also known as “Free Consulting”.  One question alone answered can pay for the entire cost of the SQL Cruise (as James Steele points out below in his post on His Experience and Massive Cost Saving Revelation from Attending SQL Cruise 2014.)  It’s through spending the week together in and out of class and on and off the ship that we accelerate the building of valuable networks that last a lifetime.

How many Microsoft MCMs, Microsoft MVPs, Authors, Authorities, Presenters and Certified Experts do you have on staff in your company’s Database Team?  I don’t suspect as many as your designated attendee(s) on SQL Cruise will have once they return to the office.  SQL Server is a broad topic and Database Theory and its role in today’s business environment is even broader.  Your team can simply not cover the full scope of what they need to know and be an expert in all areas.

The value of data is not going to decrease either which means your investment in the stewards of your data strategy is an investment in the success of your company and the value of your company’s future.

Fortune 100 companies may have the budget to buy the talent your representative on SQL Cruise is going to network with but that talent doesn’t want to work for a Fortune 100 company nor probably not your company – they’re thrilled to be doing what they’re already doing.  However our Technical Leaders enjoy helping others to succeed and teaching what they know and they’re going to be locked-in with your SQL Cruise representative for a long time to come.  You just need to invest the money and provide the opportunity and your team member just needs to invest the time.

Priceless Training and Experience at a Lower Price Point Than Traditional Training.

The cost of registration, room and board is near 50% of the cost of sending someone to a comparable week-long private training class.

  • Average business class hotel:  $200-$400 per night.
  • Average stateroom for SQL Cruise (Studio, single occupancy): $150-$200 per night.
  • Average per-Diem for business traveler: $75 per day
  • Cruise stateroom costs include all meals.
  • Conventional private training registration $2,500-$3,000 for a week-long class
  • Conferences typically cost $1,500 – $2,500 for 3-5 day events.
  • SQL Cruise registration:  $1,395 for Caribbean and Alaska events.

This all amounts to a significant cost savings over what a more traditional land-based training event would cost while providing a better experience for strengthening not just the technical prowess of your staff but their soft skills and professional network reach.

What Others Have to Say About SQL Cruise

If you are still on the fence then why not see what others with experience from a SQL Cruise have to say on the matter:

The Managers’ and CTO Perspective

John Robel, at the time an IT Manager at Amazon,  on the Value of SQL Cruise from the angle of the IT Manager

James Steele, CTO of Fresh Air Educators, Inc. on His Experience and Massive Cost Saving Revelation from Attending SQL Cruise 2014

The Technical Leaders’ Perspective

Kevin Kline, Author of the definitive book on SQL on The SQL Cruise Experience

Grant Fritchey, Authority on SQL execution plans, Author, Speaker and Evangelist at Redgate on His Offerings as a Technical Lead on SQL Cruise 2015 and his experiences over the course of the past 3 years of SQL Cruise attendance.

Jes Borland, Established Speaker and Consultant with BrentOzarUnlimited on What to Expect from the Next SQL Cruise from the trainer and attendee point-of-view.

The Attendee’s Perspective

Jes Borland on Her Experience as an Attendee on SQL Cruise Alaska 2011

Patrick Keisler, now with Microsoft (post-cruise) on His First Time Experience Aboard SQL Cruise in 2014.