Nearly 300 MVPs, technology enthusiasts and SQL fans joined forces in Germany to participate in a hackathon and SQL Saturday event featuring MVP presenters.  The two-day event was organized by SQL Server MVPs Constantin Klein, Tillmann Eitelberg and Oliver Engels.  We had the chance to catch up with Constantin “Kostja” Klein to get an inside look into the event.

What was the inspiration for creating such a unique community event?

"Since BIG DATA is a hype-topic, we decided to favor a Hackathon over a regular Pre-Con in order to allow attendees to really get a first, hands-on experience with reference to the existing technologies on the Microsoft platform, like HDInsight and PowerBI. With Azure MVP Sascha Dittmann, Scott Klein and Emil Siemens we also found the right people to introduce the tools to the attendees and help them on occurring problems."

What was the highlight of the event?

"The highlight was the presentation of the results at the end of the day. This was when all other teams had the chance to find out about different approaches to the same problem, different ways of visualization, etc.
By the way, the challenge we prepared for the day was to get some interesting insight and visualization out of more than 250,000 tweets collected during [the] football World Cup with [the] hashtag #WorldCup. And actually we had some interesting findings, like it seems that in the UK, there is a disproportionately high number of people who like football and use Twitter.   

We wanted attendees to use the Microsoft cloud technology stack. Therefore we had Azure accounts prepared and helped people to get the environment (Cloud Storage, Azure SQL Database and HDInsight cluster) up and running. People helped each other and we started the day with building teams of up to five people who then worked together. In fact, most of the teams were not colleagues and had never worked together before."

What is the benefit of attending such a great community event?

"We believe that you get a much better kick-start for dealing with a brand new topic – which it was for almost all attendees – when you really have time to start a project and play with the technology. So during the wrap-up many attendees confirmed, that they now have a first real experience, they can take home and elaborate on that. This is totally different if you just listened to a whole day lecture. Obviously this lecture could cover much more details, but an attendee would not be able to immediately reproduce what he heard or had seen. Working in mixed groups is another interesting aspect, which helps people to deal with and adjust to new situations."

Congratulations to the MVP organizers, presenters and all the participants!