How to Cruise for FREE!

So, by now you have hopefully read Brent Ozar’s blog (@BrentO) on how to get paid to go on a cruise. If you haven’t, you should. I figured I would look at this from the attendee’s point of view as opposed to the presenters and tell you how to get sent on a training cruise, for FREE! That’s right, FREE. I attended the 2011 SQLcruise Miami for free after winning the SQL Hero contest that Idera sponsored. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here (understand that I am not a professional singer! Or dancer!). This got me thinking, if I can do this, anyone can. So I have come up with a few pointers to hopefully help you out. Especially since Idera is sponsoring another free cruise for the May trip to Alaska.

There are a few simple things to follow:

Make it Something People Remember – When people read a story, watch a movie or hear a song, there are always bits and pieces that stick out in their memory about it. Whether it is a famous saying like “I’ll be back” or a song like “Hey there Delilah”. Whatever you do, you need to spark an interest and make something about what you are  doing stand out.

Make it Humorous – If what you are doing does not have some sort of humor to it, people will probably get bored. Granted there are people who enjoy the dry and chock full of information type stories, but most people enjoy a laugh. If I start reading an overly dry technical article, I will often times find myself skimming to the article to find the points I think I need to read. It might as well just be a bulleted article with the top points because you just lost me at “Hello”.

Make it Personable – Other people like to relate things in their life to what they read. I understand that we are not mind readers, but if you have a situation in your work life that can be conveyed in a manner that is not over complicated or too granular, then people will be able to connect to it better. Use real life analogies to make your point. If you can connect your situation to something going on in the world today, people will make that correlation and usually think back to your story ever time they hear about it in the news.  

Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself– Most people don’t like to admit embarrassing things in their life. Me, on the other hand, I got no problem with it. I ran a triathlon in a Speed-o just to prove to others that I could (and they paid me to do it, but that is beside the point). For the 2011 Miami SQLcruise, I re-wrote a song and sang it so bad; it made my parents cry and not because they were proud. These are the things people remember. I was told that people were singing my song for weeks after they heard it.

Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes – If you are perfect, then congrats, you are all by yourself because no one else is. We have all made mistakes in our career, some worse than others. The important thing is to be able to admit that it happened and learn from the experience…and hell, if you can help others learn from your mistakes, then they will be thankful. Most people enjoy reading mistakes that other make because it makes them feel like their mistakes were not quite as bad as yours.

So take these points into consideration when it comes time to write your “SQL Victory” story for the next Idera SQL Cruise Free Trip Contest, which starts today (3/29/2011) and ends on April 15th at noon CST.  And after you win, make sure to read Crys Manson’s  (@crysmanson) blog, SQL Cruise Tips. They are very helpful for all the first time cruisers.

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