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Moving PASS

By Steve Jones,

There was a survey recently sent out by PASS that asked about moving the Summit from Seattle to other places in the country. It seemed to have been written to shade people towards picking Seattle as the place for the Summit, at least from the discussions among people on Twitter about it. I thought that it was as well, but I might be biased since this was a complaint I voiced to various PASS board members. I don't know if I could do a better survey, but I did suggest they just ask for a show of hands during the Friday morning update. I thought asking "who wants Orlando? Who wants Boston" would have been good enough to get an idea of whether it's worth pursuing.

Over the years I've had mixed feelings about the Summits. As a DBA I wanted it in Seattle so that I could meet and ask questions of dozens of MS developers during the Summit. As the editor  here, it's still good to meet Microsoft developers, but I'm less concerned about finding the mid-level developer that worked on PBM to ask about an issue than I am about getting together with Dan Jones and talking higher level issues, and sharing  beverage.

There are a variety of reasons to both move the Summit outside Seattle, as well as keep it there. One nice thing from keeping it in Seattle is the strong support from Microsoft, and it's proximity for the HQ staff, who drive down from Vancouver. There are real savings on shipping and other costs as pointed out by the PASS President.  Logistics are also an issue, and one I deal with in new cities as well. However I’m not sold on the other reasons.

The Microsoft support, while nice, is not necessarily a huge draw. It sounds good, but when I've asked most people if they take advantage of it, they don't. They just go to sessions that are interesting. A reduced Microsoft presence might not necessarily make it a worse event. Less MS people also means a smaller event, which could reduce the overall cost. And give more options.

Personally I'd like to have it in Denver in Nov, and get people to come ski in the state, but I know that isn't necessarily possible because of costs during that time frame. I like other cities, but I'm not sure a great cost for the Summit, and less money for PASS, is worth a move. I definitely understand the time change and travel time impact East Coast people, but at the same time I also understand the costs that come with moving the conference to another location.

I also wonder about having more events, two, or even three a year, each of them smaller events that draw closer to 1,000 total people rather than the 1,500-2000 that recent Summits have held. Would that still hold the same appeal and be as enjoyable? I wonder.

Feel free to leave your comments in the discussion below.

Steve Jones

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