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Speaking at PASS Summit 2008

Received news today that one of my submitted sessions - Should You Move Into Management - was accepted for the summit. Good news of course, this will be my nineth consecutive year presenting at the summit and it's always fun. Was disappointed to learn that the session I did last year (and that went very well) on Beginning Transactional Replication didn't make the cut, nor did my proposed 'Organizing a SQLSaturday' (which I can understand is more of a niche topic.

The downside is that two close friends who had submitted did not have their sessions accepted. There's only so much room at the conference and I know the program committee struggles to balance tracks, levels, speaker experience, etc, etc, to come up with the best schedule they can figure out. It's hard to break in to the summit as a new speaker, lack of experience and others with 'bigger' names tend to get their choice of topics. I think each of my friends - though I am surely biased - would have done well and would have made a nice contribution. This is one area where I think SQLSaturday excels, because we deliberately skew towards new speakers. But to counter that we're not charging $2k to attend!

So....what to do? Would me electing not to submit a session next year perhaps make room for a newbie? Keep in mind a newbie doesn't mean a first time speaker, just new to the summit. Not sure me opting out makes much difference (and presumes that I'd be a shoe in next year as well, not necessarily so), so maybe a better approach would be to require that x% of speakers be first time at the summit unless we just can't find that many, and that we start forcing the top tier speakers to rotate one year in, one year out. Could we all sacrifice our pride and not speak one year, just participate as an attendee?

What I can do is invite my two friends to join me in my presentation. I'll still lead the charge, but maybe I can stack the deck a little for next year by giving them some experience in front of a bigger/more critical audience than they might find locally.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


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