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SQLAndy

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.

PASS Update #34 (The “Spring Event”!)

The minutes of the June 2010 Board meeting have been posted and if you haven’t read them yet, you missed a minor but interesting vote embedded there – we’ve voted to hold an event in Orlando in late April/early May 2010 that will consist of 2 full days of sessions plus 1 day of pre-con seminars. We’ll get the final date announced in the next few days, we’re in the final stages of signing the hotel contract. Pricing will be announced soon as well, but expect an average price of $299 for the two day event, and $149 to attend a seminar. In some ways you could think of this as a seriously upsized two day SQLSaturday, or a seriously slimmed down PASS Summit – and that’s our goal, to fill the gap between the two in a way that grows our community.

We’re still in the early stages and things are subject to change, but here are a few notes on what we have in mind:

  • We haven’t named it yet – we’ll be asking for input from you in the next few weeks
  • “No frills”. We won’t have a lot of fancy signs or event bags, but you’ll get good food and first class speakers (no beginners here!)
  • It’s a hybrid – managed by both PASS HQ and local volunteers, and staffed by volunteers from all the SQL chapters in Florida
  • Invite user groups to submit proposals to host it in 2012 – think an Olympic site selection bake-off. Is your user group ready for the challenge? Doesn’t have to be East coast, just not in the same area as the Summit

I’m excited about this, for a lot of reasons. It’s a way to engage people who can’t get funding for the Summit, people who doubt the value of a “conference”, it’s the missing step in our farm club system for speakers (chapter—>SQLSaturday—>This Event—>Summit), a chance to grow pre-con speakers, it’s an option for those who can’t afford the time to travel cross country, and it’s an effort to really partner with chapters and event leaders.

Dreaming some, there’s a chance by 2012 or 2013 that we might hold more than one of these a year. It’s designed to be a regional event, so it’s possible (dreaming, remember?) that we might hold one in Boston (or Nashville, or Charlotte,or Atlanta), Dallas, and Denver – all in addition to the Summit. That’s a big dream, and we don’t want to saturate the market, and we definitely want to continue the growth of both SQLSaturday and the Summit. Another part of that dream is that this can also become our model for hosting events internationally. It’s long past time that we had large PASS events internationally, a co-op model with a low cost of entry is a great way to drive that.

We’re going to strive to be pretty translucent on the process. Got questions? Post here, on the PASS blog, email me, twitter (@sqlandy) and we’ll get someone to work on the answer.

Comments

Posted by Melanie Peterson on 21 June 2010

You mean late April/early May 2011, right?

Posted by Andy Warren on 21 June 2010

Yes:-)

Posted by Dave Schutz on 21 June 2010

My concern is how this will affect local SQL Saturdays, especially speaker quality. If a chapter is holding a SQL Saturday locally and one of these regional events is going on I'd think that most of the good speakers would head to the regional event.

Posted by Andy Warren on 21 June 2010

Dave, I think it's a valid concern. Here in Fla this event will collide with the Jacksonville SQLSat, and we have to figure out how to adjust for that. In many ways having a sucessful SQLSaturday (or three) makes it all the more attractive to bring this event to a particular city, maybe it becomes "instead of" one year, but "in addition to" also works as long as there is some calendar separation. In addition we're doing a pretty good job - in some areas - growing speakers, and I think that will grow more in the next year.

Valid concern, we'll try hard to avoid any damage.

Posted by jcrawf02 on 21 June 2010

Is it really a concern though? Having too many events to choose from on the same day?

In any case, I think we should definitely schedule the mini-PASS event in Columbus, Oh and test Dave's theory thoroughly.... ;)

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