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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 Summit 2013–Board Q&A

PASS Board Q&A just starting. Session is being recorded – transcript will be published, no decision on whether recording will be published. About 35 people in the audience (I think most ever?). Adam Jorgensen moderating.

[This is a very rough transcript, I know I didn’t catch everything and it’s not verbatim for what I did capture]

Introductions. Board members present were JRJ, Oliver, Jennifer, Rob, Rick, Bill, Douglas, Denise, Tom, Wendy, Rushabh, Sri, Adam .

Kendal Van Dyke: Asking about the problem with members being able to vote twice. Asking for details about what was done to review for duplicate votes. Are there plans for another ERC? What will Board do in the upcoming year about membership/votes.

Sidebar: Rick Bolesta explained how and why CA and Microsoft are on the Board

Bill: 1548 ballots 3904 votes. Compared to paid PASS events ballots based on first name, lastname, and address, and then on first name/last name/voting pattern. Tallied with and without duplicates, did not change the result.

Bill: In favor of having another ERC, Bill will lead that effort, no details yet. No decision if duplicates will fall under ERC or separate effort.

Andrea: Has the Board considered extending the voting period? Up to 2 weeks in the past, longer makes it harder for candidates to stay highly engaged for the whole time. No decision yet, probably part of ERC.

Comment from ?: Most votes on first/last day, does it matter how many days in between?

Bill: Not sure those are accurate, another ERC item.

JRJ speaking about the timeline worked pretty well, impactful election, filled the EMEA seat. Thinks the election did well at engaging the community.

Question: Can we add closing date to the ballot. Noted, push to ERC.

Sri explaining that timeline was adjusted to work around a religious holiday.

Kristin: Someone in her chapter missed the election. Not easy to research candidates. Didn’t vote last year due to lack of time. Shorter timeline makes it even tougher. Also votes could be on vacation.

Rob Farley asking about if it’s the time available for voting or time for the campaign. Kristin wants time for campaign/research and a decent voting window – definitely not one day. Kristin also said the twitter transcript was hard to read (of the town hall I think).

Tim Ford: Thinks that a longer time to review slate is good. Thinks voting is mostly first and last day, not sure anything longer than a week would be useful.

Brian Moran: Lack of time turned it into a popularity contest for many people.

Rushabh: Has always been more or less a popularity contest. Pleased that people want time to review – how can we help?

Wendy: Tried to make extra effort to post the application and platform so voters could review. Some candidates have more time to campaign than others, longer campaign could hurt those that don’t, that drove the shorter campaign period this time.

JRJ:  Thinks the application is comprehensive. Hard to compare and contrast, thinks PASS should make it easier. Longer total time is hard for candidates, speaking from experience.

Andy Leonard: Didn’t blog about election this year due to timeline, thinks process is less transparent (can’t see candidates that applied not on slate – why not published?).

Bill: ERC implemented ranking to let candidates know how NomCom evaulated, they have option to continue or step back gracefully.

Andy L: Are candidates prohibited from announcing that they are candidates?

Bill: No (Andy L ok with that)

Andy L: If candidate doesn’t have time to campaign, maybe not enough time to be on the Board.

Bill: Interesting point!

Tim F: Might not have time cleared from schedule yet, not elected yet.

Ryan Adams: Consider members of the Nomcom for the ERC, recent experience. Thanked Board for their effort overall.

Aaron Nelson: Thanks for moving to Charlotte this year, met a lot of people that only attended because it was here. Asked if community appreciation party typically has high or low MS participation, seemed low this year.

Jennifer: Microsoft sponsored the event, reduced count is part of not being in Seattle (where people from Redmond could attend).

Aaron: Didn’t see the ones that were here.

Bill: He got to talk to some of the MS senior marketing people, they attended.

Aaron: Tableau conference in Seattle, they got lower hotel rate and they are same size as PASS – has PASS investigated?

Bill: No, will follow up.

Stuart: When will PASS know final attendance numbers and make a decision about returning to a non-Seattle location.

Bill: Haven’t analyzed yet. Thinks 3-6 months to decide, booking 3-5 years in advance.

Stu: Would like to see community involved in site selection just like ERC and NomCom. Wants to make sure voice is heard, not just data.

Denise: Feedback from evals is big, try to drive people to fill them out.

Jennifer: No matter where conference is located MS will be there and will support it. Location does impact how many people they can send.

Jack Corbett: Jack would like to see fewer MS sessions and have more community sessions. Only chose 17 of 100 app dev abstracts this year.

Aaron: Meeting 30 MS people is better than meeting zero (because they can’t travel to Seattle)

Kristin: Where is survey?

Bill: Will be sent out Tuesday.

Douglas: Board reads the comments, not just the summary.

Mark Caldwell: Lives in Seattle, thinks Charlotte is fantastic location. Local people don’t always want to go to local conference. Yes he saves on travel, but he spends a lot of time driving and family expects him to be home, makes it hard to stay out for evening activities.

Pat Wright: SQLSaturday, would like to see it expand beyond SQL to support Code Camps, etc – use speaker lists for example to drive people to those events, can that be done?

Denise: Silicon Valley has PASS tracks

Rob: Need to look at privacy policy, may require an opt-in.

Ryan: Can we collaborate with other groups on IT projects?

Adam: How to engage community more on projects is something being looked at, no answer yet.

Wendy: Specific ideas in the form of a proposal would help. Allen continued to work on Chapter tools after he left the Board.

Stu: If they opt-in SQLsat list can be shared with Chapter, absolutely not, Chapter had to be sponsor, if PASS doesn’t give us the list why so the event at all (Privacy policy issue).

Bill: Great request, wants to find a way to make it work.

Wendy: Opt-in can be used by Chapter to contact and/or added to membership list.

Allison: Confirmed the opt-in opt-ion.

Said Solomon: Considering something large than SQLSaturday. SQLRally abandoned in US, is there a format or guidance for a large event?

Wendy: SQLSaturday adding pre-con days. No community tools built for SQLSaturday.

Rob: Would have to find product or building one, still working on SQLSaturday tools – not ruling out multi-day/different type of event in the future. Could be same tools across all events, no firm plan/resources yet.

Pat Wright: Tuesday meetings[Chapter/Regional Mentor/SQLSaturday] were not effective, has seen a lot in the past. What will be done to make them more effective going forward?

Denise: Experienced leaders (not on board) can help. Meetings take time to plan, what works varies based on how man in room.

Bill: Can we do evals? Alison says yes. Plan to do for this Summit.

Pat: Get facilitators and organizers – need experts in that area.

Amy Lewis: HQ filled gap foe on planning for Program Committee.

Craig: When will 2013 finacial report be posted? Missing board votes (or minutes, unclear) for July-Sep (some posted, not all)

Douglas: Financials inprogress, typically 3-4 months after end of year, should be posted soon.

Andy L: Can we get a high level rollup of budget?

Douglas: Fair ask [no commitment on when], next VP will take that on. Lots of time spent on internal finance/budget, reporting to members needs attention.

Andy W: I’ve heard that Rick Bolesta is leaving the Board, can we get some information on that?

Rick: I’m leaving the Board, as is Neil Buchwalter, at the end of this year. CA focused on other markets, we felt that CA continuing as a founding member wasn’t in the best interests [I’ve highly paraphrased that statement].

Andy W: Rick, thanks for your efforts over 15 years with PASS. Your contributions aren’t well known, but have been very valuable.

Andy W: SQLRally was discontinued in the US due to it losing money in Dallas, I’ve heard that when it as all settled it made money? Did it, and will the Board revisit if so? What is status of international SQLRally?

Bill/Denise: Dallas SQLRally made about $30k profit, but no plans to revisit, that was just one of many factors.

Andy W: The only factor published was the loss?

Bill/Denise: Board did not message effectively. Decision was that PASS could not do BA Conference and SQLRally.

Andy W: Earlier we discussed the privacy policy as it pertains to SQLSaturday and Chapters and the only answer I heard was opt-in. SQLSaturday was designed as a fund raiser and a membership drive. If Chapters cannot grow their list the incentive to run an event is reduced. Will the Board take action to put in place a first class fix, or alternatively, also put an opt-in box for PASS membership instead of the automatic member that happens now?

Bill: We will look at it again, Board understands the question/need [paraphrased, I was talking and couldn’t type to capture then]

Meeting ended.

Analysis from me:

  • The attendance was good, and that is good!
  • The interest in the election/timeline thrills me. That is a real sign of growth in the organization that the members take it that seriously.
  • CA leaving is a big loss and no idea if/when someone will replace them. Losing Rick Bolesta is a bigger loss (separate post on that next week)
  • The privacy policy has been an issue for over a year, yet the full Board didn’t seem aware of it. This is concerning. We are failing Chapters and we didn’t have anyone that would escalate the problem for action (or maybe it was and that didn’t work, I don’t know). It feels like that now that it’s surfaced it will get fixed.
  • I was disappointed that the Board didn’t start off with a review of the action items from last year and the status.
  • I am bothered about the SQLRally answer. I think the answer we got today was honest about it being based on more than money (and fair about resource allocation even), but it was not portrayed that way. More importantly, it was positioned as “we won’t do one next year”, but without any hesitation today there was no interest in revisiting it – confirming what I said back then, it’s dead, they just wouldn’t say it. That’s not leading.
  • Board overall did well on answering questions directly
  • I’m glad to see this tradition continue. Even if I don’t like all the answers, I think it’s valuable input for the Board and they see it that way as well

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