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Notes on the 2017 PASS Summit

Just a few notes:

  • Weather on Wed was great, ok on Thurs, cold on Fri. Have had worse years!
  • Felt like I saw fewer people this year (that I knew), in part due to arriving Wed after lunch and in part to many of them skipping the event due to Halloween
  • Had a lot of good conversations this year, including a few on forming a 501c(3). Think there is a lot of interest, but it will take a year or two (or three) to see how that evolves.
  • Seemed like more BI content this year. Didn’t count to see if true.
  • Heard a couple complaints about sponsor sessions not being clearly flagged. I see the point – how hard to put “(Sponsored)” in the title? Those who want to go won’t care, but it will allow those who DO care to opt out. Benefits everyone to have this clearly marked.
  • I also spoke with someone attending their second time and they mentioned that they didn’t make the “mistake” of letting vendors scan their badge because of so much spam last time. I think this is a huge problem on both sides and no easy answer that works for both parties. Worth figuring out though.
  • For the first time in a long time I had dinner with co-workers instead of friends. Was time well spent, but it was tough to decide on that vs time with people I only see once a year. No easy answer on that either!
  • Lunch all three days was so-so. Dry chicken twice. Dessert was in the sponsor area – was this new, or did I not notice before? Maybe it was effective at driving people there, curious to hear if so. Not my favorite thing they’ve tried, but we’ll see.
  • I went to Game Night on Thursday. Good attendance, 75-80, and kudos to PASS on providing support for this. Great signage to the room. Kevin Hill took on leading the event and all went smooth, very cool!
  • I didn’t get to attend the Monday networking dinner, but I hear it went very well thanks to Lisa Bohm. She’ll be the lead organizer next year, but I’ll plan to be there as an attendee and help out as needed.
  • I attended the Board Q&A on Thursday. Didn’t ask any questions because – unusually – I had not prepped and didn’t want to just throw out questions without being sure I had all available information. Several questions about SQLSaturday funding/support and the answers were along the lines of we only have so much money, but nothing that went deeper into talking about why it’s an issue now or what other options are being considered (if any). Cynically and perhaps unfairly it feels like HQ spend is not on the table for reduction. There was also a question about the speaker bureau, the answer was ‘no resources, but if you build it..’. Hard to do it all, but still, what would a minimal v1 really cost?
  • Same meeting, they mentioned that building the conference with pre-cons really worked, best numbers ever for pre-cons. Now I can tease Brent that it wasn’t his great marketing!
  • Found on Wed that Cathrine was leaving PASS as a employee. That really hurts. She was a great successor to Karla, they worked hard at knowledge transfer, and now we’ll lose some of that, not to mention the pain/risk of the search for a replacement. I don’t have any issue with Cathrine deciding to make the change, its a job where if you’re not 100% happy and engaged the right thing to do is let someone else step in.
  • I heard the SQLSaturday meeting attendance was down. Perhaps due to Halloween? Don’t know. Worrisome to lose engagement there.
  • Overall I thought the event ran fine (as expected). Easy to take that for granted.
  • Summit next year is Nov 7-9. I usually recommend that people purchase at the early bird rate, but I don’t see any options for bundles. PASS should fix that quickly.
  • Those of you on the east coast will get this, preparing to fly out and back I was seriously thinking about what it would take to have an event closer to me just so I didn’t have to travel. I don’t think that’s next year based on other stuff I want to do, but 2019? Maybe.

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.

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