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Another Year, Another Missed PASS Summit

This year I was really looking forward to going to the PASS Summit. It's worth every penny in the knowledge you'll gain and the networking opportunities you'll encounter. You know, a lot hasn't been said on the later, but let me throw my two cents worth in here (since we're talking about pennies). The friends I have made and the relationships I have expanded on through the one PASS Summit I was able to attend have been extremely rewarding to me personally. I tweeted about how I consider a few folks my unofficial mentors in Steve Jones and Andy Warren. Being able to meet them and really get to know them at the PASS Summit was the main highlight of that conference for me. It's where I learned a lot more about them personally, where they come from, what their backgrounds are, and that time spent, along with other opportunities over the years, has been the reason I so value their wisdom and advice. But I've met and built relationships with other folks, too, through that conference and you know, if you were to sum up the hours I've spent talking, trading emails, getting technical advice, bouncing ideas, etc. off at a regular consultant's bill rate, I've come out way ahead. It's not about bill rates for me, don't get me wrong. But a lot of folks are not going to be able sell their manager on "relationships" in a lot of cases. So we need to take something that business uses. So if we're talking about something business can use to understand the benefits of sending its people, that's money. If I added up the bill rate for all those "consulting" hours that no one paid for versus what it costs to go to one conference, travel and accomodations included, business comes out incredibly ahead. Maybe that's another way to approach asking to go to the Summit or any other major conference like TechEd.

So back to what I was saying, I was looking forward to going to the Summit. There are a lot of folks I want to meet in person. There's a lot of stuff I want to learn about. This year was the first year I had a topic selected. And I'm a SQL Server MVP this year, and while I hope I'll be renewed come January, I know that's not a given. Plus, the recent PASS elections and some comments made by folks I respect (Andy Kelly, Adam Machanic, to name two) have made me realize that there PASS is a community and it's a professional organization, but it needs cash flow, too. So I wanted to talk to folks and see how I might help in that regard. Being a gopher and making phone calls and sending emails is something I can do, even if I don't have the business background of some folks. It's a way I can contribute to help PASS get better. And I figured the Summit was a good way to talk face-to-face with the right folks. So there were a lot of things saying, "Go west, young man!" But ultimately, it's about choices and priorities. I blogged about how I was impressed with a statement Brian Moran made. Here's his statement again:

"I’ve learned over the years that there are a lot of things that I can delegate to other people. I can’t delegate being a good husband or father. I prioritize those jobs on a daily basis even when I’m super busy with other professional responsibilities."

I'm of the same mindset. I can't delegate being a proper husband and father. I also won't abdicate or shirk those roles. Yesterday, when my wife and I went for our 20 week ultrasound, they noticed twins. Yeah, we were shocked. So were the nurse and doctor. Nothing previously had indicated twins, including the initial ultrasound and some of the screenings that have been done. As they examined using ultrasound, they could only see one placenta (which likely means identical twins). So that kicked us into "high risk" and we've got a referral working to doctors at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. I make fun of USC all the time due to their repeated futility in college sports, but their high risk pregnancy docs are great. I know, because the previous pregnancy we had to see them for a different matter (which has repeated itself in this pregnancy). The referral appointment may reveal that there are two placentas. And we drop back out of high risk. But it may also mean additional tests and checks, because they weren't able to get all the things they wanted to get on baby B (who was starting a trend of being uncooperative with the doctors... repeating the behavior of our 4 year-old daughter) even though what they were able to get on both, everything looks good. At this point we just don't know. The referral appointment should come in the next week or so, but most likely during the week of the Summit.

So as disappointed as I am, it wasn't a very hard decision as to what to do. I had already thought of this back in June because of a question Brad McGehee asked with regards to SQL Connections, when they were no emotions and no concerns and I could think through it in a coldly logical fashion (like Lori Edwards does). But even without that prior question, we're talking family. We're talking my wife. And that makes it a no-brainer of a choice. I've talked about my faith and that will always be first. But she's next on the pecking list. In fact, my faith says that had better be the way it is in my life. So while I will lament the fact that I can't be at the Summit this year, I won't lose any sleep over making this decision. For those who were looking to meet me, the couple of you out there, I hope we'll meet at other venues soon.

K. Brian Kelley - Databases, Infrastructure, and Security

IT Security, MySQL, Perl, SQL Server, and Windows technologies.


Posted by Grant Fritchey on 23 October 2009

You will be missed, but you couldn't possibly have a better reason to skip out. Congratulations.

Posted by Mike Walsh on 23 October 2009

Brian - Your reasons are dead on and an example. Again, congratulations and you already know my prayers are with you guys.

We will get together those praying PASS members and you can rest assured that even though you can't be there as planned praying with us, you will be on our prayers and in our thoughts.

Family is higher on the list than SQL community and learning. Much higher, even if the SQL community does have a family like feel to it. Please let us know how the additional ultrasounds look, if that is information you are willing to share. Maybe you can name the twins after BoD nominees ;-)

Posted by Tim Mitchell on 23 October 2009

Wow... first a hearty congrats!  Twins will be both a challenge and a blessing.  Thoughts and prayers with your family as you seek professional counsel for this revelation.

I applaud you for putting family first.  I read just last week (can't remember where, or I'd link it) that "The people I work for are waiting at home."  For me, that helps keep things in perspective.  

You'll be missed - I for one was looking forward to meeting you, but we'll have other opportunities to visit.  Best of luck to you as you prepare for your arrivals!

Posted by Andrew Kelly on 23 October 2009


I am sorry to hear  that you won't be at PASS this year but it's certainly understandable and we all wish you and the family good luck with it all. And congratulations by the way as well.

Posted by Anonymous on 23 October 2009

Pingback from  My Weekly Bookmarks for October 23rd | Brent Ozar - SQL Server DBA

Posted by Sankar Reddy on 24 October 2009


First congratulations and our prayers are with you. I am also in the same boat as you. I was so motivated and planned to attend PASS on my own money this year (had planned the drive from CA to WA) but had to drop out as we are expecting one in late december/early Jan. Family comes first before anything else although I would have liked the oppurtunity to attend PASS for the first time.

Posted by Peter Shire on 26 October 2009


Saw your tweet in this regard in Friday. I was sorry to hear you wouldn't be at PASS. Now that I know why, I send along my fond congratulations! My family and I will keep you in our prayers. I look forward to seeing you at a future event.


Posted by Anonymous on 26 October 2009

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Posted by AjarnMark on 28 October 2009


Congratulations on the twins!  Sorry to hear you won't be at the summit this year, but I absolutely agree with your decision.  I've had to make a few choices like that since I became a father, too, and it's good to hear that you are standing strong on your principle.

I have found myself reading through several of the archives on your blog lately and was hoping to meet you in person at the Summit this year, but I guess we'll have to wait for another opportunity.

By the way, good point about the dollar value of the relationships built.  It has "paid off" for me and my employer over the years, too.

Keep up the great writing and standing strong!


Posted by Anonymous on 29 October 2009

Quite a few folks have commented about my previous post about missing the PASS Summit , whether publicly

Posted by Anonymous on 11 January 2010

Pingback from  Going with your gut - SQLServerTimes2

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