PASS has released the survey results as well as its decision about where to hold future Summit events. The decision is to keep it in Seattle for the next two years. I've been upfront about wanting it on the East Coast, so needless to say, I'm disappointed. Seattle is a hard justify for some of us on the East Coast. Case in point: I don't think a single member of my PASS chapter has been able to attend the Summit for the last three years because it has been in Seattle and their organizations aren't going for it. In my case, I was going to go last year, but it was completely out of pocket. By keeping it in Seattle, I don't see this trend changing soon. That would quite possibly be a different story if we saw the conference in Charlotte or Atlanta or Orlando or Miami, just to name a few places. Even Dallas or Nashville would likely cause this trend to change.
But based on certain numbers (and not others) the decision is to stay put. My wife has a favorite saying, "Tortured numbers will tell you anything." This, of course, originated from her statistics coursework as an undergraduate psychology major and graduate school psychology major. And when I see how the numbers were characterized, that's what I feel like the case is with the decision to keep the Summit in Seattle. Case in point, one of the justifications that was made was the results for seeing Microsoft's presence at the Summit being somewhat or very important (Q. 6). Yeah, that's to be expected. Of course I want to reach out and touch the vendor, if you give me that option. And so that's cited as a reason to leave it in Seattle. What isn't pointed out, though, is that having everything within walking distance (85%) scored higher than the Microsoft presence (the highest of the 3 was 84%). Or that free wireless (79%) beat out two of the three Microsoft-related questions as well. So this would seem to indicate that the #1 concern isn't Microsoft (that's #2), but that having a great event with proper connectivity is most important. And one can have a great event in more places than Seattle.
Then I look at Q. 7 and Q. 8. There's a net gain of 183 if we put the conference on the East coast. The gain is 229 if we held it in the central region of the US. So that means we would pick up folks who don't normally go to the Summit. Then when I look at Q. 11, the folks who want it out of Seattle every other year far and away outnumber every other category. I saw the comment about cost, and that would strike me as a valid reason, but it makes me ask, "Why is Seattle so cheap?" What makes it an ideal location over other places? And if it's such an ideal location, why does Las Vegas and New Orleans and Atlanta and Boston and Orlando get conferences? Why aren't they all going to Seattle? What are they doing that PASS isn't doing? Why are they able to get reasonable rates when PASS isn't?