Last week I received this comment/question from one of my fabulous First Timers:
I have a good natured question coming from an jaded old bitter DBA, what’s all the hype? I’ve been to a few conferences and I usually just show up, find the interesting or necessary presentations and go on my way.
Here however, we have a team leader, and a team name? Networking events? It’s pretty crazy. Am I missing something here? I feel like I should be studying or something!!! Let me know if I’m misunderstanding something.
I have to say, that’s one of the best questions I think I’ve ever had about the Summit! I thought I’d answer it here.
The best way I can explain it is this: I was in marching band in school. Before I joined marching band, I had friends, went to classes, and learned stuff. After I joined the band, I had friends AND 250 people I could say Hi to in the halls, stuff to do before and after school, behind-the-scenes knowledge of the school (like the split-level workout room door that was never locked, that sort of thing). You didn’t really NEED something like band in high school, but it made it a lot more fun, and even informative.
You can absolutely go to PASS and have a great time and learn a ton whilst ignoring all of this jazz. It’s a solid conference with a ton of the highest level speakers, authors, and Microsoft reps (as well as vendors, etc etc), and it stands on its own just fine.
But I’ve found that the Summit is an awful lot of fun if you’re involved in some of the “extracurricular” stuff. Obviously, you don’t have to participate in every non-session thing…I think if someone tried, they’d drop from exhaustion by day 2. But if something appeals to you, by all means show up!
Me? I now have about 20 really really good friends, and 80 really good acquaintances, that hit the Summit every year. I participate in certain events (Welcome reception, photo walk, Kilt day, WIT luncheon, keynotes and more) because they appeal to me. I skip other events because I have to moderate, and/or they’re not my bag. What’s more, I’m enough of a glutton for punishment that I add EXTRA-extra events: Sean and I interview several authors and speakers every year, hold a special event, etc etc.
Anyway, I hope that helps. And no, you don’t have to study. You don’t really have to do anything but show up!