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The Advantage of Seattle - Where to host the PASS Community Summit

I heard during last week that the 2009 PASS Community Summit will be back in Seattle, on Nov 3-6 next year. I think that's great and if you have plans to go, or are planning to go, or get get budget approved now and register at a discount, be sure to use our SSC6 code. You'll save $100, and get to come to our great party. A big writeup on that coming soon.

I think the Summit should be in Seattle every year. As much as I think Seattle in November is a miserable place, the Summit fits there. With Microsoft just across the water, there are literally hundreds of developers that come over to the Summit to interact with you, the customers, and find out what you think. They are always walking around and willing to answer questions.

Just don't ask them why SQL Server isn't available on floppy disks. Andy tried that one out on a few of them and got one guy backing away like he might be a little crazy and potentially dangerous, which is what I'd expect. Another guy tried to give him the solution of using WinZip or WinRAR to split the SQL Server DVD across floppies, apparently thinking Andy was serious.

In any case, outside of TechEd, this is the largest concentration of SQL Server people and that alone means it's worth having the Summit in Seattle. I'd prefer the Microsofties don't speak, just answer questions in the exhibit hall and outside sessions. That way we get less marketing stuff. :)

I went to Seattle most years for a conference and I think it was 4 or 5 years before I ever saw the sun outside, so Seattle isn't on my list of places to be in the winter. Still it's a nice city, and I had a good time over the weekend with my son touring various museums and things around Seattle.

There is some talk that if PASS continues to grow then the Washington State Convention Center won't be large enough to host the conference and it would have to be held elsewhere. If that's the case, then I have a solution for you:

Cap the Seattle conference at 2000 people, or some number that makes PASS money, but ensures it will sell out. Keep it in Seattle in November and have Microsoft really support it.

Then have a second, smaller conference in Orlando in the spring. Plenty of people on the East Coast would prefer that, they'll go, you can still make money there as well, and I'm sure Microsoft will give you some support. With hundreds of people submitting sessions for this Summit that didn't get to speak, I'm sure that you will have plenty of speakers and it would be the chance to have two successful events a year.

If you are a member of PASS, be sure to give them some feedback. I'm not sure how they decide where to hold the Summit (it's been in Chicago,. Orlando, Denver, and Dallas), but I think Seattle is the best location.     

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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by Bill Graziano on 25 November 2008

Steve, thanks for thinking about PASS and thanks for this post.  It's always good to know what people are thinking.  

The convention center in Seattle is planning an expansion that should be done in a few years.  We *think* that will give us plenty of capacity.  I also agree there are huge advantages to being in Seattle.  I normally hear comments about not being on the east coast more often.  This is the first year I haven't really heard those comments.  I'm glad to see you talk about the benefits of being in Seattle.

Posted by David Benoit on 25 November 2008

Interesting enough I was actually going to blog on the benefits of being there as well. This was only my second PASS but the contrast between this one and the one in Dallas in 2005 was huge. Much better conference and the MS tech sessions were great. There were some really good sessions provided by MS that honestly made the show great for me.

So, I strongly agree, Seattle is the place to be for PASS!

Posted by BEACHDBA on 25 November 2008

I agree that Seattle is a great place for the summit, but disagree about not having MS techies speak.  Some of the best sessions I went to this time around were given by MS folks.

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Posted by Jeffrey Yao on 27 November 2008

Since November is not a good season in Seattle, why not hold the Summit in early October or Sept? I am just curious why PASS sticks to Nov for Summit?

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