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PASS Summit 2009 – Fun

I’m not a big party guy, and in fact, more than a few people can attest to the fact that I’m likely to duck out early at evening events. However there are some fun things at PASS that I wanted to mention, and let you know what you can (likely) look forward to next year.


I mention this a lot, at least I think I do, but we typically host an opening night party at the PASS Summit. We’ve done it for 6 or 7 years, and I’ve settled on a casino themed party. We have a code that you can use when you register to get a free ticket, or you can buy a ticket for $30.

We spend all the money that we get for the party on the event. I typically give away a polo shirt and a book to everyone, and then a lot of other prizes. Lots of DVDs, books this year, flash drives, cameras, and more. I save 3 big prizes for the big gamblers (a Zune HD, $150 to Best Buy, and a camera this year), and then randomly gave away other prices like a digital photo frame, to others at the end.

This has also become the event for the Exceptional DBA award presentation.

SQL Karaoke

I heard that after my party on Monday a bunch of people went out to a karaoke bar. I got dragged out there on Thursday night and while I didn’t torture anyone by getting on stage myself, it was great fun for about 20-25 Summit attendees.

I’m not sure that I’d want everyone coming, but there are a few places yo can go and if you have a group of people you’ve met, suggest that they go out and try something. Even wandering down near the water and finding a restaurant to sit and chat in would be great. There are also lots of bars with bands in Seattle.


I’ve always wondered by Gameworks wasn’t more a part of the Summit since it’s across the street from the Convention Center. I’m sure it’s a money thing, but this year it was rented by Microsoft for a Wed night party. I was only there for an hour, but it seemed people really enjoyed it. A great way to get to know someone and have fun playing games.

Vendor Parties

These are typically invitation only, but are a lot of fun. Ask about them at the various booths and see if you can get invited. I typically attend the SQL Sentry party since I’ve known the people working there for years and consider them friends. It’s usually a fairly small affair, but this year was packed with close to 100 people at one point.

Quest also usually throws a big party and I hear great things about it. There are likely other parties as well, so spend some time networking and getting to know vendors. If you are a customer, be sure to ask if something is going on. I also usually attend the Friends of Red Gate dinner as well.

SWAG and Dinner at the Day One dinner

It’s not necessarily a real party, but it can be fun. The end of the first day of sessions takes place in the vendor expo, with dinner catered among the various booths. It’s a chance for you to talk to vendors and grab some swag in a fun atmosphere.

There’s More

There are no shortage of things to do in Seattle, or in any of the other convention cities. Tim Mitchell wrote about being “That Guy” and he certainly wasn’t that guy this year, getting on stage to sing and attending other parties.

There are a number of MVP events, which limits them to a few people, but if you’re a part of that group, be aware.

Seattle is an interesting city, and things are relatively close. Cabs aren’t expensive, especially with 3-4 people sharing them, and you can reach a number of places. Things I’ve done in the past and would recommend:

  • The Space Needle – Not much here, but it’s a worldwide landmark
  • The Experience Music Project – Worth going in, and it has a Science fiction Museum in the building.
  • Seattle Seahawks / Seattle Mariners – Professional sports.
  • The Underground Tour – I found this fascinating and learned about Seattle history.
  • Museum of Flight – Good for adults and kids. Walk through a Concorde.

There are other museums and theaters as well if you like those things. I’d even recommend bringing your family the weekend before or after and seeing Seattle. My son and I had a great time in 2008 touring the city.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the keynotes and some things I think they could do to improve them.

The Voice of the DBA

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 Tim Mitchell on 11 November 2009

I've sent a lot of follow-up e-mails to people I've met (though I'm still behind), and most of them agree that meeting people and networking are the best parts of the summit.  Unofficial events such as the photo walk and karaoke are great to break away from the intense learning experience, while at the same time spending casual time with fellow SQL Server professionals.

Thanks for the mention of the blog post - I got a number of compliments on it last week.  And you're right, I practiced what I preached, even embarrassing myself by crooning a few numbers on stage. :)

Posted by Steve Jones on 12 November 2009

You were great on stage. BTW, there's a video of you out there somewhere with Ms. Moss entertaining us.

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