Day one for me began with a leisurely breakfast at Top Pot donuts with Jack Corbett, Andy Warren, and Don Gabor. We were joined briefly by Robert Cain, and Greg Larsen. We talked PASS, career development, networking, and various other interesting (perhaps even a few uninteresting) topics. Don’s perspective as a nontechnical person was refreshing, and since we’ve spent a good deal of time recently discussing building a network of contacts, I made a number of mental notes to follow up on for later.
At midday, I attended the chapter leaders’ roundtable meeting. I’m not a group leader, but our chapter president wasn’t able to come to the summit so I sat in for him. Led by MVP Greg Low, this roundtable allowed group leaders to give input on how PASS could help them to grow their groups. A number of good ideas were floated (more on that in a later post), and I was able to meet some more Tweeple for the first time, among them TJay Belt and Tim Ford. Several of us went to lunch afterward at the restaurant in the Sheraton, where I met Michelle Ufford and spent some more time with Andy Leonard. We talked SSIS, compensation, practical jokes, and bacon, but not necessarily in that order.
Don Gabor’s one-hour networking presentation for volunteers was valuable and immediately useful. He gave us some practical ways to meet people, remember names, and maintain good conversations. A couple of practical exercises were included to both demonstrate his logic and to help us meet other people in the session. He offered a longer, $60 two-hour version of this content, but I skipped it to go meet some folks and work on a blog – a good decision, as it turns out, as I was called away by work to address a critical issue.
Walking through the concourse I bumped into MVP trio Geoff Hiten, Ken Simmons, and Jonathan Kehayias, who were in search of sustenance. We picked up Aaron Nelson along the way, and the five of us walked down to the Tap House, a hip restaurant and microbrewery. Good conversation ensued as we discussed previous PASS events and worst practices in SQL Server.
A general reception and dinner was held in the early evening, where we got to see some of the heavy hitters in SQL Server answer difficult questions in the Quiz Bowl. To the surprise of no one, the Tripp/Randall team kicked tail in the contest. I practiced my the lessons learned from Don’s session earlier today and made cold introductions to several people. I stopped to talk with the virtual BI chapter folks and tentatively booked a webcast speaking opportunity for later this month or early next.
The SQL Server Central casino party followed. I’m a sucker for a poker game, especially when it’s with my SSC friends and presents opportunities to meet new SQL Server people. I didn’t win anything, but scored some networking points nonetheless. At the party, several of us got together and elected to find a karaoke joint. After getting lost on the way, we finally arrived at Bush Garden, a small Oriental establishment which was summarily taken over by geeks. We closed the place down after 1:30 (it’s been years since I’ve done that), and after getting lost – again – on the way back, I finally arrived in my room about 2:30am. Expect me to be half-asleep at the opening keynote on Tuesday.
More to come…