If you read this blog I’m sure you read Steve Jones’ blog as well, so you know that the PASS Nominating Committee did not recommend that he be included on the slate for consideration by eligible voters. You also know that this has caused a bit of a stir in the community, both in comments to his post, and on twitter. I mean, Steve not making the cut to a community vote seems as unlikely as Tiger Woods missing the cut in a major championship.
Honestly, I’m shocked Steve didn’t make it as I think he has clearly shown that he is one of the forward thinkers and thought leaders in the SQL Server Community. In my opinion, this is exactly what PASS needs. In his career he has been involved in starting SQLServerCentral, probably the largest community of SQL Server professionals; the SQL Server Standard magazine which was given to PASS, scrapped, restarted, & scrapped again; and SQLSaturday which has also been given to PASS. Of those three things, to my knowledge only SQLServerCentral has ever made him any money. SQLSaturday, started by Steve with his partners Andy Warren and Brian Knight, actually probably cost him money. Each of these things has had an impact on the community, and I’d argue that SQLServerCentral and SQLSaturday have had a greater impact than PASS. As a matter of fact I’ve been a member of SQLServerCentral much longer than I’ve been a member of PASS and have gotten more value from it than PASS. Actually this is one of the reasons I chose to run for the board, to try to be a part of making it more relevant to every day SQL Server Professionals.
Steve has not only shown vision, but the willingness to take risks to see his vision become reality. This is what we need on the PASS board, people with vision and the fortitude to take calculated risks to see the vision happen.
This is not a post to criticize the Nominating Committee for not recommending Steve, more of an indictment of a process that removes someone who has shown a passion, vision, and commitment to the community that few can rival. The Nominating Committee was provided with guidelines and voted based on those guidelines. I applaud them for making a decision that they knew would be unpopular (see Stuart Ainsworth’s post), I call that leadership. The easy way out would have been to push Steve through, but they chose to take the criticism that they knew they would receive.
What would I like to see? First, even as I write this the official announcement hasn’t been made, so let’s get that our right after notifying the candidates and post the interview scores and the reason why candidates where not recommended. As a candidate I don’t have a problem with that. Second, I think we need to re-evaluate the process and requirements. I understand that there need to be some minimum standards, but if your application is good enough, you should really have blow the interview to not make the slate. It’s not like there are hundreds of people running, there were 9 applications for 3 spots, I’d like to think that professionals will be able to sort through and pick the best candidates.
Now the question is, how are we, as a community going to react? Do you withdraw from interaction with PASS? Jump off the bandwagon, or do you use your vote in the election to elect people who want to change the process? Do you make that a litmus test for the one who made the slate? Along with transparency and the location of the Summit. I know that these are issues I care about and that I will vote on. I encourage you to communicate with the folks on the slate and ask them these questions and others. If you want to criticize the process do what YOU can do to change it.