Making Future PASS Summits Better

  • How can we make the Summit better, more sustainable, etc. after 2020?



  • When you answer this, I'd ask for a couple things.

    1. Give me a one sentence mission for what the Summit is, keeping in mind that there are other conferences out there (VS Live, SQL Bits, Ignite, etc.)
    2. What does this really mean for the average SQL Server DBA? Not you, as the people I expect to respond here are likely not the average DBA. Especially if you are a speaker.

    For me, the Summit has been a large networking event that allows people focused on SQL Server and the MS Data Platform to get excited, gain knowledge, and find inspiration in their careers.

    To that end, I think a couple things.

    1. Cap attendance to make this more financially sustainable. Contain the costs this way and manage the effort to a known quantity. I'm OK with 3,000, but not 10,000 since that would be aspirational and not a cap.
    2. Move the Summit around. It is great to have an MS presence, but I don't think for the average person they need to see 300 MS people.
    3. Experiment with a 2nd or 3rd Summit, aiming at Rally sized (<=500). This requires some financial analysis, but assume you can sell out 2 events and get 80% at the main Summit. I don't know what this means for funds, but diversity is good.
    4. Adopt more networking items. I've tried various things across the years, and many of these could be lightly organized by the mgmt company and run by volunteers. Game night, Monday night networking, random networking dinner thur night, etc. Work to create community
    1. Not very Microsoft centric, 3 days event for data people that can only afford an event in US
    2. An opportunity to talk to DBAs from other US States and Countries

    I second you with 1, 2, 3, and 4. This is a solid plan.

  • 1 - An opportunity to meet and learn from experts in SQL and learn about new features in the Microsoft data platform

    2 - An opportunity to talk to other data experts (DBA's, database developers, database architects, etc) from all over the world.

    I agree with ideas 2 and 4 for sure, but I'm a little hesitant on options 1 and 3.  Having the Summit move around means I get to see more of the USA (and potentially the world) as I attend. And I really like the idea of more networking options, especially some that are sponsored by PASS.  I know at past PASS Summits, getting to some of the events required you to talk to the right person to get an invite to an event.  These were usually sponsor funded events, so it made sense to keep the number of people attending a bit lower, but I would just like to see more PASS sponsored networking opportunities that don't detract from conference learning.

    Option 1 means that a lot of people who want to attend won't be able to as it could sell out before their employer can get all the paperwork in place. I know at my workplace, it can take me a while to get the approvals for training and travel for something like PASS Summit.  If the cap was 3000 people (for example) I then  have a higher sense of urgency to get the paperwork and approvals through that may end up just getting denied or missing the target for those 3,000 people.

    My concern with idea 3 of having more summits is people may be less inclined to travel to attend as a second Summit may be closer to where they live.  This is a good and bad thing.  Good because it may mean cheaper (or no) flights and hotels, but it may also be that getting speakers for the events becomes more tricky due to them not wanting to travel to potentially speak to an empty room.  I think if option 3 goes forward, it would be good to have  the different Summits more focused on a specific technology or target audience.  Like have a Developer Summit and a BI Summit and a DBA Summit and so on.

    The above is all just my opinion on what you should do. 
    As with all advice you find on a random internet forum - you shouldn't blindly follow it.  Always test on a test server to see if there is negative side effects before making changes to live!
    I recommend you NEVER run "random code" you found online on any system you care about UNLESS you understand and can verify the code OR you don't care if the code trashes your system.

  • I would love to see it moved around. Seattle isn't cheap and paying for parking every day on top of meals, hotel, and flights are not cheap. Also keep in mind not all go for free or because of a comp so the "Extra" costs on top of the summit ticket turns out to be a nice chunk of money.

    The summit to me is about networking, learning, sharing knowledge, and motivating others to take the next step.



Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login to reply