In all likelihood, this will get me kicked from the board, however, I'd like to share something about my passion for this community and why PASS as an organization is so important to it.
Let me start by stating something publicly that I've said before in private. If PASS as an organization goes away, will the Data Community disappear? Nope. The Data Community is so much more than this one organization that it will absolutely continue. It will simply be less, a lot less. Let me explain.
PASS is more than Summit. PASS is more than SQLSaturday. PASS is more than local groups. PASS is more than virtual groups. PASS is more than 24HOP. PASS is more than PASS Marathon. Oh yeah, all of that is PASS. However, PASS is more than that. PASS is an organizing hub around which all this community stuff, and more, is built.
So, PASS was founded, and continues to be funded, in part (and it's a small part), by Microsoft. We have Microsoft people sitting on the board with votes (and the current ones are the most amazing people we've had in a while, I absolutely adore them and their commitment to the community). PASS provides a mechanism for the community to work very directly with Microsoft at a high level. We meet with the VPs of the Data Platform a couple of times a year. We help them get their word out. Our ability to set direction and provide guidance, teaching and more, through all the platforms listed above, is why Microsoft engages with us on that level. Take away PASS, Microsoft still gets it's word out, but not directly through the community, not in the same way. Oh, and, we're working with Microsoft on some other stuff (can't share, NDA, and I'm already probably in trouble for this) that's only going to work if there's an organizing body behind it. You know, PASS.
Let's also bring out the fact that a lot of other vendors see the same thing. We're working with AWS to bring their content out and get it to Summit, sure, but also out to the local groups, virtual groups & SQLSaturdays. Redgate uses PASS as a way to get information out to a wider audience. PASS acts as a conduit to all the individual people out there for a bunch of organizations.
PASS has long been the mechanism by which the community builds itself. When Kevin Kline first started Summit, way back in the day, with several others, the one thing they talked about doing was being aggressively friendly. That tone was set and has been passed on. Everyone that's gone to Summit sees it in action. And it's carried into the SQLSaturday's and local groups and even into all the other places that are not in any way affiliated with PASS... but are run and organized by people who saw how we run things and recognized the utility of it all.
So, the community will keep going. It's just going to be less. Without that larger organizing body, setting the tone, working with vendors, all the rest, the community is just going to be less.
There. You can all savage me now. Have fun!