What Do We Want from PASS?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item What Do We Want from PASS?

  • Steve,

    liked your blog post and editorial today about this issue, and couldn't agree more that there should be more transparency.

    As a DBA in the UK, I feel very, very distant from PASS. I joined a few years ago, but my location is a large barrier to any physical events! Not that that is PASSs fault.

    My only direct connection is regular emails about every 3-4 weeks. I do participate in my local user group, which in turn is linked with the UK SSUG, which itself is somehow 'affiliated' to PASS (although the only clue to that is a link to the UK SSUG from SQLPAss.org) - hardly feel 'connected'!

    I don't feel part of a community with PASS, I feel more part of a community here at SSC. I certainly don't feel as though PASS does anything for me, and if it ceased tomorrow, I'm not sure I'd notice.

  • Sorry, one of the noisy 50 still making noise.

    The PASS Summit is one of the best networking events I've ever seen. The way that the leaders in the community reach out to others, the opportunities for talking to each other, vendors, writers, MVP's... it's great. I have great friends there that I only see once a year.

    Except for the summit though, the organization doesn't do much for the day-to-day lives of DBA's that I can see. They have an active interest and a network connection with local user groups around the country. But, as a leader of one of those user groups, I don't get anything from that association. When we launched the group we received a few books and once last year we got some old SQL Standard magazines. We also recieved a kickback for members that attended the summit (which was actually quite nice). Other than that... silence. No help with speakers or sponsors. As the leader of a user group, I'm on my own except for the support I get from the rest of the SQL Server community. I'd love to see something out of PASS on this.

    Don't get me wrong, I know that it's a volunteer run organization. I'm one of the volunteers. I also know that volunteering you can only do so much. Even what you commit to do isn't always done as well as it should be or on time or sometimes, even done at all. But more is needed. Things have improved over the years in some ways. PASS has much better technology supporting the organization now than it did. Some of the support staff is excellent (Sanjeet & Blythe, you guys are great), but that's two people. They're only going to get so much done.

    Anyway, that's the one thing I'd like to see. More direct support for the local users groups.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • kevriley (10/22/2009)


    Steve,

    liked your blog post and editorial today about this issue, and couldn't agree more that there should be more transparency.

    As a DBA in the UK, I feel very, very distant from PASS. I joined a few years ago, but my location is a large barrier to any physical events! Not that that is PASSs fault.

    My only direct connection is regular emails about every 3-4 weeks. I do participate in my local user group, which in turn is linked with the UK SSUG, which itself is somehow 'affiliated' to PASS (although the only clue to that is a link to the UK SSUG from SQLPAss.org) - hardly feel 'connected'!

    I don't feel part of a community with PASS, I feel more part of a community here at SSC. I certainly don't feel as though PASS does anything for me, and if it ceased tomorrow, I'm not sure I'd notice.

    I am also a DBA in the uk, Where is your local group?, never seen one anywhere near where I work. PASS doesnt really have any effect on what I do, just seems to be another organisation that is there in the background, that people rave about but doesnt seem to offer anything to DBA's working in the UK.

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  • Silverfox,

    my local group is the Manchester SSUG, part of the UK SSUG - try their website www.sqlserverfaq.com - it's maintained mainly by Tony Rogerson. They also have meetings in Leeds, Reading, London, Cardiff, Dundee and Bracknell.

    As you'll see from the website though, there's no reference to PASS!

    Where are you based?

    Kev

  • kevriley (10/22/2009)


    Silverfox,

    my local group is the Manchester SSUG, part of the UK SSUG - try their website www.sqlserverfaq.com - it's maintained mainly by Tony Rogerson. They also have meetings in Leeds, Reading, London, Cardiff, Dundee and Bracknell.

    As you'll see from the website though, there's no reference to PASS!

    Where are you based?

    Kev

    based in North Wales, but living and working in woking atm, well for the next month or so, then anywhere in europe. I go where the work is.

    maybe the next london meeting I might try and get to.

    scratch that, cannot make those times, bloody typical, how can you be expected to be there when the start times are part of BAU Hours. lol

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [highlight]Recommended Articles on How to help us help you and[/highlight]
    [highlight]solve commonly asked questions[/highlight]

    Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help by Jeff Moden[/url]
    Managing Transaction Logs by Gail Shaw[/url]
    How to post Performance problems by Gail Shaw[/url]
    Help, my database is corrupt. Now what? by Gail Shaw[/url]

  • PASS does put on a Summit in Europe. It's not as big or as well advertised as the Summit in the US (usually in Seattle these days), but it's pretty well attended by most of the bigger name presenters. It was held in Germany[/url] in April of this year. You guys should try to go next year.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Silverfox (10/22/2009)


    scratch that, cannot make those times, bloody typical, how can you be expected to be there when the start times are part of BAU Hours. lol

    I think they do that to keep the finish times down to a reasonable hour, whilst getting as much into the meeting as poss.

    You're right though it doesn't make it easy for us who dare to not work in the confines of the city!!:-D

    Kev

  • Another one do the noisy 50 chiming in.

    Until about 2 years ago I was only vaguely aware that PASS existed and that was because I saw reference to the Summit here on SSC. I lived 2.5-3 hours from the nearest user group and have a life outside SQL so making that kind of effort was not happening. Now I am co-President of my local chapter (OPASS) and have some idea of what PASS is and what I think it should do. I think PASS should stand on the shoulders of the local chapters. PASS should be working to develop:

      A speaker directory where local chapter leaders can find speakers in their region

      A sponsor directory so we can find sponsors or at least who to contact in listed companies about sponsorship.

      Training beyond the Summit. I'd include speaking seminars, chapter leader seminars. By accident I found out that there are regional mentors, find that information on the PASS web site.

    I'm sure I could come up with more, but I think I made my point. I believe PASS is only as strong as it's local chapters, so right now, the focus needs to be on strengthening them.

    I'll be at the chapter leaders lunch on Thursday at the Summit and I think these are things Chapter Leaders need to bring up and I will.

    Jack Corbett
    Consultant - Straight Path Solutions
    Check out these links on how to get faster and more accurate answers:
    Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help
    Need an Answer? Actually, No ... You Need a Question

  • Grant Fritchey (10/22/2009)


    PASS does put on a Summit in Europe. It's not as big or as well advertised as the Summit in the US (usually in Seattle these days), but it's pretty well attended by most of the bigger name presenters. It was held in Germany[/url] in April of this year. You guys should try to go next year.

    In the UK we have SQL Bits[/url], which is now the biggest SQL Server conference in Europe.

    Best of all, its FREE!

    Kev

  • I guess I'm noisy. I don't really mean to be. Anyway, I used to love PASS and had a truly inspiring first PASS Summit in 2004. At one point I was the Executive Chair of the PASS Chapter committee and have since contemplated running for the Board.

    I once jokingly said "PASS is a place where good ideas go to die" to a friend of mine that was on the Board. It was a half-serious throw away line that us sarcastic cynics make to get a laugh more than to make a point. My friend on the Board seized on it as if I'd made some profound observation. (I didn't realize I had, I was half joking and frustrated).

    The thing is, PASS Summits are hard and cost a lot of money. Any other costs have always played second fiddle to the conference. If that's been the case in the good times, how will it be so now with a muddle through economy that we are in.

    Frankly, I think we need a reset. I love to see new life on the Board and I welcome seeing people like Tim Ford, Jeremiah Peschkaj, and others step up to make themselves available.

    What IS our community? Is it a once a year Summit? Is it a Board? What are we spending money on? Why are we spending it? "Because we always have done things like this" never works for me.

    These are times of change. Let's let our ideas come to life.

    Chuck

    @chuckboycejr

    oh, go Phillies!

  • One thing PASS could do is: Get noticed outside of the database industry. Get in the news so the mass public becomes aware of the organization in a good or interesting way. That would make membership more valuable to members. Get a picture of John Hodgman wearing a PASS tee shirt - or President Obama - you know - lots of interesting people wearing the tee shirt and post those occasionally - create that ironic illusion that everyone knows what PASS is. Get some cameo appearances of people wearing a PASS shirt in some movies or television.

    Get some artists from Threadless.com or some other online groups to create the new PASS shirt for the year - so that it's cool to have one.

    An broad organization can often do things that a company or person can't. For instance, maybe PASS could survey companies and heat map those that use SQL Server - or get license information from Microsoft and visualize it. The idea is to come up with data sources not normally available and do something with it of interest to the membership.

    One organization to take notes from is Improv Everywhere[/url] based out of New York City. They organize and film lots of crazy missions. We could do something like that.

    A great point that Steve mentions is that PASS being a tech-savvy organization, it would be nice to see us do some interesting things with technology that other professional associations haven't done or don't do. Perhaps we could do a geographic visualization of all the PASS members - and maybe do a heat map of involvement with different colors for conference attendance, articles contributed - etc. That information could help other PASS members become aware of other local members with whom they can collaborate.

    PASS could do interviews of notable industry people and then post them on the PASS site. The Simple Talk newsletter does something like that - and I really enjoy those.

    Also, if an organization like PASS is open to member-submitted articles, one way to solicit more of those would be to offer suggestions on specific topics - or get to know specific members and find out what they could write about.

    Bill Nicolich: www.SQLFave.com.
    Daily tweet of what's new and interesting: AppendNow

  • Ok, I'm working on my third attempt at a reply!

    First, I like the discussion and appreciate the time everyone is putting into it. Next, if I could wish for something from the community it would be a wish list (understanding that even Santa doesn't deliver everything you want) of what PASS should be and do beyond what it does now. You don't have to be a volunteer to have suggestions (though we appreciate volunteers!) and it's ok to dream some too. I recently posted my view of where PASS should be in five years - how about posting your own?

    I don't mean that to sound bad, I'm serious - rather than focus on just the election or just chapters, why not go take an independent look and post your own five year dream, then let the Board sift through the ideas and try to present back a one year and a five year plan that includes some of those ideas?

    I'll be following along, and glad to answer questions.

  • In line with that, does PASS have a five year plan? Beyond 5 conferences? As Grant and Jack mentioned, it doesn't appear that PASS does much to help chapters or build a community. Where is the sharing of presentations, or even the listing that chapters could use?

    I think a wish list is a good idea. I'll work on one.

  • I periodically get emails extorting me to sign up for a PASS conference which I've never done. Beyond that I have no idea why I would join PASS. SSC has a great website with lots of articles and forums so I see a benefit in being involved here but I can't see why I'd be part of PASS. I guess the thats the question that PASS must answer. Why are they relavent and how can they encourage people to join. They aren't the only conference in town. I recently attended the Power up with SQL Server online conference and I know of the SSWUG.ORG Virtual conferences which my management likes better since there is no travel time and its cheaper. As much as I enjoy travel I don't even understand why I would join PASS. Maybe I'll put of effort in addrtessing this question and look more carefully and their website and what's being offered. But so far I'm not convinced.

    Francis

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