PASS Summit 2010-Wrap Up

Thursday ended with a ‘Meet the Board’ meeting where attendees could come ask the Board questions or present ideas. It went better than last year; smaller room, more attendees, less formal. Wayne Snyder did a nice job as the moderator. We’ll see about getting the full notes posted, but a brief recap of topics from memory:

  • Suggestion that Board members be given some minor funds for discretionary spending
  • Questions about the day one entertainment choice (we heard this one clearly)
  • Some issues with the screen placement in one room
  • Summit location (many wanting non West coast location)

And that was it. For me, as much or more than last year it felt like the Summit faded out slowly while was in the meeting. Overall it was a good week, very few problems and a lot of positive energy. I feel like in hindsight I still tried to do too much. I think next year I’m going to skip any party that isn’t an official PASS event. It’s hard to do, that’s good networking time and there are relationships to be maintained, but I need that time to spend in other ways. I was also struck that there are a lot of speakers on the program that I had not meet yet, and just didn’t have time to get there either, will focus more on that next year.

Out of all the things we did right this year, the one that worked the best was the ‘First Timer’ ribbon. Being able to see who was there for the first time was an instant way for me to start the conversation (‘Are you having a good time? Are we treating you well?) and just having a ribbon made them feel included. What’s really nice is that if it makes someone self-conscious they don’t have to wear it. Conversely, I thought the thing we did least well as the opening night session for the first timers. I really expected a 30 minute teaching type environment for conference survival skills and some background on PASS and instead it was more mini-keynote customized for them.

One area that I think needs community attention is the ‘After Hours’ calendar page. I know many attend private events or just want a quiet dinner, but I bet a lot more would enjoy joining a group. We should have dozens of events listed there each night. Going to restaurant X? Or touring the Space Needle? Why not invite someone to join you? We can make a big impact on first timers by giving them more options to meet people and feel connected.

The PASS Summit is a bit earlier next year, Oct 11-14, 2011, and we’re back to 2 days of pre-cons followed by the three day conference. Register before Dec 31st and you can get all five days for $1295. What you save will cover airfare and probably some of your hotel. Lots of businesses looking to ‘use up’ funds left in the budget at the end of the year, get this on the list. Saves money and locks it your trip for next year at the same time.

Friday morning we had a Board meeting and after some discussion, have amended our internal rules to make public the individual votes for any public (non NDA material) vote. There is also a resolution related to concerns about our selection of entertainment. We spent a good part of the meeting talking about our global strategy (a continuation from August). Minutes should be out in the next week. Our next meeting will be in Dallas on Jan 20-21, 2011.

Friday afternoon I had a few more informal meetings and a pleasant hour just sitting by myself. Tired by then, and without the pressing need to go places and do stuff, I was ready to go home. Left for the airport around 7:30 and suffered through the red eye to arrive in Orlando about 7 am to pleasantly warm weather.

The time change part of the trip is just hard. It’s Monday morning and my internal clock still isn’t sure what time it is. That’s going to take it’s toll on productivity for a day or two, and just not much to be done about it other than take vacation days.

It was a good event and worth the time, but I’ll admit to being glad it’s done for the year. Between SQLSaturday, SQLRally, and the Summit I’ve had too much going on, good to feel the workload and deadlines slow down some.