PASS Summit 2013-Almost Final Thoughts

I’m home in Orlando, reveling in not being jet lagged for once. A great traveler I am not. I was on the Board back when the decision was made to go to Charlotte. It was a decision that came with a certain amount of fear – what if things go badly, what if attendance is down? I never shared that concern, for a few reasons:

  • PASS used to move the event every year. It was expected and it worked. There had been no big change that caused us to take up residence in Seattle.
  • The Summit brand is incredibly strong, in large part due to the speakers, bloggers, and volunteers that contribute so much to the effort and in doing so are the worlds best marketing team.
  • Events are the core competency of PASS HQ. I never doubted that they could move the event to a different city and have it be seamless. That said, applause and kudos to Anika Poliseno and the rest of the team for meeting and exceeding that expectation. I literally saw nothing wrong as an attendee.

I hope the Board will work out some plan so that we go back to a rotation. I’d love to see a schedule alternating East/West coast, or East/Mid/West, but I think we could manage and prosper with something like 2 out of every 3 years in Seattle. I’d love to see a public bake-off for the non-Seattle year. I’d go back to Charlotte in a minute, but given the chance to get it back in Orlando I think Team Florida might do a lot of work to get that done!

I saw the “Community Zone” grow this year and hope to see more growth in years to come. The buttons (flair!) are a trend I expect will take off next year – I’ll be contributing a couple boxes of my own. The stick-on labels for the name badge trend continues to grow too and gets more entertaining each year. I wound up with “Big Cheese” (and I’m sorry but I cannot remember who gave it to me) and that surely wasn’t the most amusing.

I’d also like to compliment Microsoft on the keynotes this year. Zoomit, no clients on stage, bringing Dr. DeWitt back. I think the best year for keynotes in a while. Mark Sousa grew the SQL Clinic this year – great group, they love to try to solve the toughest and most unusual problems.

I heard great things about the staff at the Charlotte Convention Center. Southern hospitality perhaps? Even the TSA agents at the airport were nice!

Thanks and congratulations to the Board of Directors too. They continued the tradition of the Q&A, opened up the channel to bloggers, and were visible and reachable during the week. I’m sure have many notes in the “handy dandy notebooks” provided by incoming President Thomas LaRock.

We had good discussions this year about Chapters, SQLSaturday, and the PASS Board. There are things to work on, none that threaten the health of PASS, but still important and I hope they all get addressed. The top items I’ll be watching are:

  • More effective meetings on Tuesday
  • Fixing the SQLSaturday/Chapter privacy policy
  • Fixing membership, at least as it pertains to voting
  • A good Election Review Committee (ERC) cycle in time to be implemented next year
  • Better financial reporting (kudos to Andy Leonard for asking for this)
  • Discussion and published guidance on how future Summit sites will be selected
  • What the Board does with the two seats vacated by CA (and I hope to see public discussion first on this before a decision is made)
  • During the year updates on action items from the Board Q&A and a fully (but quick) report at the start of the Q&A next year.

I still have one interview from the Summit I need to complete, but it’s not about the Summit itself so I’ll get to that in the next week or so. Tomorrow I’ll have a recap of all the posts I wrote for this Summit and then we’ll call it done.