Notes on the 2015 PASS Summit

I’m still catching up after my 13th PASS Summit and as usual the longer I wait the shorter the notes will be, so I’m going to try to capture the biggest thoughts of my week:

  • Storyville Coffee was very good. A little hard to find, but worth the trip
  • I’m hoping video of the first day keynote gets posted, I missed part of it. What I saw was ok. Packed room, people standing in the back. Room was warmer than comfortable. About 9:30 I saw people start to exit in a slow stream – I suspect wanting to get to first session more than any lack of interest.
  • Monday night networking dinner went really well at Yardhouse. I ended up seating people because the staff wasn’t as comfortable about shoe horning people in. We had 150+ on site and most stayed 2 hours easily. Service was best we had. We’ll return next year unless Seahawks are in town that night.
  • Event logistics seemed fine. Lunches were good, if not quite what I’d order! Not sure it was real tea they were serving.
  • The SQLSaturday RoundTable went went. I did my 15 minutes on marketing and got better than hoped response – tough to talk about “how to” to a crowd that has already “done that!”. I still wish for more time and more time to just talk among the attendees. Maybe an earlier start would help. The sponsor panel was interesting, but I still don’t think they quite appreciate how much we the attendees fear (for lack of a better word) the barrage of email from multiple sponsors post event. Grant is taking over the portfolio
  • Chapter Leader meeting. Grant announced he was moving to SQLSaturday, but no word on his replacement. Very disappointing to have Grant move – Chapters needs a lot of attention and continuity. Deserves would be a better word. Not quite related to Summit, I’m still unclear why we don’t combine Chapters and Virtual Chapters to free up a board member.
  • Tim Ford is taking on the new membership portfolio. I’m eager to see the final goals. Could it be we’ll finally fix who is a voting member? Thanks for Tim for his efforts related to SQLSaturday.
  • Bill Graziano finished up 10 years of service to PASS. Thanks for that Bill.
  • Community Zone was active and popular, as was the SQL Clinic.
  • Expo area seemed to do really well. I hear it was the best sales year ever. Lots of smaller vendors, I like to see those!
  • SQL in the City seemed to go smoothly.
  • View from the Space Needle is worth the $22, though the view from my 25th floor room at the Grand Hyatt facing the water was good too. Best weather I’ve seen in Seattle, wore shorts all week, even saw the sun a few times.
  • Caught up with a lot of people, was good to reconnect.
  • Tjay and I visited – it’s a co-op of about 25 woodworkers. Beautiful stuff. Took some pictures of things I might try at some point.
  • Second day keynote was good, but less compelling than some years – all about IoT. Final year for Dr Dewitt, thanks for many hours of preparation over the years to do all those keynotes! Now who will fill this spot next year? We have to find someone good or we’ll get a marketing presentation!
  • Board Q&A was ok. Not huge attendance and I think that reflects relatively few problems in the world of PASS. Thought they spent too long going over answers to questions from last year (publish those!) and letting board members talk about what they had accomplished (publish that too!). I’m looking forward to reviewing the transcript, might be a thing or two worth a follow up.
  • I need to go back over the day 2 keynote on the financials. Good info there, but I want to dig in a little more to the numbers.
  • Best speaker of the week for me was Peter Myers, very smooth and handled a typo in a demo cleanly. I went to three MS sessions. One I left because I wasn’t sure it would every get past “Im excited”, one that wandered towards the goal too slowly for me, and one that went well. That might be the same ratio for community sessions or I could be a tough grader, but I don’t think so. Speakers, the first couple minutes sets the tone. By 10 minutes in you’ve got me or I’m going to my “B” session. I love when you’re excited, but show me stuff.
  • I went to the opening night reception, skipped Wed – seems like Tues repeated? I went to EMP on Thursday and that was ok, but not a huge draw for me. I’m starting to think about the value of a smaller event on Thursday evening for those that would like to slow down and talk.
  • Best conversations about tech were at the Birds of a Feather lunch where I had a table with my friend Allen Kinsel. Lots of interesting questions. We need more time for those talks!
  • I still miss the Chapter lunch. What did we replace it with? I heard it was “too much work”. I’d like to see it return.
  • My kids loved finding my picture on the “Connect” bag. Thought the three versions were a nice idea, saw some complaints about the lack of expected backpack. More on this later.
  • Exhibitors, I’m more likely to visit if you have swag my kids will like! Idera scores big with the ducks, but lots of others had stuff too.
  • I stuck to my plan of not live blogging and opting out of most/all the evening events. It made for a relaxing week. I may change again next year, but it was nice to break the pattern this year.
  • I need to write about the value of evals soon
  • I’d really like to see the Summit move from Seattle in 2020 – what would that take?
  • I think I might have encouraged as many as three people to run for the Board next year. Taking credit is probably not fair, lets say I think I know three people that will run next year!

A good week. Now to finish up some related items, get ready for SQLSaturday Tampa BI Edition in a week, and then start thinking about our 10th SQLSaturday Orlando.