Events I Wish PASS Organized

I was talking a bit with a friend at SQLSaturday Jacksonville and realized I needed to write down a thought or two. I love the PASS Summit – its the great gathering of our craft. But I also long for specialized events to supplement both the Summit and SQLSaturday. Imagine that a couple times a year PASS held smaller (say 100-300 attendees, give or take) that focused on a specific area – maybe one with a lot of interest, maybe one that is trying to take off. In a way it might be a SQLSaturday for a Virtual Chapter, but I think it would be more than that. Not quite SQL Rally either. Similar in size, but different price point and different objective. I’d go to one that was 400 level on architecture, or performance tuning, or availability. Not just for the 400 level content, but to learn from and share stories people that are actively working on that stuff at that level all the time. I think the session format would still work, and getting picked to speak at one of these would be something. It would be slower, more personal, deeper. Worthy of a close to premium price (think $400-$600 per day, same as Summit).

I’m writing all of that in a hurry (or it won’t get written at all), so it’s less than polished. My point here isn’t to complain about PASS, just to encourage what I always ask; do more. Serve the craft. Serve the members. I want PASS to be more than just events, but it’s good at events, so let’s do more. Stop and think about whether you’d go to the boss to ask for funding to attend a three done conference on some topic here that was limited to 300 attendees and had 400 level content.

It’s smaller risk, easier logistics, more choices of locations. Why aren’t we doing this?

4 thoughts on “Events I Wish PASS Organized

  1. I think the 400 level is better served by training classes or pre-cons where you can have an organized, progressive agenda, plus team exercises and discussions.

    For example, in my one-week Senior DBA class, day 1 is about RPO/RTO requirements, solutions, and configuration. In the last module of the day, they get homework (RPO/RTO requirements, database design, and client budget), and break up into teams to talk about how they’ve solved similar requests in the past, and what they’ll design for this client. They can work on their design after hours, and then in the morning, we talk through what they designed, poke holes in it, talk about my design, and poke holes in that too.

    I don’t think you can do a great job of that kind of thing in a conference setting where people switch tracks all the time, don’t build up relationships with the people sitting next to them, etc. The 60-90 minute time slot and really varied agendas of conferences make that tough.


    1. Brent, you might be right, but Im flexible:-) Focusing on 400 level is less important to me than the tighter focus, both of the presentations and the attendees. It’ll never be relationship building of the intensity you get in a class, but by focusing and limiting I think the evening events become very very useful. Beyond that, I’d just like to see PASS do more events, and I’m flexible about the format and pricing. Lots of cities we could visit, lots of niche topics that have a devoted/needy fan base. Online training is great, but there’s more to it than that. Putting people in a room has some magic to it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


  2. Andy,

    I like this idea, probably because I was thinking about something similar. My thought was a SQLSaturday that was nothing but 3 hours sessions about specific topics and encouraging particular speakers to create these sessions (3-4 tracks). Or, get a series of speakers to progressively go through the day building on each other’s session – Database Design, Performance Tuning, Dimensional Modeling, ETL or Installation/Configuration of SQL Server.

    Having it as a conference is OK with me rather than a SQLSaturday. I would really like to see it on the East Coast or Mid-West rather than the West Coast where Summit and BA conference is already located.


  3. Thomas, I think lots of room for innovation remaining, both within the SQLSaturday framework and at longer/paid events. Totally agree on doing these whatever-they-may-be in different cities.


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