Normally I fly out Monday to spend the week at PASS. It’s good to get there early to adjust to the time change, I like to attend the meetings on Tuesday, and of course Monday night is the networking party that Steve Jones & I have organized the last few years. This year I’m flying out Wed morning. Halloween is on Tuesday and I want to be at home for it. My daughters are 13 & 10 now, so I’m conscious that I have only a few more years (at most!) before Halloween with Dad is no longer cool. It took a while to decide between flying out Wed or just skipping the event entirely, it’s less than ideal for me either way.
With that decided, it also means Steve & I won’t be organizing the networking dinner this year. We’d love to see someone else organize it and continue the tradition. It’s great to have a place for people to go on Monday night. I’ll sure missing going this year.
PASS is taking on some of the work of organizing Game Night this year. Steve wrote about it here. I’m planning to attend, already bought my ticket! I hope it goes well this year and PASS looks for other events to add on Thursday night. When you think about 4k-5k attendees, I bet there are plenty of topics that would draw 20-100 people together for a couple hours. It could be games, music, photography, whatever . Or some informal tech – why not some open space discussions that aren’t officially selected and vetted?
Last year we tried organizing a SQL Dinner on Thursday night. It was fun, lots of interesting feedback, and only somewhat effective. With tweaking it might do better, but with a compressed schedule and already planning on going to Game Night we decided not to try it again this year. That doesn’t mean that you can’t organize it, either small scale for a group of four, or as big or bigger than what we did last year.
It’s worth noting that while I value the technical learning opportunities, the reason I’m going on Wed instead of staying home is because I want to spend time with friends that I see all too rarely. I doubt that’s unusual for someone who has attended multiple times. It does make me think that the pitch we suggest for people to use on their managers is if not the wrong one, a terribly incomplete one. There is value in building a professional network. Dinners, game night, and all those other un-session activities are where those relationships are built.