Category: 24 Hours of PASS
24 Hours of PASS
Cross-posted from my blog
With each of these quarterly posts, I want to be able to report progress in the areas I'm responsible for. I'm pleased to share some key milestones from the past three months.
New Webinar Platform
Last year it became clear that we needed a more stable, scalable webinar platform for the Virtual Chapters and 24 Hours of PASS. Both the VCs and 24HOP continue to grow and attract larger audiences, and the technology we were using was not meeting our needs.
We discussed requirements with VC leaders and HQ staffers who work on 24HOP. We got proposals from seven or eight vendors and had live demonstrations from those that would meet our needs. In the end, we chose GoToWebinar from Citrix. Several VC leaders have been trained on the new platform, and a couple have started to use it. And we will be using GoToWebinar for the next 24HOP event.
Projects like these require organization and attention to detail. I want to recognize the work of HQ staffer Vicki Van Damme, who has been instrumental in getting us to the finish line.
Our first 24HOP of the year was held at the end of January. It was also our first Business Analytics Edition and featured a number of speakers who [also presented] at the PASS Business Analytics Conference. Focusing a 24HOP on business analytics reflects PASS's outreach to data professionals in this growing sector of our industry. Check out the session recordings to learn more about the work being done in this space.
Virtual events are a key part of PASS global growth. 24HOP Russian Edition was held in March. Thanks to the volunteers who worked hard to put on this event.
We launched two new VCs this quarter. The Business Analytics VC has already hosted four meetings and is playing an important part in PASS's growth into the BA world. The Book Readers VC is a virtual book club, where members get together online to discuss a book. They are starting with Itzik Ben-Gan's "T-SQL Fundamentals for SQL Server 2012." There is still time to read the first few chapters and join the discussion on April 17.
Virtual Chapters provide valuable technical training every month. Sign up for the VCs that interest you to get notified of upcoming events.
The Board met in January and discussed many items, including goals for the year, by-law changes, election process, and Summit. See the meeting minutes for details. In February, we adopted changes to the by-laws. And last week, I was in Chicago for a Board meeting and the BA Conference.
Budget planning is in full swing, and I've been working on the budgets for 24HOP and VCs.
In May, I'll be attending SQLBits, where I'm looking forward to meeting more members of the SQL community in the UK.
Planning for the next 24HOP will get underway soon, work on the budget will continue, and we'll finish rolling out the new webinar platform for the Virtual Chapters.
What a difference a day can make. I’m talking about a literal 24-hour time frame, starting September 20, when top SQL Server speakers from around the world will deliver free, live back-to-back webcasts straight to your computer on some of the hottest topics in the industry.
Registration is now open for 24 Hours of PASS – Summit 2012 Preview edition. With less than 3 months to go, content for PASS Summit is looking excellent, and the conference is shaping up to set records as the largest SQL Server event ever. To give you an early look at what you can expect, we’ve invited some of Summit 2012’s leading presenters to show off their stuff and help you decide which conference and pre-conference sessions to add to your schedule.
We invited all the Summit pre-con presenters to speak, along with half-day session presenters, anyone giving two spotlight sessions, and a selection of Microsoft speakers. The resulting 24HOP lineup is simply amazing. The event will feature pre-con presenters from around the world – including international all-stars Klaus Aschenbrenner, Davide Mauri, Rod Colledge, and Peter Myers, as well as American masters Denny Cherry, Louis Davidson, Allan Hirt, and Allen White. Half-day deep-dive experts such as Mark Tabladillo and Stacia Misner will be joining the show, along with spotlight heroes Andy Warren, Kevin Kline, and Erin Stellato. Throw in Microsoft greats like Michael Rys, Jen Underwood, and Cindy Gross, and I dare you to miss a minute.
So here’s what you do: Head over to the 24HOP registration page and check out the full schedule. Register for the sessions that speak most to your business needs, and then arrange with your boss to watch them with some of your colleagues. (Remember to emphasize that this is free, high-quality training.)
I encourage you to catch as many of the 24HOP sessions as you can. And with your appetite thoroughly whetted for some serious SQL learning come November, don’t forget to register for PASS Summit by September 30 to get $500 off the full rate.
A few days after the end of 24HOP, I find myself reflecting on it.
I’m still waiting on most of the information. I want to be able to discover things like where the countries represented on each of the sessions, and things like that. So far, I have the feedback scores and the numbers of attendees. The data was provided in a PDF, so while I wait for it to appear in a more flexible format, I’ve pushed the 24 attendee numbers into Excel.
This chart shows the numbers by time. Remember that we started at midnight GMT, which was 10:30am in my part of the world and 8pm in New York. It’s probably no surprise that numbers drooped a bit at the start, stayed comparatively low, and then grew as the larger populations of the English-speaking world woke up.
I remember last time 24HOP ran for 24 hours straight, there were quite a few sessions with less than 100 attendees. None this time though. We got close, but even when it was 4am in New York, 8am in London and 7pm in Sydney (which would have to be the worst slot for attracting people), we still had over 100 people tuning in.
As expected numbers grew as the UK woke up, and even more so as the US did, with numbers peaking at 755 for the “3pm in New York” session on SQL Server Data Tools. Kendra Little almost reached those numbers too, and certainly contributed the biggest ‘spike’ on the chart with her session five hours earlier. Of all the sessions, Kendra had the highest proportion of ‘Excellent’s for the “Overall Evaluation of the session” question, and those of you who saw her probably won’t be surprised by that. Kendra had one of the best ranked sessions from the 24HOP event this time last year (narrowly missing out on being top 3), and she has produced a lot of good video content since then.
The reports indicate that there were nearly 8.5 thousand attendees across the 24 sessions, averaging over 350 at each one. I’m looking forward to seeing how many different people that was, although I do know that Wil Sisney managed to attend every single one (if you did too, please let me know). Wil even moderated one of the sessions, which made his feat even greater. Thanks Wil.
I also want to send massive thanks to Dave Dustin. Dave probably would have attended all of the sessions, if it weren’t for a power outage that forced him to take a break. He was also a moderator, and it was during this session that he earned special praise. Part way into the session he was moderating, the speaker lost connectivity and couldn’t get back for about fifteen minutes. That’s an incredibly long time when you’re in a live presentation. There were over 200 people tuned in at the time, and I’m sure Dave was as stressed as I was to have a speaker disappear. I started chasing down a phone number for the speaker, while Dave spoke to the audience. And he did brilliantly. He started answering questions, and kept doing that until the speaker came back. Bear in mind that Dave hadn’t expected to give a presentation on that topic (or any other), and was simply drawing on his SQL expertise to get him through. Also consider that this was between midnight at 1am in Dave’s part of the world (Auckland, NZ). I would’ve been expecting just to welcome people, monitor questions, probably read some out, and in general, help make things run smoothly. He went far beyond the call of duty, and if I had a medal to give him, he’d definitely be getting one.
On the whole, I think this 24HOP was a success. We tried a different platform, and I think for the most part it was a popular move. We didn’t ask the question “Was this better than LiveMeeting?”, but we did get a number of people telling us that they thought the platform was very good.
Some people have told me I get a chance to put my feet up now that this is over. As I’m also co-ordinating a tour of SQLSaturday events across the Australia/New Zealand region, I don’t quite get to take that much of a break (plus, there’s the little thing of squeezing in seven SQL 2012 exams over the next 2.5 weeks). But I am pleased to be reflecting on this event rather than anticipating it. There were a number of factors that could have gone badly, but on the whole I’m pleased about how it went. A massive thanks to everyone involved.
If you’re reading this and thinking you wish you could’ve tuned in more, don’t worry – they were all recorded and you’ll be able to watch them on demand very soon. But as well as that, PASS has a stream of content produced by the Virtual Chapters, so you can keep learning from the comfort of your desk all year round. More info on them at sqlpass.org, of course.
There’s a bunch of stuff going on at the moment in the SQL world, so if you’ve missed this particular piece of news, let me tell you a bit about it.
Twice a year, the SQL community puts on its biggest virtual event – 24 Hours of PASS. And the next one is tomorrow – March 21st, 2012. Twenty-four sessions, back-to-back, featuring a selection of some of the best presenters in the SQL world, speakers from all over the world, coming together in an online collaboration that so far has well over thirty thousand registrations across the presentations. Some people are signed up for all 24 sessions, some only one.
Traditionally, LiveMeeting has been used as the platform for this event, but this year we’re going with a new platform – IBTalk. It promises big, and we’re hoping it won’t let us down. LiveMeeting has been great, and we thank Microsoft for providing it as a platform for the past few years. However, as the event has grown, we’ve found that a new idea is necessary. Last year a search was done for a new platform, and IBTalk ticked the right boxes. The feedback from the presenters and moderators so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re hoping that this is going to really enhance the user experience.
One of my favourite features of the platform is the language side. It provides a pretty good translation service. Users who join a session will see a flag on the left of the screen. If they click it, they can change the language to one of 15 on offer. Picking this changes all the labels on everything. It even translates the text in the Q&A window.
What this means is that someone from Brazil can ask their question in Portuguese, and the presenter will see it in English. Then if the answer is typed in English, the questioner will be able to see the answer, also in Portuguese. Or they can switch to English to see it as the answerer typed it. I know there’s always the risk of bad translations going on, but I’ve heard good things about this translation service.
But there’s more – IBTalk are providing staff to type up closed captioning live during the event. So if English isn’t your first language, don’t worry!
Picking your language will also let you see subtitles in your chosen language. I’m hoping that this event is the start of PASS being able to reach people from all corners of the world. Wouldn’t it be great to find that this event is successful, and that the next 24HOP (later in the year, our Summit Preview event) has just as many non-English speakers tuning in as English speakers?
If you haven’t been planning which sessions you’re going to attend, you really should get over to sqlpass.org/24hours and have a look through what’s on offer. There’s some amazing material from some of the industry’s brightest, covering a wide range of topics, from classic SQL areas to the brand new SQL 2012 features. There really should be something for every SQL professional. Check the time zones though – if you’re in the US you might be on Summer time, and an hour closer to GMT than normal.
Massive thanks must go to Microsoft, SQL Sentry and Idera for sponsoring this event. Without sponsors we wouldn’t be able to put any of this on. These companies are helping 24HOP continue to grow into an event for the whole world.
See you tomorrow!
@rob_farley | #24hop | #sqlpass
(Crossposted from Rob Farley's blog)
Hooray – we’re ready to announce the details of the 24 Hours of PASS event that’s coming to an internet connection near you on March 21st! Read on for the day’s schedule, some of my thoughts on the 24 Hours of PASS concept, information about the platform, and an announcement which I think is really quite a big deal and worth making a fuss over.
24 Hours Straight
So – March 21st. No overlap with any other days, just 24 Hours of PASS, squeezed back into a single day. The last few events have been split over two days, running from noon to midnight (GMT), which conveniently fits in daylight hours of the Eastern United States. To help with the current push for internationalisation (and there’s more on that later in this post), we’re starting at midnight GMT (which is a perfectly reasonable 8pm in New York on March 20), and running through to the following midnight GMT (which is the next 8pm in New York, strangely enough). I’d like to be able to give prizes to people who attend all twenty-four, but I’m not quite that keen. Tell you what though – I’ll cheer on Twitter and my blog for anyone who tells me they’ve made it through all of them. I know people have done it before, and hopefully plenty will again.
The Virtual Chapter portfolio isn’t mine. It’s Denise McInerney’s. She’s doing a brilliant job, and we both see a strong correlation between 24HOP and the VCs. There are likely to be lots of people who tune in to 24HOP who haven’t really noticed that there are virtual chapters that meet, providing excellent online meetings, several times every month! We’ve roped in many of the VC leaders to help choose the sessions, host the sessions, and more. In fact, I suspect that many of the sessions that were submitted but not chosen could well be getting selected for the Virtual Chapters in the weeks and months to come. The Virtual Chapters are one of the best things about PASS, and it’s great that 24HOP can be showcasing them this time around. Most of the VCs are represented, including Performance, Data Architecture, PowerShell, Professional Development, and the larger ones like BI and AppDev. Even the newly forming BigData VC. The Oracle VC isn’t. Sorry, Scott.
LiveMeeting is such a great product. If you haven’t tried it out, you really should. It’s been our platform of choice here at 24HOP for ages now. Unfortunately, 24HOP seems to have outgrown it. People who have tuned in to recent events will have noticed that the video hasn’t always streamed as nicely as we’d like, and although we really do love LiveMeeting, we’re going to try a different platform – called IBTalk. This thing looks really impressive, and has some really cool features too. Most importantly, it should scale well. And record nicely. And allow eval forms nicely. And make coffee* (*feature list may not be completely accurate).
I know you’ve already read about how the event is going to be 24 hours straight, ignoring the fact that numbers may well be lower while the US sleeps. But that’s not the only way in which 24HOP is becoming more international...
During the event, the IBTalk people are going to provide Live Closed Captioning. So you can get subtitles during the event! But there’s more...This captioning will be available in fifteen different languages!
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, German, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. You want subtitles in Thai? No problem. Watching with a Turkish friend? Sure, no worries. Even if you’re just more comfortable in Dutch than English...
PASS is serious about trying to reach people around the world. With these languages, I think most people are covered. There are a few gaps, such as not having Swedish or Bangla – but apparently just about everyone in IT in those areas speaks English anyway (so I’m told).
The platform also has an amazing feature that translates questions, so if you're more comfortable asking a question in Russian or Portuguese, you can do that. The presenter will see the question in their own language, and the attendee will read the answer in theirs.
Read the full schedule at http://www.sqlpass.org/24hours/spring2012/SessionsbySchedule.aspx and http://www.sqlpass.org/24hours/spring2012/SessionsbyTrack.aspx. And while over at the 24HOP site, register for the sessions you’re interested in. But in the meantime, check out that list! I’m sure you’ll recognise plenty of the names, but probably not all. You’ll also notice there are plenty of speakers from different parts of the world, including the UK (like Mark and Neil), Australia (like Julie), and Israel (like Ami).
It’s going to be a massive event. Get registering soon!
For my first editorial as PASS President, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who voted in our Board elections in December and encourage you to get even more involved in your organization in this new year. It was awesome to see the excitement generated by a phenomenal slate of candidates and by wide-ranging community discussion about the biggest issues and opportunities facing our organization. I challenge all of us to translate that energy into creative solutions to help SQL Server professionals around the world connect, share, and learn. With your help, 2012 is going to be a great year for PASS!
One of the first tasks for the President each year is to assign Board members to portfolios, and I’m excited to announce this year’s portfolio leaders. The portfolios for members of the Executive Committee were determined when the Board elected them last June. Douglas McDowell will serve as Executive Vice President, Finance, and Thomas LaRock will serve as Vice President, Marketing. Rushabh Mehta moves to the role of Immediate Past President. These terms started Jan. 1 and run for 2 years.
Directors-At-Large are typically assigned a portfolio for a calendar year, although sometimes Board members will head the same portfolio for 2 years. This approach works best with the natural Board turnover and matching the desires of Board members with the needs of the organization.
This year, we have only one returning At-Large Director, Allen Kinsel, who is taking over the Chapters portfolio. Allen previously headed the Summit Program committee, and his experience leading a large volunteer team will be invaluable in the Chapters area.
Our three newly elected Board members – Adam Jorgensen, Denise McInerney, and Rob Farley – have also received their portfolio assignments. Adam will lead the Summit Program portfolio, putting his previous 2 years of experience on the Program Committee and service in two other portfolios to great use. Adam’s experience and combined technical and business skills will be central to the continued expansion of our Summit educational offerings.
Denise will take over the Virtual Chapters portfolio. Denise was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Women in Technology (WIT) Virtual Chapter and the growth of its leadership team, and I’m excited to bring her experience to all our Virtual Chapters.
And Rob will lead the 24 Hours of PASS portfolio, heading up our largest online events program and one of our greatest opportunities to reach more members. PASS has a tremendous opportunity to expand its offering of local-language events that can touch all parts of the globe. Rob’s drive and experience organizing events and volunteers will really shine in this portfolio.
Our last portfolio, the popular PASS SQLSaturday events program, will be filled when the Board appoints someone to fill one of two empty Board seats later this month.
I’m honored to be working with a Board that has more experience and depth than any I can remember. And I’m looking forward to this team and our army of volunteers accomplishing great things for PASS and the SQL Server community this year.
[cross-posted from Bill Graziano's blog at sqlteam.com]
I wanted to give a little background on the legal status of PASS. The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is an American corporation chartered in the state of Illinois. In America a corporation has to be chartered in a particular state. It has to abide by the laws of that state and potentially pay taxes to that state. Our bylaws and actions have to comply with Illinois state law and United States law. We maintain a mailing address in Chicago, Illinois but our headquarters is currently in Vancouver, Canada.
We have roughly a dozen people that work in our Vancouver headquarters and 4-5 more that work remotely on various projects. These aren’t employees of PASS. They are employed by a management company that we hire to run the day to day operations of the organization. I’ll have more on this arrangement in a future post.
PASS is a non-profit corporation. The term non-profit and not-for-profit are used interchangeably. In a for-profit corporation (or LLC) there are owners that are entitled to the profits of a company. In a non-profit there are no owners. As a non-profit, all the money earned by the organization must be retained or spent. There is no money that flows out to shareholders, owners or the board of directors. Any money not spent in furtherance of our mission is retained as financial reserves.
Many non-profits apply for tax exempt status. Being tax exempt means that an organization doesn’t pay taxes on its profits. There are a variety of laws governing who can be tax exempt in the United States. There are many professional associations that are tax exempt however PASS isn’t tax exempt. Because our mission revolves around the software of a single company we aren’t eligible for tax exempt status.
PASS was founded in the late 1990’s by Microsoft and Platinum Technologies. Platinum was later purchased by Computer Associates. As the founding partners Microsoft and CA each have two seats on the Board of Directors. The other six directors and three officers are elected as specified in our bylaws.
As a non-profit, our bylaws layout our governing practices. They must conform to Illinois and United States law. These bylaws specify that PASS is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership with two members each from Microsoft and CA. You can find our bylaws as well as a proposed update to them on the governance page of the PASS web site.
The last point that I’d like to make is that PASS is completely self-funded. All of our $4 million in revenue comes from conference registrations, sponsorships and advertising. We don’t receive any money from anyone outside those channels. While we work closely with Microsoft we are independent of them and only derive a very small percentage of our revenue from them.
[cross-posted from Allen Kinsel's blog at allenkinsel.com]
What has PASS been up to?
Ever find yourself with tons of extra time just looking for something to dig through?
yeah, me neither… But, I do make it a point to go out and read through lots of PASS documents regularly. Sure, Some of those documents are not for public consumption but, a large portion of them are available for any PASS Member to view. Almost all of them will require you to be logged in to the PASS site.
A good starting point is the PASS Governance Page <- lots of good stuff hides on this page, Im working on getting this page removed from behind the login wall
PASS BOD Meeting Minutes are posted on the left hand side
The Feb 2011 Minutes are here
- Good discussions in here about Globalization of PASS, especially revolving around events
The Jan 2011 Minutes are here
- This was an in-person meeting and there is a literal ton of info in here. Highlights are globalization, Summit 2011 Planning, Summit 2010 Post mortem, 5 Year plans, Bylaw Changes
PASS Monthly Reports are found in the middle on the left
These are gems that reveal the day to day inner workings of the BOD and HQ
The Feb report should be posted in the next day or 2
The Jan report however, is here
- In here You’ll find things about Chapters, IT Projects, Marketing initiatives, ERC info, Sponsorship Sales, Summit Program, SQLRally, Gloablization, etc
The Dec report is here
- This one contains things like Chapter info, HQ Finance, IT Projects, Marketing, Summit, Rally, 24hop, SQL Saturday,
The budget for PASS is included at the bottom of the governance page
2011 Budget is here
- Wanna know where the money is supposed to be coming from, and where its supposed to be going? this is where to look.
- Side note: Im going to check into where the 2010 audited financials are, they should be available by now.
The SQL Rally has posted all of the planning meeting notes posted here
- There is tons of good stuff in here, its especially interesting to me to watch the minutes back and forth dealing with very familiar problems as what I’ve seen in the Summit program group.
- Wanna know how many attendees are registered so far for the Rally? yup its in there. Wanna know how many are in Precons? yup its in there too
We (PASS Program) started posting meeting minutes near the lower left side of this page
- I have written about these minutes before
- Good information in here about many new changes that are being considered by the Program Committee
- Essentially It says that I’m not getting nearly enough done for the program committee lately. I need to work on that!
- Im including this here because lost of good stuff gets posted here but, for me I can only find it since its in my RSS Reader.
In Summary, PASS releases a ton of information about what its doing. The problem with this is two-fold, one its a ton of information. Two, the information is spread out all over the place and is often difficult to find on the site using conventional browsing methods so I hope this helps
Last week, the latest iteration of "24 Hours of PASS" was held. It was "Different" for me. Why? Because I was not an active participant on the days of the event other than being an attendee. I was involved in some aspects of the planning for the event when deciding the theme and format, etc. I was on many calls and email threads for the planning of this event. I did the moderator/speaker training a few weeks prior to the event. But on the days that the event was actually held, I was not on pins and needles worrying about logistics. Tom LaRock, HQ, and the team of moderators did a great job of execution. I attended as many sessions as I could. The Moderators seemed to be well prepared and the speakers focused on delivering the content. In my view, this went very well.
With the theme of "Women in Technology" for this 24hop, PASS was able to showcase a positive force within the SQL Community. The WIT luncheon at the PASS Community Summit keeps growing in popularity/attendance year after year. The WIT Virtual Chapter continues this positive vibe throughout the year - http://wit.sqlpass.org/.
I enjoyed reading the "Twitter Stream" about #24hop. I do not have numbers yet, but every session had at least 200-300 attendees and several topped 750! Wow!
Each session was recorded and will be available for replay shortly. Keep checking www.sqlpass.org for replay availability.
A BIG "Thank You" goes out to the Speakers and Moderators who helped to make this latest edition of 24hop a success. I enjoyed it immensely.
[cross-posted from Andy's blog at sqlandy.com]
PASS isn’t what it should be. I hear that a lot, and in many ways I agree with you. We’re finally growing and evolving, but we’re still far from what I think most of you expect from a true professional association.
I’m not sure you or I have realistic expectations. So I want to challenge you. Draw an image of what you want PASS to be in 3 years and share it on your blog (or post a comment here if you don’t have a blog). Imagine we just hired you to be CEO of PASS and you were going to “fix” things, what would you do? What’s your vision for providing benefits to chapters or members, or for growing membership, or for global growth, or whatever areas you think are badly served right now?
Maybe I just don’t have the vision – I’m limited by my own biases and experiences – but I’d really like for PASS to be what you want it to be. An organization that serves you, excites you, makes you proud to be part of it, proud to support it, and willing to challenge it if it steps off track.
Maybe it’s a paragraph, maybe it’s a thousand words, but I hope you’ll write something. We’ve got several hundred bloggers in the SQL space, and a whole lot of members. What you write may not change the world, but maybe it will.