I thought I would try and convey some of the reasons why PASS is investing in international development.
The truth is that PASS is an international organisation. PASS has members all over the world. The Board has representation from at least three continents. Interest in both attending and organising PASS events overseas has never been higher. At the start of the year PASS had as many international events slated to run in 2012 as they did in North America. Last week we had the first SQL Saturday in Dublin, Ireland. It was an enormous success and people were still raving about it when they came to the SQLBits event in London last week. At the end of last year PASS also held the first SQL Rally outside of the USA and it was a sell-out. Johan Ahlen and Raoul Illyes put on a fantastic debut in the Nordic region. PASS can deliver great international events.
It all sounds like things are going swimmingly. So why are we so focused on investing at the international level?
Whilst PASS is growing it is not designed at present to scale to support this level of international interest. The governance isn’t there and neither are the local resources. Most of the tooling is in English and until we started down this track so was most of the content and communication. Growing globally means a lot more than translating emails to a new language or adhering to a few local laws (although both are important). There is a lot to consider.
As we look overseas and think about the challenges we face a number of questions begin to form. How do we make the content we generate relevant to a new audience who may not speak English natively? How do we ensure the content we deliver is customized for the region consuming it (ex. Sweden wants to read about upcoming local events in the Nordic Area). How do we identify, support and nurture existing communities and help them grow? What can we do to help develop the community leaders of tomorrow in these new locations? How do we make them care about PASS in the way that our volunteers and members care today? These are the types of questions that the PASS Global Growth Portfolio is faced with tackling.
We also need to make sure that PASS is a good community citizen and recognises its role in the wider SQL Server community. This applies both domestically and internationally. PASS isn’t the only community for SQL Server. It is part of a very diverse community ecosystem where it has an important and privileged role to play in supporting the entire SQL Server family. PASS needs to figure out what its role is and how it can help existing communities flourish as well as create new ones.
That said PASS has significant reach and influence, both directly to members and volunteers and indirectly to attendees of events and through physical and virtual Chapter meetings. By growing internationally this reach and influence will grow exponentially and that will be to everyone’s benefit. A larger, more cohesive and yet diverse community is a stronger, healthier and more vibrant community. One I hope we all want to be a part of.
Hey, SQL pros!
I’m excited to announce the first milestone from your hardworking Program Team! In the past, we have done a survey that asked you to help us get inside your head. (We were disturbed at what we saw, but we’re coming back anyway. :) We do this so we can find out what you’d like to see at PASS Summit – we use the information you share to help drive the session types and content we’ll be looking for soon when we launch the call for speakers. The survey gathered great information, but it was soooo looong and took a hunk of time to complete, so we’ve streamlined!
You can take the slimmed-down survey today at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22FAETXUTRH. The new survey has been reduced by over 50% in length and should take you only 60-120 seconds to complete. To help sweeten the pot, we’re giving you the chance to win a complimentary pre-con registration (whoa!) and a blog interview with me to share what you’d personally like to see at Summit. But don’t wait – the survey closes in 1 week, on April 11. Once the survey votes are tallied, we’ll draw for the winner.
This year, the Program Team aims to showcase the new and improved processes we’re putting in place to help make the Summit planning, session selection, evaluation, and feedback mechanisms more straightforward and streamlined. We will keep working with you to make Summit the most community-integrated event possible, always improving and learning.
You represent the strongest technology community out there (in my humble opinion), and your opinions give us the direction we need to implement the continuous flow of great ideas coming out of our volunteer teams. But we need everyone’s feedback. So get started on the survey now. Tell your friends and coworkers to take the survey, and get your dog or cat to take it too (this may not apply to you – maybe only my dog knows T-SQL).
And as always, let us know how we can keep making your PASS experience better. Reach out to me any time at Adam.Jorgensen@sqlpass.org with questions or feedback.
Living in two database worlds? Join fellow SQL Server and Oracle enthusiasts in a unique and re-energized PASS Virtual Chapter where members can collaborate, learn, and grow their careers.
Created last year to support DBAs and developers who work with both SQL Server and Oracle database systems, the SQL Server/Oracle VC’s mission is to provide a forum to help resolve issues, encourage knowledge sharing, and build a stronger “bilingual” community.
“Our goal is to create a rich environment of free webcasts – from both the SQL Server and Oracle camps – web-based articles, and a cross product/cross pollination of concepts and ideas to help our members succeed in both spaces,” says VC leader Steve Simon.
Steve is speaking on "Data Access Layers: A road map to smarter, efficient and effective queries” to kick off the refreshed VC’s first meeting April 11 at 11am ET. And from there, the VC will be meeting via Live Meeting the second Wednesday of every month, with its webinars being recorded for replay in case you can’t attend live.
In between meetings, the VC is looking to foster discussions, provide resources and troubleshooting help, and promote idea sharing and suggestions about future meetings on its new LinkedIn group.
“Everyone is welcome, and we would love to hear what topics you’re interested in,” Steve notes. “We’re also looking for presenters and volunteers who want to help grow and support the chapter - if you’re interested, just contact me.”
(Reposted from my blog; read the original post here.)
When I got elected to the PASS Board of Directors, I decided I would plan my goals for the job in 3-month intervals. I also plan on blogging about the experience of being on the Board at the end of each quarter, at least.
Prior to being elected, all of my time and energy was focused on the election process. Because the election ended so close to the start of the new Board term, there was not much time to transition from being a candidate to being a director. I set a rather modest goal for Q1: learn my new role. This really broke down into two major areas:
learning what it means to be a member of the body responsible for the overall running of PASS and learning about my portfolio of Virtual Chapters.
In January we had our first in-person board meeting after the election. We covered a lot of topics, from Summit floor plans to global growth strategies to the SQLRally selection process and much more. (See the meeting minutes for more detail.) I was struck by the thoughtfulness with which the entire body took up each question and discussion. I thought it was particularly productive for the first meeting of a board that had not worked together as a group before.
The challenge to being a director is that you need to transition from the more tactical, execution-focused role of a volunteer to a role that requires you to think about the longer term strategic goals of the organization. I knew this going in, but the board meeting helped me get a better understanding of what that shift looks like.
Each director is responsible for at least one portfolio; in my case, it's the Virtual Chapters (VCs.) I believe VCs provide a lot of value to our members as a source of both technical education and networking, and I'm excited about the possibilities for growing and expanding them. I think of myself as an enabler and evangelist for the VCs. The VC leaders and committees do a great job organizing speakers and events. I can help by removing obstacles, securing resources, and promoting the VCs and their work.
To that end, I've made some progress in the areas of marketing and finance. The PASS marketing team has some great ideas for ways to support the VCs. We've already seen a couple of articles in the Connector, and more are planned. We've clarified the process for getting and managing sponsorships and also discussed VCs' budget needs for the coming fiscal year. One of my goals is to communicate relevant information with the VC leaders in a timely way and to seek their input. I think I've been pretty good at that so far, but in the end, it will be the VC leaders themselves who will grade my performance.
We've also launched three new VCs since January: Global Chinese Language, Big Data, and Master Data/Data Quality. I think each of these is a great addition to the portfolio, and I look forward to seeing how they develop.
The next 3 months will include an in-person board meeting in May, the end of the budget planning cycle, as well as some work-in-progress with the VCs.
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.
Welcome to the new PASS Connector. Over the years we have received a lot of feedback regarding how PASS communicates to our members through the use of this newsletter. What you are looking at today is our latest effort at responding to that feedback. Besides a new skin this updated version of the Connector has some key features that you may not notice right away. I want to take a moment to explain some of the features that exist today and some that will be rolling out very soon.
- The Community news section is in a distinct section, as well as the SQL Server product news. This makes it easier for readers to discern what information they are consuming.
- After many years of using a basic email marketing tool we have partnered with ExactTarget to help us bring you your local news and in your own language. We expect to have this feature rolling out by the end of April.
- The new design allows for more dynamic content, making it easier for us to update sections of the newsletter but also the skin itself. So if we wanted to make some minor changes we will be able to do so without it being a laborious process.
The use of ExactTarget will also make it easier for us to send out targeted emails for events such as a SQL Rally. This was something that PASS has been needing for a long time. It is also one feature that I am really excited about as it will also allow for PASS to do deeper analysis of our membership to make certain we are providing the very best services that our members are asking for.
As always we welcome your thoughts. Please let us know what you think of the new design. We value all feedback.
Thanks for reading, and welcome!
An idea sparked at PASS Summit has taken shape as a new Virtual Chapter dedicated to Chinese-speaking users of SQL Server around the world. The Global Chinese Virtual Chapter hosted its first meeting on Monday with a deep-dive look at failover cluster enhancements and is actively looking for members, speakers, and volunteers.
“The chapter was born from the momentum shared by Chinese attendees of PASS Summit 2011,” noted acting VC leader Tiffena Kou. “We have observed that people who speak the same language are more open to sharing with and learning from each other.”
The VC currently plans to meet the third Monday of every month via LiveMeeting. The main presentation will begin at 6:30pm PST, but to help ensure the content is useful to members, the group will have a short Q&A session 30 minutes before every session. All content will be in Chinese.
The VC plans to record the sessions and make them available on its website for those who might not be able to attend the live meeting. The website also features discussion forums to encourage questions and information sharing about SQL Server and the VC, including what kinds of events and content the community would like to see.
“We hope that the creation of this chapter will allow those who have no access to a local chapter to participate in knowledge sharing, take on new challenges, and become leaders of their local communities,” Tiffena adds.
If you have any questions about the VC or are interested in speaking or volunteering, please contact Tiffena.
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
Are you taking advantage of PASS Virtual Chapters (VCs) to connect with and learn from fellow members around the world year-round? If not, I encourage you to check out our over a dozen VCs providing free, quality technical training online every month.
Whether you are a DBA, developer, or BI professional, there is a VC for you. There are VCs focused on PowerShell, Performance, Data Architecture, and SQL Azure. And the Virtualization VC is dedicated to promoting better management of SQL Servers in virtual environments.
VCs also provide valuable networking opportunities for data professionals with common interests. The Healthcare VC caters to database pros working in that industry. The Women in Technology (WIT) VC hosts events for discussing issues pertinent to women working in IT. And data professionals who support multiple database platforms share their experiences in the SQL Server/Oracle VC. In addition, the Professional Development VC provides a forum for exploring professional development in our competitive and always-changing tech industry.
I'm excited to announce that two new VCs will be launching soon. The Global Chinese VC will provide Chinese-speaking SQL Server users worldwide a way to gather and share information. Their first meeting will be March 19. Providing Chinese-language training is an important step in PASS's growth as an international organization.
The topic of "big data" is becoming increasingly important to data professionals. And the new Big Data VC will provide opportunities to learn about the use of SQL Server with Hadoop and related technologies. The first Big Data meeting will be April 3.
We will be taking a closer look at each of the VCs in upcoming Connector newsletters, and I encourage all PASS members to take advantage of the excellent content and networking they provide. Invite your friends and colleagues, and seriously consider speaking at a VC meeting or volunteering with a VC you are interested in. Visit virtualchapters.sqlpass.org to learn more!
Drum roll, please…
The PASS Connector newsletter is getting a facelift! Starting with the next edition – slated to go out on March 21 – the newsletter will debut a new and improved look and feel that will help you catch up on your SQL Server community news faster than ever.
This new layout will also be the jumping off point for translating the newsletter into both Russian and Brazilian Portuguese. We’re going to test out the translation process and closely monitor feedback over the coming weeks.
Here's a sneak peek at the brand-new newsletter format: