Category: PASS Community Summit

PASS Summit 2013 Program Survey Results

March 19, 2013 – Last month we asked the community about the sessions, content and speakers they want to see in the line-up for PASS Summit 2013. The results of the survey provided some interesting insights: a ranking of session types indicated that content on tips & tricks and best practices were the top choice and that tracks on Application and Development, Administration and Deployment and Business Intelligence tracks were what people were most looking forward to; the community was also divided 50/50 as to whether a NoSQL/Big Data track should be added.

A PDF of the survey results is available here.

PASS Summit 2013: Get Ready

March 5, 2013 – It’s never too early to start thinking about PASS Summit. This year Charlotte, North Carolina – the home of NASCAR and an abundance of outdoor activities, a lively nightlife and restaurant scene, and a vibrant arts and cultural center – will welcome over 5,000 SQL Server and BI professionals for PASS Summit 2013.

The process is already underway to create the best lineup yet of world-class sessions and speakers. The Community Call for Speakers – your invitation to help shape and participate in the Summit 2013 program – is open until April 3. Thinking about submitting a session (or four)? Check out the FAQs and get started today.

Thank you to everyone who submitted responses for the PASS Summit 2013 Program Survey – we appreciate your feedback and ideas on the sessions and speakers you want to see. Members of the soon-to-be-announced volunteer Program Committee will be reviewing your responses as they work to build an educational program designed to meet the needs of today’s data pros. Congratulations to SQL Server DBA Dana Stevenson from California, who won a Microsoft Surface for her participation in the survey.

Full-day pre-conference sessions will kick off the event Oct. 14-15, with the main conference beginning with the evening Welcome Reception Oct. 15 and featuring over 190 sessions Oct. 16-18.

If you’re thinking about attending PASS Summit 2013 but haven’t registered yet, you can still take advantage of the discounted rate when you register by April 15. Already registered? Make sure you tell your friends that you’ll be at PASS Summit for the first time or as a proud alumni by adding an attendee Twibbon to your Twitter account.

See you in Charlotte!

 

PASS Summit 2012: What an Adventure

What a whirlwind week of conversation, learning, and laughter. Attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers hit the ground running last week at a record-breaking PASS Summit 2012 in Seattle, where they came and conquered all things SQL Server. From kick-off keynote presentations and deep-dive technical sessions to interactive lunches, creative networking opportunities, and a sold-out Expo Hall, PASS Summit 2012 offered something for absolutely everyone. The sense of community was felt at every turn and knew no linguistic or geographic boundaries - old friends became reacquainted and new friendships were forged.  As evidenced by the community blogs and Flickr photo streams, the SQL Server Community took advantage of every opportunity to connect, share, and learn.

Connect.
Throughout PASS Summit 2012, attendees had to go out of their way not to connect with each other. The PASS Community Zone (a new addition this year) provided a one-stop shop where attendees met user group leaders, SQLSaturday organizers, PASS Community Evangelists, and other SQL Server community groups. First-time attendees participated in a professional networking session and PASS Summit orientation and were connected with an alumni mentor to learn the ropes and get the most out of their PASS Summit experience. Chapter, Women in Technology, and Birds of a Feather luncheons and fun evening events rounded out the experience. It was impossible to leave PASS Summit without making a new connection and sharing in the #SQLFamily love.

Share.
There was no shortage of knowledge at this year’s PASS Summit. Beyond the 150+ speakers sharing their expertise in technical sessions, Microsoft developers talked about the functionalities and features they actually wrote in the  new hit “I Made That!” Developer Chalk Talks, with CSS and SQLCAT experts sharing their troubleshooting and architecture insights in the packed SQL Server Clinic. You can’t get that kind of SQL Server knowledge and one-on-one guidance and support under one roof anywhere else in the world. Everyone was open to sharing their knowledge and skills – in the hallways, at dinner, over coffee - it was a sight to see!

Learn.
Learning trumped all at PASS Summit 2012. Microsoft keynote presenters Ted Kummert and Quentin Clark updated the crowd with the latest news, including the in-memory solution code-named Project “Hekaton” and the next version of SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse. Whether attendees were soaking it all in at their favorite of 190+ technical training sessions, talking about their implementations over lunch, trying out a Hands-On Lab, or visiting the Expo Hall – they were learning. And community members around the world joined in the experience via PASS TV’s live streaming.  The learning doesn’t need to end there. All PASS Summit Conference session recordings are now available for purchase on USB flash drive (attendees can also choose a download option and will have the opportunity to stream the 2012 sessions for free).

Next Steps: What Did You Think?
For those of you who were able to join us at PASS Summit 2012, thank you. The community is the driving force behind everything that PASS does, and your feedback is very important to us. Today attendees will receive an email with a link to our evaluation questionnaire. Completed evaluations will be entered for a chance to win a complimentary PASS Summit 2013 conference pass, so watch your Inbox for the link.

See You at PASS Summit 2013
Next year, PASS Summit’s incredible training and networking will head east to Charlotte, NC, October 15-18, to keep your SQL Server juices flowing. A discounted registration rate of $1,095 is available until January 4, and alumni can use the special ALUMNI3D code to get an additional $100 off that registration rate. Register now, enjoy the savings, and we’ll see you in Charlotte!

Join in “SQL Around the World” at the Community Zone!

Attending PASS Summit 2012? Want a chance to win a Microsoft Surface? Make sure you come by the Community Zone Wednesday and pick up your official “SQL Around the World” game card. If you’re wondering what the Community Zone is, you can read a couple of blog posts: one here by PASS Community Evangelist Niko Neugebauer and the other here by Jason Brimhall.

In a nutshell, the Community Zone is a place for Summit attendees who want to stay involved in the SQL Server community year-round. Come talk with PASS Community Evangelists, user group leaders, SQLSaturday organizers, and other SQL Server community groups about how you can participate.

During Summit, a variety of daily activities will be going on at the Community Zone, but the one you won’t want to miss is the “SQL Around the World” networking game. We hear about a first-time attendee to Summit who didn’t talk with anyone, or that those who know each other all just hang out in the same groups, making it tough for someone new to feel like they can join in. To help break through some of those barriers, we’ve come up with “SQL Around the World.”

Here’s how to play: 

  1. First, come by the Community Zone and get your official game card. You’ll want to do this early Wednesday so that you have as much time as possible to get your card filled out before the drawing on Friday. 
  2. Then, start finding other attendees who do not live in your home country. You must meet with at least 10 to fill in the 10 spots available on the card. Each person you list must be from a different country than the others on your card, so no two attendees from the same country can be listed on your card. There are 57 countries and over 4,000 attendees represented at Summit this year, so finding people from 10 different countries should be easy. 
  3. But not so fast. Because this is about networking, we want to be sure you are engaging in a conversation with the people you meet. So you must also list on your card an interesting fact about that person or their country. 
  4. By Friday at 11:00am, drop off your “SQL Around the World” game card at the Community Zone. Everyone who meets 10 individuals and fills up their game card will be in the drawing for a chance to win either a Microsoft Surface tablet or a $250 American Express gift card. The drawing will be held in the Exhibitor’s Hall at approximately 11:15am, and you must be present to win.
  5. As part of a spin-off of the above, we have another contest that involves pictures. Those who snap the most photos of themselves with the 10 attendees they’ve met will be entered in a second drawing, and will win whatever the first winner doesn’t select (the Surface or the Amex Gift Card). 

Sound hard? Or feel you can’t possibly randomly walk up to someone you don’t know and talk to them? We can help with that, too. On the back of the game card, we’ve provided some talking points and tips on what you can say to start a conversation with a fellow attendee. No matter where we’re from, everyone here at Summit shares a common language: SQL Server! That alone should make it easier for you to start chatting with someone. So be sure to stop by the Community Zone, get your card, and start networking. Even if you don’t win a grand prize, you’ll be a winner because of the connections you make this week!

Anti-Harassment Policy Guidelines and Process

In August the PASS Board of Directors approved an Anti-Harassment Policy (AHP)  for PASS Summit. After the policy was established a subcommittee continued work on guidelines for addressing alleged violations of the policy. The final version of the process was discussed at the September Board meeting and is now available here.
 
Any alleged violations to the AHP can be reported to a member of the conference staff. Staff receiving such a report will contact the Duty Officer. The Duty Officer is a designated member of the staff who is reponsible for taking a full report. The Duty Officer will also notify the Anit-Harassment Review Committee (AHRC) that a complaint has been made.
 
The AHRC is the body authorized by the PASS Board of Directors to take action in response to a violation of the AHP. The process document provides guidelines for how the AHRC will conduct its inquiries. 
 
Publication of the AHP and an accompanying blog post  elicited some feedback from the community. Some expressed concerns about how the policy would be implemented and wondered if behaviors such as swearing could cause someone to be removed from the Summit.
 
We could never come up with an exhaustive list of everything that might result in someone being removed from the Summit. Both the behavior and the context in which it occurs would be important in making such a decision. But the AHP Process document provides some general examples of reasons why someone could be expelled from the conference. The emphasis is on the seriousness of the incident. Repeated harassing behavior could also result in expulsion.
 
The purpose of the Anti-Harassment Policy is to ensure the PASS Summit is safe and welcoming for all attendees. The AHP process guidelines support that goal.

 

 

PASS Summit: Get in the Community Zone

There is no doubt that PASS Summit is all about SQL Server and the SQL Server community. While you might know the conference as the best place to learn anything SQL Server-related, it’s also the best possible place to get connected with SQL Server professionals all across the globe.

PASS community volunteers from around the world work hard every year to deliver the best technical training and information to meet the needs of all attendees, no matter what their skill level or technology interest. And this year, we’re extending that mission to provide more knowledge about and connections with the SQL Server community by creating a special Community Zone.

What is a Community Zone? It’s both a location for community sharing at Summit and a state of mind that encourages more community involvement through a variety of organizations and events. You’ll find the PASS Summit Community Zone between the Lunch Hall and the Exhibit Hall. And we are looking forward to showcasing both PASS-related and non-PASS-affiliated community groups and events.

If you represent a not-for-profit SQL Server organization, please join us in the Community Zone. And even if you aren’t able to attend Summit, if you send us information about your group or event, we’ll help spread the word. How much more community can you get?! :)

Talking about community means reaching out to more than just English-speaking attendees, and we have invited volunteers who speak other languages so we can welcome everyone and try to help all members reach their respective community goals. We’re also interested in hearing your suggestions – if you have a great idea for a user group or a not-for-profit event, drop us an email at ce@sqlpass.org.

The Community Zone will be open Wednesday, Nov. 7, through Friday, Nov. 9, with your faithful PASS Community Evangelists – Karla Landrum and me – and many generous volunteers looking to make your visit as fun and valuable as possible. (Hint: We’ll have some great networking games and other activities to help attendees learn about different communities all around the world and connect with each other.)

I am so excited about the new Community Zone and helping PASS members get more involved in and improve their local communities and the SQL Server community at large. So if you’re attending PASS Summit, please drop by the Community Zone to say “Hello,” ask questions, discuss exciting plans for the SQL Server community, or just hang out – who knows, you could also win some amazing prizes! 
– Niko Neugebauer

 

PASS Summit 2012: The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

My flights for PASS Summit 2012 are booked and I can’t wait to catch up with and extend my SQL family! There’s so much going at PASS Summit , it’s hard to know where to start. By now you’re all aware of the awesome technical content and pre-conference sessions available but what about some of the other great learning opportunities, the networking and plain old fun that’s always on tap at Summit?

Community Appreciation Party
PASS exists because of the huge groundswell of support and sheer hard work of the SQL community and we’d like to say thank you. On Thursday, Nov 8, all Summit  attendees are invited to the Experience Music Project (EMP) for a light dinner, drinks, laughs, and music. At EMP, everyone can be a rockstar - cheer on your Summit friends as they belt out tunes backed by a live band or enjoy your own moment of fame with EMP’s rock star simulation. A Seattle landmark, the EMP is a cutting edge pop culture museum with rock ‘n’ roll roots.

Connect at PASS Summit
You’ll have ample time to catch up with old friends and make new ones at PASS Summit. From the First-Timers’ Orientation to the Welcome Reception, Exhibitor Reception, and interactive luncheons, PASS will make it easy for you to stay connected and network with other attendees. There will also be many informal after-hours activities taking place throughout the week – before, during, and after the official Summit schedule.

Expert Picks
The PASS Summit session schedule (PDF) was recently published and you’ve got over 190 technical sessions to choose from over the span of 3 days. This can be overwhelming, I know. To help you out, PASS has put together a series of Expert Picks - lists of recommended sessions from the different perspectives of community experts and PASS Virtual Chapters. There is even a DBA 101 list and a DBA Masters’ list is in the works. Check it out, it’s worth your time.

Convince Your Boss
It goes without question that PASS Summit is the biggest and best SQL Server conference going. For those of you who haven’t yet signed up to attend, you need to convince your boss to send you. PASS has put together some information on who should attend, posted testimonials from past attendees, and  created a handy value table to help you justify your attendance.

And If you can’t Convince your Boss…
We’ll bring Summit to you! We’re launching PASSTV this year – 12 hours of livestreamed content that will repeat during the evening so that every single SQL Server professional around the world can join in andbe a part of this great experience we call PASS Summit. Stay tuned for more details in the upcoming weeks.

See you Seattle!

Anti-Harassment Policy Adopted for PASS Summit

The PASS Board of Directors recently approved adoption of an Anti-Harassment Policy for PASS Summit.

The policy states: "We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or any other protected classification." It outlines in general terms the type of behavior that is not acceptable and explains the steps that can be taken should someone engage in harassing behavior.

I had three reasons for drafting the policy and proposing its adoption:

  • Other technical conferences have had incidents of harassment. Most of these did not have a policy in place prior to having a problem, though several conference organizers have since adopted anti-harassment policies or codes of conduct. I felt it would be in PASS's interest to establish a policy so we would be prepared should there be an incident.
  • "This is Community" - Adopting a code of conduct would reinforce our community orientation and send a message about the positive character of PASS Summit. 
  • PASS is a leader among technical organizations for its promotion and support of women. Adopting a code of conduct would further demonstrate our leadership in this area.

 

PASS members pride themselves on being inclusive and ensuring that all attendees feel welcome at the Summit. From the many networking opportunities to the First Timers program to the #sqlpass conversations on Twitter, we encourage everyone to particpate fully in the conference. Having an anti-harassment policy is another way we ensure everyone feels welcome and safe at the Summit.

The Board had some thoughtful discussions as we worked through the details of the policy. I applaud the Board's willingness to take this step. I also want to thank PASS Governance Administrator Michelle Nalliah for all of her help in getting us through this process. 

Top Speakers Invited to Submit Spotlight Sessions

They’re back! Favorite speakers from PASS Summit 2011 were invited late last week to submit special 90-minute Spotlight session abstracts for this year’s conference.

Spotlight sessions highlight top-rated Community speakers, as determined by attendee evaluations. To receive a Spotlight invitation, speakers had to receive an overall rating of 4.6 or higher for their PASS Summit 2011 session (excluding Lightning Talks and Chalk Talks), with a minimum of 15 attendees and 15 submitted attendee evals.

This year, 27 speakers received a Spotlight invitation and are also welcome to submit Regular and ½-Day sessions, up to an overall total of four submissions. If they meet the speaker requirements for Pre-Conference sessions, they can submit two pre-con abstracts as well. All Spotlight abstracts not selected for a 90-minute Spotlight session will be considered for a regular 75-minute session. (See the PASS Summit 2012 Call for Speakers for all the details.)

Congratulations to all the fantastic speakers who received a Spotlight invitation – we can’t wait to receive your abstracts!
– Adam | Adam.Jorgensen@SQLPASS.org | @AJBigData

 

In the Loop with PASS Summit

We've got some great things going on in the PASS ecosystem and I want to make sure you’re looped in!

The 2012 PASS Summit Preference survey has closed with nearly twice as many responses compared to last year. Thank you! Your feedback will help drive the content at PASS Summit this year.

On that note, the Summit Call for Speakers is open to all community and Microsoft presenters and I encourage you to submit an abstract by the May 13 deadline. You'll need to use your PASS member login to access the Call for Speakers site. If you don't have a login, you can create one now. This year’s program will span over 6 tracks and you can put forward up to 4 session abstracts and 2 pre-conference abstracts. It’s going to be great!

We have selected the remaining folks to help with the program committees. This excited group of volunteers is being notified of their committee assignments and going through training so we will be ready to get going as soon as the Call for Speakers closes. The invitations for spotlight sessions are also going out this week so keep your eye out, you might be invited to submit one of these sessions!

The PASS Summit Program portfolio is moving along nicely with great input and support from the rest of my team of board members. The best feedback I get however is from you, so please keep that coming. Stay on the lookout for my upcoming blog interview with Mike Lynn, our winner from the drawing we held from survey respondents. Mike will get a chance to share what he would like to see at PASS Summit, what he thinks about PASS and how we can continue to become more relevant to each of you in your day-to-day data world.

PASS SQLRally Dallas is upon us next week and this is incredibly exciting. I’ll be attending my second board meeting at the event and delivering some sessions with the rest of a tremendous cast of characters (yes I think you are all characters)! If you have not already done so, please consider making it out to the event and if you’re coming, take advantage of some of the amazing pre-cons that are happening. 

Speaking of board meetings, I am looking forward to this one. My first experience was better than expected and the group really aligned quickly to begin delivering on some commitments and planning for awesome happenings this year. There are some big topics to discuss, fun Summit planning, and some special projects being worked on by some great volunteers. Stay tuned for more info on some of these great initiatives.

– Adam | Adam.Jorgensen@SQLPASS.org | @AJBigData