PASS Connector Editorial for March 25, 2009 - by Andy Warren

Hello Everyone,

There’s 2 big pieces of news at PASS this week: the launch of the PASS Summit website, and the call for speakers for PASS Summit 2009, which is open through midnight, April 10, 2009. We’re looking for speakers to bring value and diversity to what we believe is the best SQL Server event in the country! Do you have some hard won experience you want to share? Or maybe you have a colleague that is really good and ready to take the next step? Submitting an abstract only takes a few minutes and if it’s accepted, the speaker earns free admittance to the main conference and the opportunity to add ‘national speaker’ to their resume – not a small thing.

Last year we had about 400 abstracts selected and room for just over a 100 presentations, fair warning that the competition is fierce! I don’t participate in the selection process, but based on my previous experience if you want to maximize your chances of success you should:

  • Submit  abstracts on topics you’re absolutely passionate about
  • Put a lot of effort into the title and description of the abstract – make it sound interesting to attendees

It takes some time after the call for speakers closes to build the final schedule and let everyone know the results. Imagine having 400 presentations and being tasked with building a schedule that has content for beginner to expert level attendees, a mix of topics from SSIS to Performance Tuning to CLR to Spatial Indexes, a mix of experienced speakers with some new ones – and while doing that look at the PASSPort of every person that submits an abstract to determine if they have enough experience to justify selecting them. I don’t envy Director Lynda Rab and her team of volunteers that task!

Speaking of the 2009 Summit, it’s a good time to start working on your plans to attend. Registration is open and if you register by May 1 it’s only $1395. I know I said only, but if you wait to register you’ll spend $1795 – by doing it now you save $400 and you could use that $400 to cover a good chunk of the travel expenses. It may sound like a sales pitch – and I suppose it is to a degree – but I’ve been to the PASS Summit every year since 2000 and I’ve always found it to be worth the investment of time and money.

Have a question about the call for speakers?  Email elena.sebastiano@sqlpass.org. Any other questions on the Summit or PASS in general? Post a question to the PASS blog or just email me at andy.warren@sqlpass.org.

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PASS Summit Unite 2009 site launched

We just launched the web site for our SQL Server conference this November.  There are some exicting changes this year:

  • We've added more technical sessions bringing our total to 168.  The call for speakers is open until April 10th if you're interested in speaking.
  • We're increasing our focus on business intelligence and data warehousing.  We're doing this by adding additional sessions and expanding the scope of what we're covering. 
  • The conference now runs from Tuesday through Thursday with pre-conference sessions on Monday and post-conference sessions on Friday.  This should help attendees schedule travel more effeciently.
  • This year we're putting a big focus on ROI.  We want to help you better utilize your database resources.   And that starts with this conference.  We're offering more sessions for less money this year.  We also have information on the site to help you get approval to attend the conference.

We'll be back with more information later.  Until then don't forget our discounted registration rates available until May 1st.  I hope to see you all at the conference.

Bill Graziano

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Musings on Steve Jones' Presentation on Building your Brand

Hello everyone.

It was a very exciting morning for me today. I woke up, put on some great music, got in my car, and drove to work nice and early so I could make a big cup of coffee to get mentally prepared for the Charlotte SQL Server User Group Meeting. Steve Jones was presenting on building your brand.

I really enjoy when Peter Shire and his group have these great virtual lunch Chapter Meetings because they not only bring in fantastic speakers like Steve Jones of SQL Server Central, but they also pull together some great SQL Server community folk. It's always nice to hear familiar voices. I was even more excited about this meeting because Steve was presenting on social marking and blogging, something I use frequently here at PASS.

Before I came to PASS, social networking was simply something I started doing to keep in contact with people I had met traveling. It wasn't until I joined PASS that I realized how important it can be to any professional community. I remember Tjay Belt asking me at the Summit if I was on Twitter. I thought it sounded fun, so I joined. I was astonished to find that by the end of the Summit I had over 100 people following me. What a great way to get the word out about the PASS Community.

Steve's presentation was very valuable because he not only outlined how to use social networking tools to enhance professional resumes, but he also gave great tips of how to manage your image by not mixing personal and professional topics in similar social networking platforms.

All of this 'reputation management' speak got me thinking about the last time I googled myself because I hadn't in a while (I have a pretty unique name). It was quite interesting what I found on the first page:

1. Of course all of the Blog posts I have written here

2. My Facebook Page

3. My Facbook Page (different link, same page)

4. My Linkedin Page

5. A page listing me as running for the Students' Union long ago

6. My Twitter information listed on SQLserverpedia under PASS

7. Jeremiah Peschka's Blog Post about the PASS Chapter SIG

8. My placing for the 1997 Alberta Canada final kayaing time trials.

Steve also outlined why blogs can be a great way of chronicling your career as long as you are consistent in your posts. I have to agree with him there. There is no better way to learn than to teach. Great advice.

It was a pleasure to sit in on this meeting. If you're interested in building your modern resume or establishing an online brand, I suggest checking out Steve's Blog on the Modern Resume. It contains some great white marbles of social networking wisdom.

All the best!

Blythe Morrow

PASS Community Coordinator

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Andy's Editorial: Bi-weekly update

Greetings,

One of things that we promised at the 2008 PASS Summit was that we would begin posting minutes of board meetings beginning this year. I’m pleased to announce that the minutes of the January 2009 meeting have been posted and I hope you’ll review them – it will give you a sense of the kind and amount of business we conduct as well as our current focus. We’re already reviewing the minutes for the February 2009 board meeting that was done via conference call, and those should be available by the next Connector.
 
We’re also launching a new segment in the Connector this week that will be highlighting books of interest to our profession.  Most will be technical, but occasionally we may add in a book about something that is just career focused. The intent is simple; show you a resource that might help you get your job done. We’re still looking at what our strategy should be on book reviews, and we would appreciate your input – do you rely on Amazon reviews or would you find value in a review written and posted here by a PASS member?
 
If you’ve been to the PASS Summit before you may have noticed our PASS Ambassadors; volunteers in red vests that roam the hallways to provide directions and help to those that need it. We’re going to expand the role of the Ambassadors this year to help promote real networking.  Putting everyone in a room with food is a start, but we want to do more, and we welcome some ideas. Have you been to an event that had a particularly effective networking strategy that would work for the less outgoing professional?  Do you want to meet people in your area, or in your area of interest, or maybe someone ‘famous’?

Also beginning this week editorials from the Connector will be cross posted to the PASS Blog, providing a way for you to comment and see other comments on editorial ideas. As always you can contact me at andywarren@sqlpass.org if you have a question or comment.

Regards,

Andy

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