Call for Nominations for 2011/2012 PASS Board Term Now Open

In the spirit of the World Cup, please accept a big South African "howzit" to the PASS Community!

It's only June and already the elections are upon us. Wayne Snyder, PASS's Immediate Past President, formed the 2010 Nominations Committee last week. The NomCom members are:

 

Wayne Snyder (Chair)
Thomas LaRock
Rick Heiges
Rick Bolesta
Judy Christianson
Denise McInerney
Stu Ainsworth 

 

The Committee has been busy reviewing and discussing the elections documents that the PASS community helped audit over the past month. Both the NomCom and the Board gave their okay to the documents currently available on the elections website. With all the steps in place, PASS is now ready to start looking for its newest Directors.  

So, without further ado, it is time to announce the Call for Nominations for the 2011/2012 Board term.

If you're considering running for the Board, we strongly urge you to apply. The more applications we receive, the better the elections process will run. More importantly, though, PASS would like to see its most talented members in leadership positions. If you think you or someone you know is an ideal candidate, please review what it takes to be a Director, download the application and apply before the July 21 deadline. Click here for other important dates.

As a PASS Director, you would be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the organization, as well as setting the course for the organization on short- and long-term decisions. The primary directive of the Board is to focus on the key strategic issues of the SQL Server community by providing members with opportunities to advance their technical and professional skills, network at the local and international levels, and interact with the industry’s most accomplished users and experts.

You can read more and stay up to date on the elections process at http://elections.sqlpass.org. Please feel free to keep in touch with the Elections team at HQ (consisting of myself and Nancy Nasso, PASS Community Coordinator). You can also voice your opinions via Twitter (#passvotes) or visit the elections discussion forums at http://elections.sqlpass.org (to be launched in early July).

Thanks in advance for staying involved. PASS couldn't run without your dedication and support!

 

Cheers,

Hannes Bezuidenhout
PASS HQ - Governance

The "Spring" Event

Re-posted from Andy Warren's Blog

The minutes of the June 2010 Board meeting have been posted and if you haven’t read them yet, you missed a minor but interesting vote embedded there – we’ve voted to hold an event in Orlando in late April/early May 2011 that will consist of 2 full days of sessions plus 1 day of pre-con seminars. We’ll get the final date announced in the next few days, we’re in the final stages of signing the hotel contract. Pricing will be announced soon as well, but expect an average price of $299 for the two day event, and $149 to attend a seminar. In some ways you could think of this as a seriously upsized two day SQLSaturday, or a seriously slimmed down PASS Summit – and that’s our goal, to fill the gap between the two in a way that grows our community.

We’re still in the early stages and things are subject to change, but here are a few notes on what we have in mind:

We haven’t named it yet – we’ll be asking for input from you in the next few weeks
 - “No frills”. We won’t have a lot of fancy signs or event bags, but you’ll get good food and first class speakers (no beginners here!)
 - It’s a hybrid – managed by both PASS HQ and local volunteers, and staffed by volunteers from all the SQL chapters in Florida
 - Invite user groups to submit proposals to host it in 2012 – think an Olympic site selection bake-off. Is your user group ready for the challenge? Doesn’t have to be East coast, just not in the same area as the Summit
 - I’m excited about this, for a lot of reasons. It’s a way to engage people who can’t get funding for the Summit, people who doubt the value of a “conference”, it’s the missing step in our farm club system for speakers (chapter—>SQLSaturday—>This Event—>Summit), a chance to grow pre-con speakers, it’s an option for those who can’t afford the time to travel cross country, and it’s an effort to really partner with chapters and event leaders.

Dreaming some, there’s a chance by 2012 or 2013 that we might hold more than one of these a year. It’s designed to be a regional event, so it’s possible (dreaming, remember?) that we might hold one in Boston (or Nashville, or Charlotte,or Atlanta), Dallas, and Denver – all in addition to the Summit. That’s a big dream, and we don’t want to saturate the market, and we definitely want to continue the growth of both SQLSaturday and the Summit. Another part of that dream is that this can also become our model for hosting events internationally. It’s long past time that we had large PASS events internationally, a co-op model with a low cost of entry is a great way to drive that.

We’re going to strive to be pretty translucent on the process. Got questions? Post here, on the PASS blog, email me, twitter (@sqlandy) and we’ll get someone to work on the answer
 

Andy Warren

Taking the PASS Mission on the Road

I love talking about SQL Server and PASS. Spreading the message of incredible value that they both bring to the lives of database pros has taken me around the globe several times in the past 2 years. (You can trace my PASS-related travels at the end of this post.)
 
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Kathmandu, Nepal, for the first time at the invitation of my friend Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, Country Manager of Microsoft MDP in Nepal. I had heard a lot about Allen's work in the Nepal community and was eager to see it firsthand.

Allen had organized three get-togethers for us: a breakfast with CEOs from local businesses and financial and government organizations, a discussion with area college students, and a session with the local PASS Chapter in Kathmandu. But my visit began with an inspirational tour of Kathmandu and surrounding areas, courtesy of Rumi from Allen's office. We drove to the ancient city of Bhaktapur, a former capital of Nepal with beautiful temples and breathtaking wood, metal, and stonework. I then took Pinal Dave’s advice and visited the Pashupatinath Temple, one of the oldest and holiest Hindu shrines in the world, located on the banks of the Bagmati river in eastern Kathmandu. The heritage and culture at both locations were amazing, and I was even more excited to meet with business leaders and fellow SQL Server enthusiasts from this wonderful area.
 
The next day, Allen kicked off the CEO breakfast talking about the Top 10 wishes that people have. Interestingly, time travel made the list—I, for one, would love to be able to teleport given my life on airplanes (175k+ miles last year). I then discussed the value that business intelligence could bring to businesses, industry trends, and the value of the Microsoft BI Platform, including SQL Server and Office. I also walked through some high-level demos to illustrate the continuum from managed to self-service BI.

From talking with leaders at the pinnacle of their careers, we then moved to our meeting with students just starting out. I talked to more than 100 enthusiastic technology students representing 5-6 colleges in and around Kathmandu about data, databases, career opportunities in the database profession, and why they should consider learning about the SQL Server platform while in school.

Allen and I highlighted various resources that students could easily take advantage of to learn about SQL Server. I encouraged them to get involved in a local PASS Chapter and get their hands on the platform for free by trying out the SQL Server 2008 R2 Hosted Trial labs at PreviewSQLServer.com, sponsored by Dell, MaximumASP, Microsoft, and PASS. Allen reminded the students that they have access to free software from Microsoft. He also proposed creating certification study groups to help students achieve certifications. In addition, we talked about the potential of finding mentors for the students from the local SQL Server user group. Allen’s amazing work with students across Nepal to evangelize Microsoft products and build the next generation of users gave me some great ideas for PASS and our local and virtual Chapters.

My last event of the day was a presentation at the Nepal SQL Server Users Group on new self-service reporting and BI features in SQL Server 2008 R2. After the presentation and an active Q&A session, we had a great time socializing and networking over tea and snacks.
 
My day ended perfectly with dinner at the Nepali Chulo, a traditional restaurant with colorful décor and traditional Nepalese music and dances. I left for Mumbai the next morning with wonderful memories of magical places and warm and friendly people excited about how SQL Server and PASS can improve their businesses and their careers.

The work Allen is doing in Nepal to evangelize SQL Server and other Microsoft products is fantastic, and I look forward to more interaction with the Nepal SQL Server community in the future. And whether you’re on the road for business or pleasure, I encourage you to make time to visit a local PASS Chapter and connect with fellow SQL Server community members. We have a lot to learn from—and share with—each other.
—Rushabh Mehta
PASS President
 
 
A quick look at the Chapters, SQLSaturdays, and other PASS events I’ve spoken at in the past 2 years:
 
2010
Sri Lanka SQL Server User Group, Colombo (Feb ’10)
Burlington, Vermont UG (Mar ’10)
SQLSaturday #33, Charlotte, NC (Mar ’10)
Tampa SQL BI UG (Mar ’10)
PASS European Conference, Neuss, Germany (Apr ’10)
24 Hours of PASS (May ’10)
Nepal SQL Server UG (May ’10)
SQLSaturday #22 Pensacola, FL (Jun ’10)
 
2009
SQLSaturday #10, Tampa (Jan ’09)
Sri Lanka CEO Forum (Jan ’09)
SQL Server UG, Ottawa, Canada (Mar ’09)
PASS European Conference, Dusseldorf (Apr ’09)
SQL Server UG, Sarasota, FL (Apr ’09)
SQL Server UG, Ahmedabad, India (May ’09)
Sri Lanka Technology Forum (Jun ’09)
PASS BI SIG Live Meeting (Jul ’09)
SQL Server UG, Toronto, Canada (Oct ’09)
PASS Summit 2009 (Nov ’09)
 

Important PASS Community News: a farewell to Blythe

I have difficult news to share with the PASS community:  After careful consideration Blythe Morrow is leaving PASS HQ.  Blythe's time with PASS officially ends on July 1 and she will be moving back to Edmonton, Alberta to be closer to her family. 
 
Blythe has spent the last two years of her career as our Community Programs Coordinator working closely with Greg Low and myself as well as most of you reading this.  During her tenure she has been instrumental in facilitating incredible growth, instituting new governance and support programs, and most importantly helping us all to realize how much fun PASS can be.  While PASS will continue to thrive and succeed certainly our individual experiences will be a little different without Blythe.
 
While no transition is easy, we are being placed into very capable hands.  Over the last three months Blythe and Nancy Nasso have been working together, Nancy has quickly become a strong contributor to numerous PASS community functions and projects and will be working to assume other duties and responsibilities prior to Blythe’s departure.
 
Thank you all for your support and appreciation of Blythe over the last two years, please make a point to reach out to her directly to thank her and wish her well.  Also thank you for your flexibly and new appreciation for Nancy as she steps up during the next weeks and months.

--Douglas

Douglas McDowell
PASS Director of Chapters

What the heck are you people talking about?

The call for speakers is closed and the selection committees are about to begin reviewing the abstracts. Before they get started, here are a few little pieces of trivia about the sessions.

Keep in mind that I have done minimal cleansing on this data so it’s going to be a bit messy and unreliable for anything apart from entertainment purposes.

Raw Numbers

There were 574 sessions submitted this year by 209 speakers working for a total of 163 separate companies.

Out of a total of 127 job titles, the most common one was “Consultant”. Or, it would be until you take into account the different variations of DBA, Database Administrator, etc. Taking that into account, 20 of you are some kind of DBA.

If you want to get a bit fuzzier about the numbers:

  • 17 of you are an engineer and are probably measuring something with calipers right now
  • 12 of you identify as a manager
  • 12 of you think you’re a developer
  • 27 of you claim to be a consultant
  • 11 of you work in B.I.
  • 32 of you claim to be architects. You draw squares and arrows to represent work.

All of you work for a total of 163 different companies. Unless some of you can’t spell your company’s name right. Then you may work for fewer companies, I’m not sure. The data, as I said, is dirty.

The Submissions

The average length of a session abstract was 617.7 characters or 99.19 words with a standard deviation of 243 characters and 39 words. Out of all the presentations, 187 have never been presented before. They may very well be 100% fresh in November when you arrive.

Here’s the distribution between the different levels:

  • 100 Level (Novice) - 109 sessions
  • 200 Level (Intermediate) - 239 sessions
  • 300 Level (Advanced) - 178 sessions
  • 400 Level (Expert) - 44 sessions
  • 500 Level (Advanced Expert) - 2 sessions

Pre/Post Conference

42 total pre/post conference sessions were submitted. That’s a lot of competition for a few slots.

  • 14 were B.I. (9 for architecture and 5 for reporting/delivery)
  • 13 relate to DBA work
  • 12 relate to application development
  • 3 relate to professional development

The only conclusion I can draw is that very few of us are prepared to talk about our careers for a single work day. Are you playing Legend of Zelda at work all day? What’s up with that, guys? People making a living talking about this kind of stuff.

Spotlight Sessions

There were 58 spotlight sessions submitted and I’m afraid to say that your day jobs fared even worse in this section. 

  • 20 were DBA related topics
  • 15 were development topics (this better not be all IronPerl … I mean PowerShell)
  • 13 were somehow related to B.I. architectural whatnot
  • 5 were related to B.I. reporting and delivery. Apparently these guys are too busy making money to talk at the PASS Summit for 8 hours.
  • 5 of you thought that you could talk about your job for 90 minutes. Good for you. That’s long enough to get to the good parts in Krull or watch any number of amazing kung fu movies.

The distribution is starting to skew a bit here. If we combined the BI tracks it would look a lot more like the pre/post conference situation.

Community Sessions

Here is where you guys clearly shine. You submitted a whopping 472 sessions. That’s an average of 2.25 per person. While not bad, you could have submitted 4. I’m just saying that maybe next year you should pick it up a little bit.

  • 137 application development topics. We’re number 1, we’re number 1
  • 135 DBA topics put this in at a close second.
  • 113 BI architecture topics
  • 48 Professional development (you can talk for 75 minutes about your job, but not 90?)
  • 39 B.I. reporting topics. I think these people really must have jobs to do, because that’s not a lot.

Summer of Learning - by Rick Heiges

From ash clouds to a 24-hour marathon of webinars, it has been a busy spring here at PASS as we took advantage of many opportunities to bring you top-notch SQL Server education in a variety of formats and locations. And the summer is showing no signs of slowing down.

Last month, we held our second-ever 24 Hours of PASS virtual event with a record 63,000 registrations. PASS officially assumed responsibility for helping coordinate and guide SQLSaturday events alongside local chapter leaders. And our virtual chapters have been holding monthly—sometimes weekly—meetings full of fantastic content that are broadcast live and often available for on-demand streaming afterward. The SQL Server 2008 R2 Launch tour officially kicked off at PASS European Conference and spread around the globe, with 27 PASS Chapters participating in the events. Although the volcanic ash cloud prevented some speakers (and some attendees) from physically making it to European Conference, we were able to leverage LiveMeeting to deliver content to attendees wherever they were.

The summer is shaping up to be just as busy. A reminder that the PASS Summit 2010 Call for Speakers closes June 5, so get your abstracts in this week! The Program Committee will then examine all the session proposals to put together another phenomenal conference program. Another item in this issue talks about the next price increase on June 30—and an exciting “satisfaction guaranteed” program that lets you register at the discounted price today and then cancel if you’re not fully satisfied with the program lineup when it’s posted. (But I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.)

There is no lack of training opportunities in the meantime. You’ll likely see another 24 Hours of PASS before the Summit, joining the full lineup of local chapter and virtual chapter meetings and SQLSaturday events planned for the next quarter.

And just as there is always something going on at PASS, there are always a lot of volunteers helping bring these events to life. If you are one of those people, I want to say a big “Thank You!” Even if you don’t have time to get involved behind the scenes, your attendance is greatly appreciated. We welcome your participation at any level and value your feedback. Don’t keep PASS a secret! Tell your colleagues, your old college buddies, your mother, and anyone else who will listen about where they can get the best user-to-user based SQL Server education. And we will continue to bring you high-quality education throughout the summer and onward!


—Rick Heiges
PASS Director of Marketing