It’s All About Community

Why would you stay up until 4am working on a presentation and then drive 8 hours to speak at a SQLSaturday when you aren’t getting paid? Why would you spend hours and hours making tables full of food for people you don’t really know? Why would you cruise Nashville in the middle of the night to make sure the folks you were with saw the Grand Ole Opry before they left?

Then again, why would you spend hours debating the injustices of a decision you don’t agree with on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook? How about taking on a second unpaid job volunteering? Or paying your own expenses and using up your precious holidays to attend PASS Summit?

The answer is Community. Community isn’t just a group of people—it’s a living entity that can grow, wither, get sick, heal, die, and be reborn. Being part of a community can be phenomenally rewarding, very challenging at times, and always interesting.

Spending last week in Nashville for a PASS Board of Directors meeting and the kickoff for SQLSaturday #51 was been both phenomenally rewarding and very challenging. But at the end of the day, I feel more a part of the SQL Server Community than I have in a long time.

Although I was emotionally and physically exhausted at times from working through some tough issues, what I will take away from the experience is a sense of awe that Allen White cares enough to drive down from Ohio to Nashville to make his presentation. That Rachel and Kevin Kline would make more than 20 dishes and open up their beautiful home to host the SQLSaturday kickoff. That Robert Cain and Barry Ralston took the time to drive Andy Warren and myself around Nashville at 11pm to show us the main drag and let us hear the Country music blaring out of the bars, get a glimpse of the Grand Ole Opry, and see the bizarre but fantastic Nashville Parthenon.

Like tending a garden or raising a child, there are a lot of differing views on the best approach for running PASS and meeting the needs of the Community. To me, what’s most important is that people care and that they work toward the goals they are most passionate about.

Last week, I met and interacted with so many people that care, and I am confident that our PASS Community is in good hands. The PASS Community is active, it has a powerful voice, and it will continue to shape its own evolution.
—Lynda

Lynda Rab,
PASS Board member
 

Working Together Not Apart

Dear PASS Community,
 
There has been a healthy debate in the community surrounding the election process and the outcome where Steve Jones, a well-known member of the community, did not make the slate. Despite the outcome, the process that was defined and vetted by members of the community and board worked extremely well and addressed the concerns that were laid out by the community during last year’s election cycle. I thank the Nomination Committee for their volunteerism and hard work through the process. The proposed slate was approved by the board. I fully support the process and the decision of the board.
 
We have also come a long way towards transparency. Our books are open to you. You now know the details of our revenues and expenditures. The board has risen to the challenge of ensuring that this organization remains a solvent and vibrant organization. I am proud of the achievements of this and former boards and certainly aware of our many failures as we apply our limited resources to your volunteerism and support to build a better and more vibrant community. Over the past years, we have steadily increased our support to the offline community and also made inroads into the online world with very successful virtual events like 24 Hours of PASS and hosted trials. Your support of these efforts has been invaluable and I hope that you also benefited from these efforts.
 
This brings me to a rather painful topic. It was brought to my attention today that some people in the community have created multiple twitter accounts impersonating PASS and also our management company. The tweets have been divisive and are an attempt to sabotage an otherwise healthy debate. In doing so, these tweets are slandering personal reputations of people that have worked so hard to build this community and PASS. I place my trust in you to help bring an end to such divisive behavior and help protect the reputation of individuals that work for you.
 
In closing, I have one more thought – PASS is supported by an amazing management team that many of you interact with regularly, a volunteer board, and hundreds of volunteers around the world that work very hard with a single goal in mind– to build a stronger SQL Server community. We may not always succeed or make the right decisions, but we promise to keep working hard. All of us deeply appreciate your support and encouragement.
 
If you have questions, always feel free to send me a direct email at rmehta@sqlpass.org. I promise to do my best to answer your questions.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rushabh Mehta
President, PASS

 

Beware Imposter PASSPR Twitter Account

Just a quick note to watch out for an imposter Twitter account purporting to represent PASS HQ PR. Today, the account began posting inflamatory messages under the guise of PASS. We want to assure the community that this account is in no way related to PASS; its management firm, Christianson & Company Event Management Ltd.; or representatives of PASS or C&C and does not speak for PASS or C&C. The only account that speaks for PASS is @sqlpass.

We have posted messages to this effect on Twitter to our loyal followers. Thanks to Andy Leonard and others who brought this to our attention and who are spreading the word  to unfollow the account and to not retweet any of its messages. We are working with Twitter to report the account as an imposter and have it removed.
--Kathy

Kathy  Blomstrom
PASS Communications

 

Try Before You Buy

Surprisingly enough, the PASS Summit is less than three months away. Many of you are in the process of deciding whether to sign up for the pre/post conference sessions and, if so, which ones to sign up for. The Program Committee is encouraging the speakers from the pre/post con sessions to present ‘preview’ webcast sessions through the virtual chapters. These, as always, are free webcasts and would give PASS members a glimpse of what would be covered during the pre/post con sessions. We hope that all of the speakers take this opportunity, but we wanted to let you know what is lined up so far.

Adam Mechanic presented “Parallelism and Performance: Are You Getting Full Return on Your CPU Investment” for the Performance VC on 8/3. This session is available in the Presentation Archive on the Performance VC site: http://performance.sqlpass.org/PresentationArchive.aspx.
Denny Cherry is going to be presenting a preview webcast for his “Storage and Virtualization for the DBA” session for the Performance VC on September 23rd at 12:00PST.
Adam Mechanic is tentatively scheduled to present a preview webcast for his “A Day of Doing Many Things at Once: Multitasking, Parallelism, and Process Distribution” session for the Application Development VC on September 28th.
Allen White is scheduled to present a session for the DBA VC in October.
We’ll be sure to post other preview sessions as they’re scheduled.
Another opportunity to see some of the pre/post-con speakers in action is the upcoming 24 Hours of PASS on September 15. Allen White, Kalen Delaney, Peter Myers, Brian Knight and Denny Cherry will all be participating. You can find more information and register here: http://www.sqlpass.org/24hours/fall2010/.

Candidates Selected for 2010 Elections

The Nominations Committee met last Thursday, August 12, to pick a slate to present to the PASS Board of Directors. The Board came together on Monday to discuss the slate with the Committee before voting to approve it. And with that, the candidate slate is set!

Congratulations to the following 5 candidates for PASS Elections 2010:

  • Allen Kinsel
  • Andy Warren
  • Douglas McDowell
  • Geoff Hiten
  • Mark Ginnebaugh

The Candidate Campaign Space goes live at 5pm Pacific today (August 18). You'll be able to compare candidate applications and platforms there.

If you're curious to see the Committee's average total scores for all the interviewees, click here. The procedural documents used by the NomCom are available here. A summary of the NomCom's meeting to discuss the interviewees will be posted soon.

Our social media portals have been abuzz in the past few weeks -- thanks to everyone for staying involved! Keep your eye on the Discussion page for new elections blogs in the coming weeks -- you can catch Andy Leonard's interview series with the applicants there. Also, voice your opinions on the elections discussion forum, which launches at 5pm Pacific today (August 18).

Stay tuned for your email ballot which will be sent out on September 1. Voting will remain open until noon Pacific, September 15.

 For more information about the process, click here. For more important elections dates, click here.

PASS Summit Community Choice Session results revealed

 

This year the Program Committee decided to try something different to increase community involvement with the abstract selection process for the annual summit.  We decided to allow any registered PASS members to vote on the final  4 community sessions to be presented at the Summit in Seattle this year.  With our historically low turnout in surveys of our membership, I turned to the team at PASSHQ with a simple question about whether or not we could use the same voting tool that is in place for the upcoming Board of Directors election.  Considering our surveys have traditionally resulted in 300-500 results , at the time I put a personal goal on the survey response rate of 500, anything greater than that and I would consider the time and energy It took to put it together a win, anything less and well, we wouldn’t be doing any more exploring in the use of public voting for Summit Sessions.

I’m VERY pleased to say that by all indications, the voting process was a great success, sure we will always aim to do better but, for now, having over 1100 people vote on what they want to see at the Summit is a huge win for PASS as an organization.  In the App Dev group, the winner was declared by 2 votes.   2 votes out of 600 is pretty outstanding, if you didn’t take the time and vote, you could have been the vote that swayed the result!!  Don’t miss your chance next time!!  The winning sessions can be found here

I want to take the time to thank each and every member of the awesome PASS Community who voted.  As well as Jeremiah Peschka (Twitter|Blog) & Lori Edwards (Twitter|Blog) for dealing with my crazy ideas on putting this together, and keeping me in check.  Andy Warren (Twitter|Blog) for helping me get the voting tool he built for pass working for this use.  Id also like to give a huge thanks to Hannes, Wesley and Elena at PASSHQ for helping bring all of this to PASS (pun intended)

Back to School with 24 Hours of PASS

You can feel it in the air. Summer is winding down, and parents and kids are gearing up for back to school. And with September’s 24 Hours of PASS: Summit Preview just around the corner, SQL Server pros will be hitting the classroom again, too.

For this third installment of our popular virtual event, an exceptional lineup of SQL Server and BI experts from around the world will be presenting a sneak peek of PASS Summit 2010 in 24 live webcasts. We’re changing up the schedule a bit this time to try to better fit the needs of our live attendees. Instead of 24 hours in a row, we’re splitting the session lineup across 2 days—September 15 and 16—each featuring 12 consecutive webcasts.

Why the change? Because an overwhelming majority of attendees are in North America, many sessions that occurred late at night or early in the morning were lightly attended. In addition, the support staff and volunteers who make sure the event goes smoothly were working long hours and overnight, so the new format will significantly reduce the impact on our limited resources. We also felt that we needed to try a different schedule to help us find the best format for our audience—you.

We aren’t changing the delivery platform (Live Meeting), and we’re again turning to chapter leaders from around the globe to host the sessions. Most important, we’re featuring the same high-caliber content and speakers that you’ve come to expect and enjoy. You can register for your favorite sessions here.

We look forward to your feedback about other ideas for improving the experience as we enter the early stages of planning 24 Hours of PASS for Spring 2011. Each online event builds upon the previous one. As we learn more about what works best for 24 Hours of PASS, you can expect us to tweak the format to make it better with each edition.

If you’re itching for some SQL Server education and can’t wait until September, check out the recordings from 24 Hours of PASS: Celebrating SQL Server 2008 R2 and archived sessions at each of the PASS Virtual Chapter sites. Don’t forget that all the PASS Summit 2008 sessions are also available for free to PASS members in streaming format.

I encourage you to take advantage of the many resources PASS offers to help you connect, share, and learn with members of the community. And please share them with other SQL Server professionals. I look forward to “seeing” you at 24 Hours of PASS—until then, happy learning!
—Rick

Rick Heiges
Vice President, Marketing
 

The PASS SQLRally Logo Winner Is…

With 63% of the total votes our winner is Speedometer! Congratulations to azzam on 99designs and thank you to everyone else who submitted logos and took the time to vote for their favorite design.

Q2 Chapter Survey Shows Strong Community "Reach"

Early in 2010 Blythe Morrow and I set out to get a better understanding of the makeup and needs of the PASS community as represented by our Chapters.  To connect better with Chapters we initiated quarterly surveys.  For the initial Q1 survey 49% of Chapters responded and I published the results a March blog: http://www.sqlpass.org/Community/PASSBlog/entryid/91/Survey-Results-Show-Top-Chapter-Needs.aspx .  The survey participation and feedback was great; at that point I set goals for future surveys: 60% Chapter participation per survey and 80% participation from Chapters overall across all 2010 surveys.

In July Nancy Nasso and I closed-out the Q2 Chapter Survey, and I am finally getting around to summarizing the results for you.  Of PASS’s 207 Chapters, 127 Chapter Leaders (61%) responded to the Q2 Survey.  We beat my 60% participation goal – these results are a very good representation of our current Chapters.  A personal “thank you” to all the leaders that participated.

Here’s what Chapter Leaders told us about their Chapters:

·         76% of Chapters that responded have a membership of 500 or less

·         81% of Chapters that responded have regular attendance of between 10-50

·         33% of Chapters that responded have 6-10 meetings per year, 44% have 11-16, and 20% have fewer than 6

To better understand the technical focus/interests of PASS members we asked Chapters the percentage of coverage (at meetings) they provide to general topic areas, a combined metric I call “topic mix.”

·         27% Application Development

·         25% Business Intelligence

·         38% Database Administration

·         10% Professional Development or other topics

There are always open issues surrounding our premium annual benefit to our Chapters: one complimentary registration to either the North American Summit or the European Conference each fiscal year (July-June).  For simplicity I will just call this benefit a “Summit comp.”  There is always some misunderstanding that this is not an easy or free benefit for PASS to offer, the actual cost for a Summit comp is high since all the event facilities and food and beverage are all charged per-attendee plus incremental consumption – it adds up quick and requires a lot of allocated budget.  The “issues” come in because PASS is not in the business of applying strict policies to our Chapters, so every year Chapters that are doing a TON for PASS and Chapters that are doing NOTHING for PASS are equally awarded a Summit comp.  Having provided that context, we included this question on the survey: “PASS offers each Chapter [a Chapter comp]. We are reviewing the requirements Chapters must meet to qualify for a registration and want your candid input regarding what those requirements should be. As a dedicated volunteer, what do you think? 

Honestly (and as one might expect) we got a lot of quick answers; perhaps I did not choose the wording well or respondents did not consider the depth of the question.  Some thought we were not doing enough while others thought we needed to be much stricter, the most common response was that the status quo was okay.  (If you are intrigued and would have preferred that I classify, categorize and objectify all the rambling free text responses, just send an email to douglas.mcdowell@sqlpass.org  and I can send you the detailed almost-raw-but-still-anonymous responses.)

The Regional Mentor (RM) program is critical to Chapter success moving forward and this is a focus area for the second half of 2010, so we wanted to know about RM interaction and asked about that:

·         50% of Chapters that responded have been contacted by their Regional Mentor this year

·         51% of Chapters that responded knew the name of their Regional Mentor

We also asked for any recent Chapter news as well as feedback on the new Chapter Leader Only Pages (CLO Pages), internal sub-site on sqlpass.org used to post resources and communicate with Chapter Leaders.  Adoption of the CLO Pages is still cranking up so responses were spotty but overall positive.

Before I wrap up, I want to unscientifically model something for you… just to give you a ballpark feel of the current “reach” of PASS Chapters, their impact on the community.  “Reach” is calculated by multiplying the number of attendees by the number of educational hours.  To use our survey data we can get a ballpark feel for our “reach” by multiplying the average number of attendees by number of meetings in the past 12 months by the number of educational hours. 

I prepped the Q2 survey responses the best I could by making all the ranges discrete for Average Attendance and Meetings in Last 12 Months; and I assumed each meeting delivered one (1) education hour.  That calculation yielded a “reach” of 41,656 educational hours in the last 12 months for the 61% of Chapters that responded; a simple extrapolation to 100% would yield a “reach” of 68,289 educational hours!  Using the topic mix hours reported by each Chapter (I used category averages for Chapters that didn’t provide data) that would break out to:

·         Application Development
10,785 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 17,681 hours)       

·         Business Intelligence
11,090 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 18,180 hours)

·         Database Administration
16,138 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 26,455 hours)

·         Professional Development or other topics 
3,643 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 5,972 hours)

·         Total “Reach” - again 
41,656 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 68,289 hours)

Wow, wasn’t that fun?!

Again, I want to thank all the Chapter Leaders who took the time to respond to the Q2 survey, please be on the lookout for the Q3 survey.  I trust the Q2 survey feedback has been a helpful and interesting look at our Chapters; with each survey we hope to better understand the needs of our Chapters, Chapter Leaders, and members.  Please send me your feedback on these surveys—what items should we be asking about next?

— Douglas

Douglas McDowell
PASS Director of Chapters

Vote For The PASS SQLRally Logo

We received over 100 submissions for our 99designs contest to design the SQLRally logo. The SQLRally planning team, with help from the PASS Board of Directors, have narrowed the list down to 3 finalists. Now it's up to the SQL community to help pick the winner! Check out the 3 logos below, then head on over to the voting page and cast your vote for the best design. Voting is open until Monday, August 9, 3 PM Eastern\12 PM Pacific time. Don't wait, vote today!

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