PASS Summit 2008 Update: T – 3 days (Behind the scenes)

Preparations for the 2008 Summit are in full swing. It was amazing to also see the change in Seattle weather from being dull, rainy and cold to being sunny and absolutely delightful. It felt like a Seattle summer day! Last night for dinner, I got a chance to meet with Kate, Blythe, Nic and Craig from the PASS team that came in early to oversee on-site preparations. We went out for dinner at one of my favorite downtown Seattle joints – Wild Ginger at the corner of 3rd Ave and Union St. The food was absolutely delightful and it was great to meet some of the team members face-to-face for the first time after having communicated over email, phone and IM for the longest time. Here are some of us (minus our gracious photographer Craig) after dinner heading back to the hotel…

 

This morning, the team had an early start at the convention center getting prepared for the bag-stuffing ritual. Marcella and Sanjeet from HQ also arrived today. When I walked in this afternoon, it was quite a sight to see over 15 people stuffing the registration bags at full speed. They got done in record time! The room that will serve as head quarters for the PASS team (Room 211) was also completely set up and operational. All the speaker gifts were being organized to give to the speakers during speaker orientation on Tuesday. Marcella also walked me through the session evaluation process which is now a combination of online and offline in response to attendee requests last year. I also hear that the team also has a new cheer routine for the PASS Summit. If you are on-site, ask them about it at the PASS booth! :)

I also had a chance to meet with David Yang from PASS IT who got in to the convention center at around 3pm. We spoke briefly about the Attendee site for the summit that he was going to be working on this evening. He also showed me his new HTC Touch Diamond smart phone that he got just last week. I have been long considering getting its slide-out keyboard counterpart – the HTC Touch Pro. Talking about cool devices, the Sheraton has Microsoft Surface stations in the lobby. If you are staying at the Sheraton, check out the Surface stations. Speaking of the Surface, David showed me this very cool project by Johnny Chung Lee from Carnegie Melon University showing how to use a Wiimote to turn any surface into an interactive display.

In the evening, I met with Fernando Guerrero, Itzik Ben-Gan, Lubor Kollar and his wife, Andrew Kelly and Ron Talmage. It had been a while since we met face-to-face and it was great to catch up. On our walk back to the hotel, Itzik was trying to come up with an algorithm to remember my hotel room number! Unfortunately, as I realized later, I had given him an incorrect room number to remember! :)

Anyway check out a picture from the dinner. Seen in the picture here are Fernando, Ron and me.

Tomorrow I am having breakfast with Christoph Stotz one of the PASS board members from Germany who got into town this evening. Meanwhile at the convention center, the signs, the banners and the registration booths will be going up and the pre-conference rooms will start getting set up for Monday. The registration staff will be given their final training and pep talk right before registration opens at 4pm. Everyone is super excited about the new signage and the theme and how the south lobby is going to look tomorrow once the signs are up. I am sure that I will post a lot of pictures online. Also, tomorrow, ballots go out for the board election and we will also be posting additional information about the candidates on the site.

Stay tuned for more updates from the 2008 PASS Summit.