Thanks for yet another interesting question.
As well as providing a suggestion that I would say "yes" to and another to say "no" to, I would like to add a third "Really, this isn't happening already?"
Let's start with the "really" Five and Ten Year Plans. Most successful businesses do this, we should too. No one can predict the future, but it’s useful to have a roadmap based on what you want to happen. Revisit every year or every other year.
I find it incredulous that given the reputations of people on the board that this isn't already in place. I am sure that some of this must be happening in order to secure financial stability for the organization.
All of the board wants growth, but to be able to grow we require extra funds to change our infrastructure and invest in tools and services that will allow us to grow at a sustainable rate. To reach that end I shortlisted two suggestions from what is a very good list. These are:
PASS/Community Store. This was something I tried to get done in my first term on the Board and just couldn’t get done (as silly as that sounds). It’s funny that I have far more SQLSaturday branded items and apparel than I do PASS. I like wearing SQL stuff and I’m happy to promote the PASS brand where I can – and I’m willing to pay for some stuff to do it!
and Consider Moving PASS Inc to Delaware. We pay a lot of taxes each year, we should take a look at moving to state with a lower tax burden than Illinois.
The second shortlist suggestion sounds like it could save more money than the first could make in a year, however not being a US citizen I am not aware of the finer details that such a move would involve and so could not give an unequivocal yes. For this reason I would say yes to the first in the shortlist.
Why did I choose this? The community loves SQL apparel and there are many sites out there such as Cafepress that will do the hard work for you. Whilst it is easier to set up the profits will not be so great, you would also run the risk of other copying you and losing potential revenue. For this reason an online store would provide greater returns but would require more initial work in terms of finding suppliers affordable shipping and administration processes. I take on board the logo suggestion which would probably need to be incorporated as part of the project and look forward to PASS branded kilts and onesies at next years summit/
Denise has the following question on the forums about how we would approach saying "no" to a good idea: PASS has a lot of passionate and creative people with many good ideas. Like all organizations we have finite resources, which means we can't do everything we want to do.One of the hardest things about being on the Board is saying "no" to a good idea. How would you approach that aspect of the job?
With that in mind I have picked the following suggestion, so let's see how this goes... SQLSaturday in Every State/Country. Tell me why we aren’t having at least one event in every US state? What about every country? PASS Board, you want to see a vision for growth, here it is.
Thank you for your idea Andy, however at the time we do not have the infrastructure or the finances in place in order to be able to undertake a task of the magnitude to which you are suggesting at this moment in time.
In order to clarify why this is not possible we need to look at the constantly changing landscape of world affairs. A quick internet search provides a number of different answers to the number of countries that exist ranging from 189 to 196 (The US State Department recognizes 194 according to http://www.worldatlas.com/nations.htm).
This is a large number of events that would require more administrative staff with specific language and cultural skills than we presently have. It could also place a great financial burden on not only PASS but our sponsors which may detract from existing planned events on the calendar.
As a long term goal the vision is noteworthy, but I think we need to make this a staged approach. If you would permit me here is how I think we can turn the suggestion into a more reasonable and sustainable growth plan:
1. Make a prioritized list of languages that we feel would increase membership.
2. Create a new virtual chapter for each of the top 5 languages.
3. Report on engagement numbers and see if there are any volunteers in those regions that would be willing to either help lead or provide translation skills for organizing physical events.
4. Plan to hold 1 - 2 SQL Rally size events per year in each continent outside of the US where we have language support within the next n (possibly 3) years.
5. Revisit and reassess step 1 based upon outcome of growth and engagement of step 4 every year.
I hope that you understand the rationale behind the decision and would love to hear further input from you on this matter.
Thank you for your continued support of the community.