I have to admit that the 2011 PASS Summit was such an amazing experience and there was so much to say that I honestly didn’t know where to start. It’s been three days since returning from this year’s PASS Global Summit in Seattle and I’m just now getting my thoughts collected. Every event and every session I attended was absolutely amazing. I met many positive and enthused people who are thrilled to be associated with the SQL Server community.
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It amazes me… How can there be so much genuine comradery and sense of community associated with a product? Well, there isn’t, really. It’s not the product or even the company (Microsoft or any other organization) that gets me charged up about events like PASS, SQL Saturday and so many of these gatherings. Sure, we all make a living by doing something with SQL Server – a product that many of us thoroughly enjoy working with in some capacity and this gives us something in common. This is a community made up of people who have a deep sense of trust and respect for each other – so much that they are willing to devote their time and energy, and go well beyond just the the business of SQL Server. I think this is hard to convey to someone who hasn’t yet experienced it. It’s a sense of belonging to a community that freely gives back when you make a commitment and give without any expectation.
This year I tried to give it my all and I got involved as much as I could. Thank you to those who attended my two sessions. I had a wonderful time presenting "Visual Report Design: Brining Sexy Back" and "Report Design for SSAS Cubes and MDX". You’ll find my content here on the Presentations page. I contributed a chapter to the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives, Volume 2; which was released and available at the conference. This is one of the most comprehensive books ever written for SQL Server. My contribution, by comparison, was very small but I am honored to be counted among the authors. It was truly humbling to be signing books with some of the most respected members of the SQL Server MVP community. Thanks again to Kalen Delaney, Paul Randall, Kimberly Tripp, Greg Low, Louis Davidson, Paul Nielson and many others for making this happen and inviting me to participate. I hosted a table at the "Birds of a Feather" lunch on Self-Service BI and had a great conversation with many community members about their efforts and challenges. I also had the opportunity to speak to attendees and answer questions at the BI Expert Pod and SQL Clinic hosted by the Microsoft SQL Server Customer Advisory Team (SQLCAT). We also had several lunch and evening events where I enjoyed the company of past and present clients, working associates and fellow community members.
My efforts to blog and tweet from the Bloggers’ Table during the morning keynotes for three days were feeble but I learned some lessons. With 3,500 people simultaneously accessing the conference wi-fi network, there just wasn’t enough bandwidth. The seasoned bloggers all had air cards in their computers… and now I know what to do next year. I did manage to get a few tweets out on my phone.
The three-day PASS Summit began on Wednesday, October 12th which followed the Oregon SQL Saturday full-day event and then a two-day SQL Server Insiders event in Redmond where MVPs and other invited partners sat with product team leaders to learn about product development in progress. Needless to say, my brain was full before the end of the week.
In closing, I’ll say that the PASS leaders – who are all volunteers by the way – do an amazing job. I had a chance to speak at length with Rashabh Mehta, current PASS President and Rick Heiges, PASS VP of Marketing about their experiences. These people – along with the directors and many volunteers – give thousands of hours of their time without compensation. Thank you for helping make this community so great!