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Help make the next Summit even better

[cross-posted from Bill Graziano's blog at]

After the Summit we send out a survey to capture feedback.  We ask a consistent set of questions so we get good year over year results.  I’ve watched blog posts and email threads with ideas for a better Summit.  I got to sit with Denny and crew again on Saturday night and talk about what worked and what didn’t.  We’d like to capture those ideas in a way that you can vote on what’s important to you. 

Please take a second and visit  You can make suggestions, vote on the ideas already posted and add your own comments.  Help PASS make next year’s Summit “The Best Summit Ever!”


Upcoming Changes to 24 Hours of PASS

[cross-posted from Thomas LaRock's blog at]

Last week I told you that I would let you in on what changes we have in mind for the 24 Hours of PASS event. Well, today is your lucky day!

At the PASS 2010 Summit I was asked by our President, Rushabh Mehta, to focus on the 24 HoP event for the first part of 2011. This event has become so popular that it is now a dedicated portfolio for a PASS Director at large (namely, me!) Rushabh and I sat down to talk about where the event is heading and we both agreed on where it needs to go.

Last year I realized we needed to make changes but was not able to get them implemented in time. Before our next event I want to make certain we get a few things rolling. First, lets talk about the four areas that needs to be re-thought:

  • Platform – do we stay with LiveMeeting, or go with a different platform for the event? A new platform means we would have to incur some costs.
  • Format – do we go back to one day and 24 hours, or stay with the 2×12 format?
  • Speaker selection – this needs to be done as a community choice, no question, and I have some ideas.
  • Sponsors/ads – in addition to selling some title sponsors we need to think about selling slots to vendors (“this hour sponsored by Confio” sounds nice)

Rushabh and I also agreed that the event itself needs to be driven by the Community and less than from a BoD member. To that end I am putting together a committee of three trusted people to help ensure we can transition the 24 HoP into the hands of the Community. My selections for the committee were based upon their proximity to myself last week, combined with their current country of origin. So, for Europe I asked Charlie Hanania, for North America I asked Jorge Segarra, and for Australia I asked Rob Farley. All three have agreed to serve. It is my hope that once we get through the four items listed above we will be in good shape to announce the theme for the next 24 HoP event.

Just to be clear, the committee will be leading the event. My role will be to help steer them through the next year and two events and for future BoD members to provide oversight only. It is very important to me that this event be placed into the hands of some respected Community members, as that will ensure it continues to be a successful vehicle for spreading the good word of PASS in the future.



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SQLSaturday Round-Up (Nov. 18-Nov. 24)

(This is Round 3 of PASS's weekly round-up of SQLSaturday recaps, back after its Summit hiatus. PASS community bloggers love their SQLSaturdays, and they love to tell everyone about their experiences, so who are we not to share that love?)

PASS SQLSaturdays covered this week include SQLSaturday #59, held in New York City... and that's it! Guess the Summit might've gotten in the way a bit.


+ Robert Pearl helped organize SQLSaturday #59 in NYC

+ Roman Rehak presented at SQLSaturday #59 in NYC

+ Aaron Stanley King presented at SQLSaturday #59 in NYC

+ Matt Velic attended and kept a LIVE BLOG of SQLSaturday #59 in NYC


There will be one more SQLSaturday to round off 2010: Washington DC sees off a fantastic year for the franchise on Dec. 4 with SQLSaturday #61.


PASS Director and SQLSaturday co-founder Andy Warren blogs about taking risks, one of which was SQLSaturday itself. Check it out.

Want to attend a SQLSaturday? Check out the SQLSaturday website or "Upcoming In-Person Events" on the PASS Home page for upcoming dates near you.

Want to put on your own SQLSaturday? Click here to get started.


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Future Location of PASS Summit - 2013

The 2010 PASS Community Summit was recently held in Seattle and was a great success.  Thanks to all of you who were able to make it there.  Earlier this year, there was much discussion / debate on where the summit should be held in the future. We announced earlier this year that the location for the summit would remain in Seattle for 2011/2012.  There were many reasons for this decision such as availability of dates and the deals being offered with a multi-year contract in the time of negotiations during an economic slowdown. Many venues are booked years in advance – especially ones that can accommodate large groups of people such as the PASS Community Summit (and we're growing).  We are in the early stages of a location search for 2013. 

When searching for venue, we keep the following things in mind (not necessarily in any particular order):

  • Ease of getting to location – This usually means that the city is a hub for at least one airline and that the number of flights in/out are substantial to provide many transportation choices.  Also, since a large majority of our exhibitors are located in the USA, we try to stay within the USA.  One of the main reasons is that customs and shipping (even to Canada) booths / exhibit supplies / etc. is a big expense/hassle that it could affect the support we get from the exhibitors and sponsors.  Some attendees (especially from Governmental organizations) also have difficulty getting clearance for attending a conference outside the US Borders.
  • Minimize need for bus transit of attendees – Bus transportation of attendees to/from locations to conference activities and events can be very expensive and inconvenient.
  • Room Block – We need to reserve rooms at an attractive price.  Often this leaves destinations such as New York City and Washington, DC off the list due to the very high hotel rates.
  • Competitive Pricing for Meeting Space – Meeting Space rental rates can differ wildly and can really make a difference on how much funds are put back into the community.  I remember some research from a couple of years ago on space in Charlotte, NC and Boston, MA that were similar in size / location / etc.  The Boston space was more than twice than what was available in Charlotte.
  • Avoiding Holidays – Every effort is made to schedule events to avoid popular religious and American holidays.  This further limits availability.
  • Appeal of Location for Marketing – This means attempting to avoid the label “Boondoggle” when selecting a location while still maintaining an attractive location.
  • Social Networking – We know one of the reasons that the summit is successful is the ability to network in a comfortable environment often where a discussion can be had over a dinner or a drink.
  • Avoiding potential weather concerns – in 2004, the active hurricane season caused cancellation of the Monday pre-cons when we were in Orlando during hurricane season.  In 2005, another hurricane started to threaten our location in Dallas.  Since our event is usually in the fall, much of the SE USA is often not considered when the hurricane season peaks in mid-September.

There are other factors as well, but these listed above are the ones that I think of most when considering a location for the summit.  Remember that when things are more expensive or there are factors that really could impact attendance (room rates, int’l travel, etc.), this leaves less room in the budget for things like mailings to chapters and other community needs/projects.
Back in early 2001, I was looking for a conference where I could learn more about SQL Server.  I only had a budget of $1000 from my employer which meant that part of the cost of the conference and the T&E were my responsibility.  I settled on PASS in Orlando because I was familiar with the destination and cheap hotels.  I also decided to volunteer for PASS before I really knew anything about PASS.  My motivation was to become friends with someone who would be staying at the conference hotel so that I could possibly leave my laptop bag in their room.  I know this was selfish, but it is the truth.  I believe the other conferences related to SQL were in Vegas and somewhere in California that year. In other words, location played a big part of my decision to choose PASS that year.

When I first joined PASS, I asked why not Las Vegas?  We actually had a very attractive offer from one of the strip hotels.  It seemed to meet most of the items on that list.  Well, OK – some bosses (and even the President of the USA) think that a trip to Vegas is a boondoggle.  That is part of it, but actually the most compelling reason that we chose to not go to this particular property was the layout of the space.  In order to get from the breakout rooms to the expo hall, attendees would need to pass all those flashing lights in the smoky casino plus a topless pool.  We decided on one of the other locations (Dallas or Denver if memory serves me).  I wanted to move the summit to a new venue each year.
As the years have gone by, I can see the tremendous value of having the summit in Seattle.  More MSFT support is one of the reasons.  Other factors include familiarity with venue, familiar lodging options, and of course the rainy weather often found in the fall.  :-)  However, I believe that the summit will not be in Seattle in 2013. This is both good and bad news.  A gentleman at the Board Meet and Greet weighed in with a personal observation during a discussion of Summit location.  He was from Ft Myers, FL. He took vacation from his job and paid his own expenses.  To him, it cost him an additonal price of a plane ticket and more travel time to get to Seattle, but the investment in his own career was enhanced by being able to meet with and interact with so many MSFT people. I hope that he will continue to come to the summit and hopefully pick up a slew of new folks.
We have already done some background work for finding a location in 2013.  As we continue to progress on the search, we will keep the community informed as much as possible.  There are times that we can't share as much as we would like to due to negotiations with various venues, but those times will hopefully be short-lived.  If you have some additonal constructive input, please leave a comment below.  Thanks for being active with PASS!

- Rick Heiges
VP - Marketing, PASS


Transparency - Individual board votes will be disclosed

Yesterday evening at the Board Meet and Greet on day 3 of our PASS Summit 2010, we received overwhelming feedback from the community that individual votes should be made public. This is a topic that has been under active discussion for a few months and was also part of our board agenda for today. The board voted unanimously to make individual votes public except for topics which are considered NDA by the Board.  We will post more details on the same.

Thanks everyone who spent the time to provide valuable feedback.

PASS President

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Twice the fun in 2011! Register early to save on PASS SQLRally and Summit

PASS is offering not one but TWO great conferences in 2011! 

PASS SQLRally (press release) will be held in Orlando, Florida, May 11-13, and will feature two full days of sessions as well as a pre-conference day. PASS Summit will run from Oct. 10-14 and will again happen in Seattle, offering attendees 5 days of unmatched SQL Server content as well as premium direct on-site access to Microsoft developers and staff.

There is no better way to Connect with, Share with, and Learn from your fellow SQL Server professionals - PASS Summit is the premium SQL Server conference in the world, and SQLRally will extend that excellence to the East Coast of the US on a smaller scale. Booking early guarantees substantial savings (compare Summit 2011 prices below to the full registration prices for Summit 2010), so get this in the budget ASAP and join us in-person in 2011. We're excited to see all of you! 

  • PASS Summit 2011, Oct. 10-14, Seattle$1295 for the full bundle, including 3 days plus 2 Pre-Cons until Dec. 15; $995 (for 3 days) until Jan. 15 -
  • PASS SQLRally 2011, May 11-13, Orlando - $449 for the full bundle, including 2 days plus the Pre-Con until Dec. 31; $299 (for 2 days) until Apr.12 -

To see what's happening at Summit 2010, check out the Summit Live site or follow #sqlpass on Twitter.


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List of in depth PASS sessions on SQL Server Code-Named “Denali”

PASS Attendees: now you’ve heard about the new features coming in SQL Server Code-Named “Denali” (featured in Ted Kummert’s keynote), don’t miss the sessions that explore Denali in depth:


Session Number
Session Name
Ad Hoc Reporting Revisited
SQL Server Denali High Availability
What’s coming next in SSIS
A Dramatic new Data Warehouse Query Performance Enhancement
New developments in corporate BI
What’s New Ahead for Beyond Relational
Future SQL Server Upgrade Planning Tools
What’s new in T-SQL in the Next Release of SQL Server


Please check your guide for locations and times.



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“SQLPASS It On” Social Media Contests @ PASS Summit 2010

Share your great PASS experiences with people who aren’t able to be at the event and connect and communicate with the community onsite. Get involved by participating in the social contests and activities happening during PASS Summit 2010!


Tips on getting started:

·         Download a Twitter app and signup via your smartphone

·         Download a Foursquare app and signup via for your smartphone

·         Follow our Twitter account @MS_SQL_Server

·         Friend us on FourSquare username: SQL Server Team

·         Follow Donald Farmer (@donalddotfarmer)

·         Include the #sqlpass hashtag on all tweets from the event


Contests and activities:

 •       FourSquare “Check-In” Contest*

      Check in at the following destinations each day:

       Monday 11/8 and/or Tuesday, 11/9

       PASS Registration Desk

       Microsoft Keynote @ Exhibition Hall 6ABC (YouSpot)

       PASS Booth (next to registration)(YouSpot)

       SQL Server Clinic (YouSpot)

       Wednesday, 11/10

       Microsoft Keynote (YouSpot)

       Ask The Experts (YouSpot)

       SQL Server Clinic (YouSpot)

       SQL Server Party at Gameworks (YouSpot)

      Prizes will be handed out each day at the following locations:

       Tuesday, 11/9 at the Microsoft Booth information desk from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

       Wednesday, 11/10 at the SQL Server Party at GameWorks from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

      Continue to follow us on Twitter for contest updates @MS_SQL_Server



      Check out the FourSquare locations marked “YouSpot” to share your thoughts on this year’s PASS Summit! Your recorded feedback will be posted on SQL PASS TV YouTube Channel. Throughout the day, we will post YouSpot videos of various SQL Server community members on the YouTube channel.


          “Wheel of SQL” Contest

      Meet and build relationship with people who built SQL Server, ask them questions and give them feedback

      Look for the cards in your registration bag, get the needed signatures to spin the wheel in the Ask The Experts area and get an instant prize (you could even win a Kinect)!


          “Following Farmer” TwitPic Activity

      Donald Farmer will be stopping at multiple FourSquare locations throughout Tuesday and Wednesday of the PASS Summit 2010 event.

      Tweet @donalddotfarmer when you see him at one of the official FourSquare locations and snap a TwitPic of him for an additional prize if you are doing the FourSquare Contest.


*Offer good only at PASS Summit 2010 in Seattle, WA to attendees of the PASS conference. Offer good only to the first 100 to respond. Limit one gift per person. This offer is non-transferable and cannot be combined with any other offer.  This offer ends on November 11, 2010 while supplies last, and is not redeemable for cash


SQLSaturday Round-Up (Oct. 27-Nov. 3)

(This is Round 2 of PASS's weekly round-up of SQLSaturday recaps. PASS community bloggers love their SQLSaturdays, and they love to tell everyone about their experiences, so who are we not to share that love?)

PASS SQLSaturdays covered this week include SQLSaturday #54, held in Salt Lake City, SQLSaturday #56, a BI-focused event held in Dallas, and SQLSaturday #58, held in Prior Lake, Minnesota... on a Friday.


+ Pat Wright helped organize SQLSaturday #54 in Salt Lake City

+ Ryan Adams helped organize SQLSaturday #56 in Dallas

+ David Stein also helped organize SQLSaturday #56 in Dallas

+ John Sterrett presented at SQLSaturday #56 in Dallas

+ Jason Strate helped organize SQLSaturday #58 in Minnesota

+ Dan English also helped organize SQLSaturday #58 in Minnesota


There will be two more SQLSaturdays to round off the year after PASS Summit ends. New York City hosts SQLSaturday #59 on Nov. 20, and the nation's capital sees off a fantastic year for the franchise on Dec. 4 with SQLSaturday #61.


For those going to PASS Summit (Nov. 8-12), SQLSaturday is coming along! Tuesday (Nov. 9) has officially been dubbed "Wear Your SQLSaturday Shirt Day", so if you have shirts, bring them with you. This follows PASS Director and SQLSaturday co-founder Andy Warren's scheduled SQLSaturday Round Table on Monday (Nov. 8); here's his newest post with an updated itinerary. Monday, Tuesday, Friday... looks like every day's a SQLSaturday!


Want to attend a SQLSaturday? Check out the SQLSaturday website or "Upcoming In-Person Events" on the PASS Home page for upcoming dates near you.

Want to put on your own SQLSaturday? Click here to get started.



PASS Summit Community Choice Session Change

Cross posted from My blog

Thought Id take a few minutes to alert Yall about a change in the Community Choice sessions  in the PASS Summit lineup

Unfortunately, 1 of the community choice speakers had to bow out of presenting.

Joe Kuemerle couldnt make the sumit this year so, we had to swap his encryption session with the second place session in the App Dev category.  Luckily for us, the decision was easier because appdev race was the closest in the voting with only 2 votes seperating first and second place.  The replacement session,  Flush With Cache: What Really Happens Before That Query Runs by Chris Leonard, should prove to be very popular and is currently scheduled on Thursday from 4-5:15 in room 613-614.  Because of this session replacement there was a cascade of 3 additional schedule moves that had to occur because Chris was already scheduled to present another session in the existing time slot.  You can see the complete current schedule in xls here

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Summit next week!!

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