An Open Letter to SQLSaturday Organizers

Over the past few months, we’ve received lots of questions and concerns regarding the future of SQLSaturday, and following today’s PASS FY 19 Priorities blog post, I wanted to personally address these concerns and hopefully put them to rest.

I can’t stress enough, PASS loves SQLSaturday. These events are an essential part of our organization and they are not going away.

SQLSaturday is wildly successful and we are amazed to see how these events have grown over the years – growth driven by the community. To support this growth, PASS has made considerable investments – both time and money – into site infrastructure and usability for SQLSaturday organizers. While not perfect, it is now easier than ever to schedule and manage events through the SQLSaturday site.

I’ve seen the stats and the number of requests coming into the PASS HQ IT team, and believe me, they’re getting things done – over 3,000 tickets processed; 98% SLA resolution; of the 4 promised priorities from the PASS Summit SQLSaturday meeting, all are or will be completed by next month; average of 7 hours helpdesk ticket response time.

However, now it’s time for us to let SQLSaturday get back to its “by the community, for the community” grassroots. We know that there’s always room to improve, but there’s no question in my mind that the SQLSaturday site is better than it’s ever been. In a nutshell, it’s time to send SQLSaturday off to college as we play catch with our other kids.

By investing in educational content across the organization, we are engaging members that have little knowledge of PASS and helping them to recognize the value that PASS has to offer. This decision is not about deprioritizing initiatives, it’s about doing what’s best for our membership as a whole – generating much needed revenue that we can invest right back into our community.

While we are broadening our scope as an organization over the next 16 months, PASS will continue to support SQLSaturday by completing all in-flight initiatives: bringing back volunteer opt-in on registration forms, separating lunch status and lunch preference, introducing new e-mail groups in the message center, allowing speakers to view their own evaluations, and chasing necessary bug fixes as they occur. We have also announced our new PASS Summit 2018 SQLSaturday Referral Program, which will give organizers new opportunities to generate revenue for their events by offering exclusive access to PASS Summit content for first-time attendees.

Overall, you will notice minimal changes as a SQLSaturday organizer, aside from the absence of additional website functionality and investments beyond those already committed. In response to community feedback, we will also be providing an opt-in mechanism for the $250 funding that PASS provides to help offset the cost of newer events. Larger more established events do not require this funding.

To address those asking questions regarding open sourcing SQLSaturday, we cannot invest any additional resources into creating the perfect playground at this time. Every small change comes at a cost and for us to have a sustainable future as an organization, we need to be dedicated to bringing money back into PASS.

We love what SQLSaturday adds to PASS and we know that it’s in a great place with room to grow. As always, we encourage organizers and community members alike to share their knowledge and help each other overcome obstacles. After all, that’s what PASS is all about.

If you have any additional questions on any of the topics I’ve covered above, please bring these to my live SQLSaturday Q&A on March 14th (x2 to accommodate scheduling):