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The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

Confounding Variables from Historical Bias

The following blog post was co-authored by Christine Assaf and William Assaf.

Historical data analysis that is naïve to past discrimination is doomed to parrot bias. How do we combat bias in our data analytics? 

First, we already know that complex, multi-talented teams are best-suited to face complex, multi-faceted problems. A more diverse group of researchers and engineers is more likely to recognize and think harder about bias problems that may impact them personally. “It’s difficult to build technology that serves the world without first building a team that reflects the diversity of the world,” wrote Microsoft President Brad Smith in Tools and Weapons (2019). 

Second, data collection is often provided to us through real-world interactions, subject to real-world bias. No real-world data exists in a vacuum. We should understand that bias in data collection and analysis may be inevitable but is not acceptable. It is not your responsibility to end bias (though that’s a worthy cause), but rather to be proactively informed and transparent.  

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Always On Availability Group – Executive Summary

The ‘Always On Availability Group’ feature is a high-availability and disaster-recovery solution. Since the launch with SQL Server 2012, data professionals have adopted this solution widely. Before implementing ‘Always On Availability Group’, data professionals need to make decisions about availability and failover mode. These decisions will involve discussion with business owners of the applications that will be supported by the databases. While engaging in these discussions, I often get the same questions from business owners who do not have a technical background about the solution.

In this article, I have listed those common questions with answers. I hope this will help in your next Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) discussions with business owners while implementing ‘Always On Availability Group’.

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A Thank You to Our Volunteers

Hello everyone, 

This PASS (blog or news) is one that hits home to me in many ways. Having lived and breathed volunteer work as you have I come before you today not to talk about what is in the pipeline or on the horizon. Nor am I speaking on issues, problems, or things that need to be fixed or addressed.

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Introducing the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Keynote

Every year that I’ve attended the PASS Summit, I’ve gone to the Women In Technology (WIT) Luncheon.  This luncheon provided a voice for women to express the roadblocks and issues that they’ve faced in the workplace and, specifically, within the tech industry.  It provided a way to help men understand issues they might not be aware of, and discuss steps they can take to help and behaviors that need to be changed.  It also provided a community for women to come together and share their stories.

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My Thoughts on the PASS Pro Membership

I’d like to start out by saying thank you to the many community members who took part in focus groups and those of you who completed the membership survey, which contained key direction to support both the value that was built, and the price point for PASS Pro Membership. Comparing prices outside of ourselves to comparable organizations was key, and without our peers in the community who helped shape the end result; well, I can’t say thank you enough.

You may notice that in the months to follow, a price increase will occur in October. The initial introductory price was launched to give experienced PASS members the opportunity to become early adopters of the PASS Pro Membership at a reduced cost. The idea behind that is to take advantage of the new features PASS Pro Membership has to offer and help support the evolution of our organization. The future will hold exciting new features and will be introduced as soon as they are available; including the PASS Educational Series and Training Record.

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Measure Ethical Data Analysis by Outcomes, Not Intent

The following blog post was co-authored by Christine Assaf and William Assaf.

In January 2020, Robert Williams was arrested on his front lawn in a suburb of Detroit, Mich., after police scanned state driver’s license photos and matched his face to grainy surveillance camera footage. He was held for 30 hours in police custody on suspicion of theft of 5 luxury watches, months earlier. He was innocent. In the resulting lawsuit and public scrutiny, the Detroit Chief of Police admitted in a public meeting in June 2020 that their facial recognition software would misidentify suspects 95-97% of the time.

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Excited for the Next Phase of PASS

PASS Pro Membership was announced this week and I’m excited to see the launch of a new revenue stream for PASS.  We have all known for a long time that our organization needed this, but what surprised me throughout this process, was what the research taught us.  It showed us that over 50% of our new members have been in their careers for ten years or less, and are looking for opportunities to connect, share, and learn with other data professionals around the world.

 

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The Importance of Joining the NomCom

Serving on the NomCom

During the month of August, PASS makes a Call for Letters of Interest to serve on the Nominations Committee (NomCom), so we thought it would be a great time to write a blog post about what the NomCom does.  I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the NomCom as a community member in 2015 and as the Board representative in 2019, so hopefully I can share some insight.

Serving on the NomCom is a great way to get understanding about the structure of the Board, the chance to work with current Board members and PASS HQ and the ability to help shape the leadership of PASS.  If you are thinking about serving on the PASS Board, I would highly suggest serving on the NomCom first.

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Announcing PASS Pro Membership

At the start of this year, I shared that the PASS Board would be focusing efforts on diversifying PASS’ revenue.

PASS Summit currently accounts for 94% of PASS’ revenue and in order for our organization to be sustainable and grow in the coming years, we needed to introduce a new revenue stream that could support our 350,000 strong global membership. PASS membership and engagement has been rapidly increasing, and PASS Summit attendance declining. After consulting members and reviewing community surveys, we determined that our best option for sustainable revenue growth was a paid membership offering.

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PASS HQ's Relationship with the PASS Organization

Over the past few weeks, the community has told us you would like a better understanding of the relationship between C&C (PASS HQ) and the PASS organization. In this post, I’ll do my best to give you a better picture of our partnership with C&C, and the value PASS gets from its services as a management company. I understand there are some concerns regarding the use of C&C, which I’ll address, and provide some clarity around C&C’s role within the organization.

We gain an enormous amount – both financially and tactically – from our partnership with C&C. I will admit that, before joining the Board, I had some doubts about PASS’ need for an association management company. I’ve heard the discussions, and I’m glad you’re having them. From outside the organization, it’s hard to imagine the abundance of activities that go on every day with a community of this size. After I got an inside view, I quickly realized that we simply would not be able to run PASS on volunteer support alone. The overwhelming amount of day-to-day administrative activities, community support, finance, website maintenance, troubleshooting, integrations, partner (or sponsor) relations, marketing, event management, data protection, and governance activities are too much for our astounding volunteer force to take on. We rely on the team at PASS HQ to make it happen and keep our organization moving forward year-round with direction from community feedback and Board guidance.

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