Register for PASS Summit 2020

Speaker Idol

If you have always wanted to speak at PASS Summit but haven’t been
selected, now is your chance!

Speaker Idol gives 12 community members the opportunity to present a lightning talk with immediate feedback from a panel of judges and compete for a guaranteed speaking spot at PASS Summit 2020. This experience allows you to get in front of the community and make yourself known. In fact, several previous contestants have gone on to speak at PASS Summit, even without winning the competition.

Contestants will compete in groups of four, over three different rounds. One winner will be selected from each round to compete in the Final Round, along with one contestant selected as a wild card.

Speaker Idol was founded by Denny Cherry, who unfortunately cannot attend PASS Summit this year. In his desire to see this competition continue, he supports PASS in facilitating the competition, along with organizer and host, Hamish Watson.

Speaker Idol 2019 Judges

Rie Irish

Kathi Kellenberger

Kendra Little

Ben Weissman

Melody Zacharias


Speaker Idol Contestants

Round 1 – Wednesday, November 6 (4:45 – 6:00 pm)

William Assaf
Dave Bland
Eric Freeman

Round 2 – Thursday, November 7 (4:45 – 6:00 pm)

Leslie Andrews
Adrian Mee
Jim Miller
Hylke Peek          

Round 3 – Friday, November 8 (8:00 – 9:15 am)

Daniel Janik
Deborah Melkin
Slava Murygin
Lonny Niederstadt

You must have spoken at one of the following events (or a large international event, in a format other than a lighting talk, where your session had at least 30 minutes of content delivered by you):

  • SQLSaturday
  • SQL Bits
  • SQL Server Days
  • Microsoft Ignite
  • Dev Connections
  • Another large event with a national or international reach

You have not spoken at the PASS Summit or PASS Business Conference for a breakout, spotlight or Pre-Conference Session (if you presented only a lightning talk and no other session, you are still eligible).

You are not scheduled to speak at PASS Summit 2019.

You will be in Seattle during PASS Summit. Attending the conference isn’t required; if you are not attending PASS Summit, you are still eligible to submit. All selected contestants who are not registered to attend PASS Summit must agree to the PASS Summit Anti-Harassment Policy.

You are available to attend whichever Speaker Idol session(s) you are assigned to, including the final session on Friday afternoon. Please see the tentative session dates & times below*

  • Round 1: 4:45 pm on Wednesday, November 6
  • Round 2: 4:45 pm on Thursday, November 7
  • Round 3: 8:00 am on Friday, November 8
  • Round 4: 2:00 pm on Friday, November 8

*Subject to change.

You will prepare a 5-minute technical presentation (time management is your responsibility).

You register before September 12, 2019 at 23: 59:59 pm (UTC). Late applications will not be considered.

You are not a member of the PASS Board of Directors or PASS HQ.

You are not employed by a sponsor of Speaker Idol.

If you competed in a prior Speaker Idol and didn’t win, you are welcome and encouraged to submit again.

If a selected contestant drops out of the contest before PASS Summit, the organizer will reach out to the next person on the list that wasn’t accepted and offer them a position in the contest. Contestants will be offered spots in the competition until someone accepts. The organizer will not announce how many people (if any) declined a spot in the competition.

If a contestant drops out of the contest any time after November 4, 2019, no additional contestants will be added to the lineup.

If a contestant wins their round and cannot continue to the finals for any reason, the runner-up from their round will be declared the winner of that round and moved to the final round.

The wild card winner will be selected by the judges at the end of Round 3 from the runners-up from each round. If a winner is not able to compete in the finals, and the runner-up is already speaking in the finals, the judges may consider all contestants from that round as eligible for the wildcard slot.

If a judge is not able to complete the competition, they will not be replaced.

Judges are expected to be fair and do not have to recuse themselves because a friend is in the competition.

You are responsible for your own accommodation and travel to PASS Summit, in order to participate in this competition.

You may present your session in any format you feel will demonstrate to the judges how your presentation skills will translate from a five-minute lightning talk session to a 75-minute session (the length of most PASS Summit sessions). 

Contestants can watch the other sessions during Speaker Idol and make changes to their presentations as they see fit.

What’s Next?

Submissions will be reviewed, and 12 contestants will be selected by September 23, 2019. Selected contestants will be notified via direct email and will have a few days to accept the invitation to compete. Once 12 contestants have accepted their invitation, the organizer will host a call to discuss additional details and answer any questions.

Stay tuned for the announcement of contestants.

Best of luck and we look forward to another exciting year of Speaker Idol at PASS Summit 2019!

Are You Ready?

Pre-Register for 2020