The Professional Association for SQL Server describes itself this way:
“PASS is an independent, not-for-profit organization run by and for the community.”
Every now and then, PASS runs a popular online event called the 24 Hours of PASS. With a name like that, and a mission statement like PASS’s, you’d assume the speakers would be community members. That was true for years – but this time around, there’s something a little different.
The speakers are Microsoft employees (save one co-presenter).
The topics focus on marketing SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database.
And the 24 Hours of PASS is sponsored by Microsoft.
PASS is supposed to be independent, run by the community, for the community – but this clearly isn’t an independent event. It’s a marketing event.
Part of me says that there’s a lot of community speakers who would also love to talk about their experiences with SQL Server 2014. Most of the presenters I know have put together at least one SQL Server 2014 presentation, and they’d love to be involved with something as popular as #24HOP.
But so what? The other part of me says it’s really awesome that our community is involved with a vendor that’s willing to put a couple of dozen sessions together, online, for free. That’s fantastic! First world problems.
The bottom line: if it’s a community event (and the name “24 Hours of PASS” is about as explicitly community-based as you can get), there should have been a call for community speakers and a mix of both Microsoft and community speakers, just like we do with the PASS Summit.
If it’s a vendor event – if Microsoft wants to hold a marketing/training class – they’re free to call it whatever they want, and just have whatever speakers they want. But that isn’t PASS, and it surely isn’t the 24 Hours of PASS.
What’s done is done, though. Go check out the list of sessions and register now, and one very important caveat – they’re using GoToWebinar this time around. Each session will be capped at 1,000 attendees, so if there’s a session you want to see, you absolutely, positively have to show up early in that webinar. It’s not enough to sign up early – you have to join early. Registration doesn’t mean anything until you join the webinar.