I wasn’t gonna write about this, but I keep getting emails that say, “ZOMG, you weren’t accepted to speak at the PASS Summit? What’s the deal?”
It’s totally okay – I didn’t submit, and I’m not attending either.
tl;dr – I just wanted to try something different this year for a bunch of totally okay, not-political-at-all reasons.
I want to help as many people as I can.
When I do free community work, my goal is to help as many people as I can at a time. If I spend an hour working on community stuff, how can I help the maximum number of people in that time?
Summit sessions with big-name speakers can attract a few hundred people per room. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a big number, especially when you’re standing onstage, hahaha, but everything’s relative.
On the other hand, I can reach 500-1,000 people in any given live webcast – and I can do that over and over, on my own schedule, with the topics I’m passionate about. That way I can save my in-person events for something different and special, because…
In person, I want to tell longer stories.
When I fly somewhere to be live in front of an audience, in person, I want to spend the whole day with them. I want to start at a basic level and then dive deeper and deeper into a topic. Sounds greedy, right? What speaker wouldn’t want to go on for a whole day at a time?
Well, I’m lucky enough to have hit the point in my career where those options are starting to become a reality. At the upcoming SQL Intersection conference in Vegas, on Wednesday, I get 4 straight sessions in a room, all to myself, to start with internals, statistics, sargability, how to use our free tools to see all that stuff, and then do query tuning based on what we learned. Then on Thursday, I do the same thing for architecture – starting with design, then servers, then hardware specifics.
I’ve done lots of one-day pre-con sessions, and I know those are successful, but I’ve never been able to try this during a conference before. I’m really excited to see how it goes. (Obligatory plug: use discount code OZAR when you register for the conference, and save $50.)
I want to have longer conversations, too.The PASS Summit is unquestionably the Super Bowl of SQL Server – thousands of data professionals in the same space at the same time. It’s often called a family reunion because people go there just to hang out and talk to each other.
But it’s a total madhouse – everybody’s rushing around between sessions, meeting people, then off to loud parties. It’s rare that I get to talk to somebody for ten minutes before they have to run somewhere.
For me, smaller regional events like SQLSaturdays and industry events like Relativity Fest have been better for conversations. I can sit in a SQLSaturday speaker room for hours and have all kinds of great, in-depth conversations that make me think and get me fired up.
I need to learn more than MSSQL.
I’m probably a little weird compared to most Summit attendees – I absolutely love learning about not just the database I’m using today, but the tools people are using to connect to my database, and the other databases they’re connecting to, and the places where my database is stored. I want to learn about Amazon Web Services, Redis, VMware, Tableau, and all kinds of stuff.
Because of that, I like conferences like Ignite and Intersections that have tracks for development, virtualization, cloud, Windows, mobile, and so on.
You should go to Summit.
Everybody should go at least once – it’s an amazing event that changes lives. You can learn so much from so many giving volunteer presenters who love to help.
I’m just skipping this year, and don’t read anything more than that into it.
Ah man!!! This is my first time going to the SUMMIT, and one of my wishes was go attend one of your conferences, so I can meet you in flesh. Well, it seems that this is going to wait till another time!!!
I agree about the “everyone should go……at least once”. That was what my boss said before shipping me off in 2013. If you’re a wildly extroverted DBA or are particularly into the community aspect of PASS, it is, as you say, the Superbowl, but as a venue for study and learning it is less efficient than other more focused training. I got more out of your precon in ’13 (heh, loved your analog “page split” demo), and Paul and Kimberly’s SQLImmersion classes subsequently, than I could glean in those wild, exhausting three days of the Summit. I’ll probably go again someday, because it is good to hear a broader diversity of voices and ideas, as long as it doesn’t turn into PowerBI Excel Power-User Summit by then! 🙂
I was not selected to speak in 2013 when the Summit was on the East Coast. That was the first year I attended the Summit without being a speaker, and it was a nice change to attend it with no obligations attached to it. I also discovered that not speaking at it that year made me all the more passionate to speak the following year. Sort of rediscovered the passion I had those first couple of times I presented there. I think taking a year off from the Summit will be good for you.
Robert – yeah, I’ve heard that from a few people who stopped speaking! It does seem so much more relaxing that way.
For expanding your knowledge you really should consider going to this year’s Bosun’s conference (http://bosun.org). It is very exclusive, if it goes forward so far it would be You, Charlsie, Erika, Miles, Ernie and myself in Florida. The main event would be a hackathon on using Bosun to alert on our BAC as we get c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y wasted.
Kyle – HAHAHA, deal!
You will be really missed in Summit Brent.
Reza – awww, thanks!
Likewise, my first ever Summit, and no Brent! Shame you will not be there, but I’m sure the other couple of thousand pros attending will help soften the blow.
Andy – hahaha, yeah, the Summit will always be a lot of fun.