Location of the PASS Summit Follow-up

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I got a little distracted after lunch and was reading through some of the various bloggers reactions to the decision to keep the Summit in Seattle for the forseeable future. I enjoyed Brent Ozar’s take on the situation, but the thing that struck me square in the eyes and inspired me to add one more post of my own, was a comment on Brent’s post by Aaron. Scroll down and read it. Here’s the part that really made an impact:

This whole situation is making me less interested in supporting the organization. As a relative newcomer to PASS and having never attended a Summit, I’m turned off by the “come talk to Microsoft employees” stance. I’d rather them say come and talk to (or sing Karaoke with?) cool guys like Brent Ozar and others in the community who deal with real world issues day to day.

The arguments for keeping the Summit in Seattle largely boiled down to cost & access to Microsoft. Cost has been beat about the face & neck by me & others, and I can’t add anything else even marginally intelligent to the conversation, so I’ll shut up on that. Microsoft. Yeah, having access to Microsoft makes the Summit pretty cool (not to mention useful, a couple of my favorite sessions were from Microsoft presenters). PASS stands for the Professional Association of SQL Server users. The summit is produced by PASS in order to meet it’s own goals which are “dedicated to supporting, educating, and promoting the Microsoft SQL Server community.” (Yeah, silly me, I go and read the organization’s web site).

So here’s my comment. Is the community PASS is trying to support, educate and promote better represented by a bunch of Microsoft developers, or, to quote Aaron, “Brent Ozar and others in the community who deal with real world issues day to day?”

And, lest I take an inappropriate beating, I’m neither knocking Microsoft developers, nor saying that they’re not a part of the community. My job and, to a small degree, my life, wouldn’t be the same without those people. I just want to make sure any rocks tossed my way are thrown for the right reasons.


    • scarydba

      Sorry Aaron. I can’t help it if Aaron didn’t leave his last name. Aarons of the world, you guys need to differentiate better.

  • You make a good point, though I’ll paraphrase Bill Pollien of the Colts. “Those GMs that listen to the fans end up sitting with the fans.”

    The BOD needs feedback from people, but ultimately I think they need to make the decisions. As much as I’d like to have them say that it costs us $xx more to have the Summit in Charlotte, who wants it there, it’s more complicated than that. We elect them, and if we’re not happy, toss them out and elect new people. If we can find someone to run.

    For every person that wants to talk to a Brent Ozar (why doesn’t anyone want to talk to me?) there is probably someone that wants, or thinks they want, access to MS developers. Those people have been valuable to me in the past, so don’t necessarily get caught up in the 26 people the post blogs or make comments are the majority. They might be, but not necessarily.

    The Summit has moved to other locations and PASS has survived, I think it can move again, and likely will.

  • scarydba

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve raised my voice, but I’m not going anywhere. I like PASS. I’m not crazy about some of the decisions and I’m sounding off, but I still support them and will continue to. By & large, regardless of where it’s held in the country, I’ll try to get to it. But I know Seattle is a burden for some, and it’s pretty clear, based on the survey, more people would like to see it move around a bit than those who want to see it in Seattle forever.

    Besides that, I love getting the chance to talk to you every year.

  • Here’s the one thing that everyone keeps overlooking: PASS is more than the Summit. PASS is your local user group, your local SQL Saturday, and the members of the international community who help you out via forums, IM, twitter, and email.

    Participating in PASS is more than going to a single Summit in Seattle once a year. I’ve been a developer for 10 years and I’ve rarely had the money and time available to make it to TechEd, OSCON, RubyConf, or any one of a million other conferences that are available to me. Starting a user group was my impetus to finally go to a conference, the PASS Summit, in 2008 so I could find out what the global community was all about.

    All of that being said, I’m glad that people are voicing their opinions about the Board’s decision. Let’s keep this discussion going, in one form or another, so that we can work better to serve the community’s needs and bring you great conferences wherever those may happen.

    Awesome post, Grant, and thank you everyone else for speaking your mind!

OK, fine, but what do you think?