PASS Board Update: May 2015

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I’ve had a busy month on the Board.

You may have seen some tweets going by about our compliance with international laws regarding SPAM. This has been something of an education, so anything I say wrong below, it’s because I’m wrong, but not malevolent (at least in regards to this topic), so please be kind. It appears that the mechanisms we had on our emails for showing where the email came from and how to unsubscribe from it, weren’t completely in compliance… IF… we were sending emails that involved advertising. By we, I mean Chapters, not HQ. Now, that IF, could mean that we could skip out of meeting this requirement when our emails didn’t involve advertisements, but then it’d have to be in compliance when it did and we’d have to adjust our footers depending on the type of email… blah, blah, blah. I decided that we can get in compliance, now. Stay that way. Sure, many, most, of our Chapter emails don’t have to meet these regulations, but, if we set it up so that we do, then we never have to worry. I’ve worked with HQ. We’re in compliance. We’re getting the word out to the Chapters so if they use email other than ours, they too can be in compliance. We’re also making it part of the documentation so that future people will also be in compliance. We have some other work to do in IT to make an adjustment to the unsubscribe process, but that’s going to happen to. In short, this is almost completely fixed. Many thanks to Karen Lopez for all her help through this process. We couldn’t have done it with you.

I’ll bet that’s a lot more sausage making on display than most of you bargained for. This is what being on the Board looks like.

There was also a Board meeting this month. I was traveling so I only got in the last half of the meeting (on the phone in a shared van sitting in traffic at Logan Airport I might add, oh the glamorous life of a Board member). Good information was exchanged, largely setting us up for the in-person Board meeting next month.

Other than that, standard stuff, meeting with the HQ people regularly so that we keep the Chapter side of things running. A few minor decisions to move things forward. Still pushing on the goals and I hope to figure out how to get IT support for what we need to meet a couple of them.

I’ll report back after the in-person meeting next month. Please, please, please, any feedback on me, the Board, PASS, Chapters, my updates and other Board-related blog posts, the whole magilla, I want to hear it.


  • Grant, I like hearing the details, keep sharing. The spam/unsubscribe stuff is important – has someone looked at SQLSaturday in that regard?

    I’d like to hear more than “good information was exchanged”. Nothing there that was worth sharing?

    Goals. You’ve been on the job five months now, nineteen left. Are the goals solid? Are you going to get your goals done at the current pace? I know there is a steep learning curve and I know things move slowly, easy to get bogged down (and you may not be). Something to look at it.

    Keep at it Grant, we’re rooting for you, tough love and all!


  • Thanks Andy. Good questions as always.

    From what I know currently, all of PASS is either in compliance or well on the road to compliance for the emails. That includes SQL Saturday. The one concern I have is that we ensure that communications by people using tools other than ours are also in compliance. The only way to do that is communication with the necessary parties. We’re doing that too.

    I don’t comment on the meetings until the minutes are published because I don’t want to violate confidentiality agreements I’ve signed. I guess I could post comments about the minutes after they come out. Although, again, I’m trying to be cautious about any kind of “They made this decision and I really think it sucks because they’re a bunch of idiots” kind of posts.

    The goals are mostly on track. The bottleneck for them is IT. I’m meeting with them next week to find out what we’re going to be able to get done this year. There’s no reason why, to my current knowledge, we would be unable to do the straight forward goals I’ve set. We’ll find out.

    Never hesitate to berate me publicly or privately. I can take it. Plus, I need the feedback. I want to know that I’m contributing in the way that’s needed.

  • Grant,

    I saw this page and that seems ok. The part that concerns me that we get right is users on a SQLSaturday list that want to not get email. It could be because it’s a dupe (they have 2 email addresses), because they don’t care about THIS event, or they don’t want ANY SQLSAT email at all, ever. We’ve struggled with the latter in Orlando at times.

    Grant, I appreciate that you honor the NDA. I felt the same. The challenge was finding the line because not everything is secret or confidential. I refused to let the org review/approve blog posts posted under my name on my blog, with the understanding that if I got it wrong, it was all on me. There are things that are confidential (salaries for example, but certainly others) and many things – indeed most – that are not. I’ve tried to switch to “translucency” because few orgs should or can be 100% transparent. I feel like the NDA injects a huge fear factor into the communication process and I don’t think that is the intent – just the result.

    I think there ways to disagree without calling anyone an idiot. I expect you to support the decision of the Board even when you disagree (there are exceptions!), but I think it’s ok to talk about what YOU think and why if there is something there that you want feedback on.

    I know it’s not simple. I’ll post some more thoughts on my blog soon, I owe Jen some thoughts on this also.


  • Hey Andy,

    Yeah, I wouldn’t really call anyone an idiot. I was exaggerating as usual. No one is editing this blog except me, and whatever I post or don’t post and, most importantly, how I post it, it’s all on me. At some point I’ll cross the line, but it won’t be with malice. Sometimes I won’t say enough, but again, without malice. Just trying to find that right sized exposure. I’ll work on it.

OK, fine, but what do you think?