Wake up bright and early on the first day of the Summit, well ok it wasn’t super bright and early but early enough to try to make breakfast and still catch keynote. My wonderful roommate, Julie Smith (blog|twitter),and I head over to try to grab a quick bite to eat before the keynote starts. We had about 10 minutes but they shut down breakfast and the doors were locked…or so we thought. We hadn’t gotten the lay of the land yet and assumed food was in the same place as last year, it wasn’t. Doh moment #1. Very much bummed about missing a meal we head to the keynote. There were a few technical nuggets such as the next step in the road with in-memory solution Hekaton and the SQL 2012 sp1 update release. The bright spot speaker wise was Amir Netz. He did a good job again this year with entertaining demos and upbeat, enjoyable style. Later there was the mention of “having a BI moment” which a Twitter did catch and run with as it very well should have.
The crowd ready for the keynote
After the keynote I was anxious to wander around and get my bearings on where things were laid out so I roamed for the first session slot. Found the vendor area and the hub for the rest of the week, the Community Zone. I then helped pass out maps for the chapter lunch which was entertaining. Folks must have thought I was trying to sell them something as I had trouble with people taking free maps. I only had to strong arm a few folks and after that went in to help represent my IndyPASS chapter. I had some really great conversation with folks from my local area. Many at the table were Indy locals who don’t come to meetings so was a good chance to run new ideas to pull new members by a perfect target audience. Thank you guys for your feedback at my table that day! I also got a chance to encourage some of them there to start speaking technically after he mentioned a really exciting project one of them was doing implementing AlwaysOn.
Then I head over to catch a Lightning Talk session. This one was done by Brent Ozar (blog|twitter), Amy Lewis (twitter), Mark Broadbent (blog|twitter), Rob Volk (blog|twitter), Robert Davis (blog|twitter). Was a good thing I got there when I did…it was PACKED! Dear PASS folks in charge of room selection, please put Lightning talks in a larger room next year. I always try to go to those as they just aren’t the same on the DVD and better to see live. Can’t see Brent Ozar dressed up like Bob Dylan on the DVD for sure. I wonder how many folks are going to be super confused when watching that one on DVD now that I think about it? “Who is this quasi southern accent raspy voice dude? Where is Brent O?” Everyone did a good job in that session. Mark Broadbent had some technical difficulties with the projectors but he handled it well and it kind of added to the fun of it.
Brent Ozar as Bob Dylan for Lightning Talk
From there I went to the Steve Jones (blog|twitter) and Andy Warren (blog|twitter) session on “The Mentoring Experiment”. I love the mentoring aspect of my job so was intrigued by the topic. Very interesting session on their experiences with the mentoring matchup program they started for SQL professionals. A lot of tough hurdles in the process, such as match up process being handled manually by matching or random. I gave my opinion that I don’t feel it really matters in that the match ups could be totally random. I think mentoring is kind of like the friendship process in general. I have varying degrees of friends and that process is a matter of chemistry that I don’t know could be formulated or worked out without interaction with the mentor/mentee. I think if 2 people are paired up in a situation where folks want to be a part of the process, they will themselves make it as much a success as the relationship/chemistry will allow. I always feel that there is something to learn from everyone and their experiences so no matter what good will come of the match. Great job Andy/Steve! That is really a great thing you guys are doing.
Steve and Andy discussing “The Mentoring Experiment”
Last session of the day I catch Jen Stirrup’s (blog|twitter) session on Mobile Business Intelligence Now. I had never seen a session from Jen in person so was very excited to catch her. I know she probably gets tired of folks talking about her accent but I just can’t help it. SQL Server Reporting Services just never sounded so lovely as it does from her! Very interesting information on how the eyes perceive information and using that to make your reports more clean/impactful. Also had a lot of information on considerations for mobile screens. Very good job Jen!
The just lovely Jen Stirrup
From there head for a bit to the Exhibitor reception for just a little bit. Ran into a lot of folks and chatted up anyone who didn’t run fast enough. They only had appetizers there so was necessary to move on to go get more sustenance. Went over with Julie and Rob and joined in with Mark Broadbent’s group for dinner at the Tap House. After carbo-loading on some crab mac n cheese we head over to Pragmatic Works karaoke party for a bit. It was too crowded for my taste so I bailed to find a different scene. Later I find out there was a roof top area that would have been more up my alley but didn’t hear about it until after already gone. Found my way over to Pike Brewery and caught up with folks at the SQL Sentry party which was fantastic and continued to meet wonderful SQL people. Peer pressure was high to continue on after that but I held strong out of exhaustion and called it a night after that.
There’s no way I can fit the whole Summit experience into one blog post so going to break into a few posts. Here’s my recap of my first couple of days heading out to the loveliness that is the PASS Summit 2012.
PASS Summit Day 1
I flew out on Monday afternoon. Flights were on time. I had a stop on the same airplane in Kansas City. I was off in la la land when I hear my name. I look up and it’s Kevin Kline (blog|twitter)! Was very excited to have my first SQL person sighting! So head to the train with Mr. Kline and chat his ear off on the the whole way until they kick us off the train. They had an issue with a bus in the tunnel so gave us the boot. It turned out to barely be a bump in the road as there was a bus right there waiting and took us the rest of the way to Westlake station. I then catch Ted Kruger (blog|twitter), Jes Borland (blog|twitter), and Colin Stasiuk (blog|twitter). I was starved and figured could grab a sandwich to go since they were on their way to Bush Garden. I thought wrong. It was just a hair past 8:00 PM which is when sandwich shops close downtown. Ted and I end up finding a Bartlett (pharmacy/convenience store). So yeah, I totally ate convenience store turkey sandwich and Doritos at Bush Garden. It was actually not bad and didn’t get sick so good job Bartlett Pharmacy. I finished my sandwich on the curb of Bush Garden though, I never considered Bush Garden as a restaurant so didn’t dawn on me that it would be a health code violation to bring in outside food. Food was accomplished and then on to the wonderful spectacle that is SQL karaoke. It was great and added bonus of being the first place for many sightings of my SQL family. Running off of adrenaline and good SQL mojo vibes went to the Tap House after that and shut the place down.
PASS Summit Day 2
I didn’t have too much going on Tuesday during the day other than the SQL Saturday organizer meeting. That was really fantastic though! You’ll probably remember I learned a lot doing my SQLSaturday (blog). My scars from that always had me picking individual brains on what they did right/wrong for their SQLSaturdays but was wonderful to get a roomful of organizers sharing their experiences. I got a lot of great information that I am taking back to Indianapolis with me. Appreciate the organizers for setting up that meeting. Thank you very much Kendal (blog|twitter), Karla (blog|twitter), and Niko (blog|twitter)!
Panel answering questions on organizing SQLSaturdays
Then after some relaxation and a video chat with the family I head to the first timer orientation. It was a bit chaotic but when you have that many folks enter a room at the same time you’ll have that. At first they have folks trying to find their dedicated alumni volunteer that had been communicating with them prior to the Summit. I really like having someone assigned to first timers getting them info and being available for questions prior to the Summit. Just not sure feasible to have them try to meet at the event and it’s really not a necessary portion. Just have alumni available and have them go and find a table to sit and chat with whoever. Once they gave up on that and just had folks sit down it was fine and we all had great conversation. I got to talk about the SQL community and peer pressure them to join Twitter and check out #sqlhelp so yeah I had a good time. I hope they did too. I did hear later one of my first timers succumbed to the peer pressure and joined Twitter…win! Thank you so very much to Sarah Strate (blog|twitter)! She put in overtime getting alumni volunteers and planning a great event.
From there was the welcome reception. By this time I’m really floating on air. I can’t throw a rock and not hit one of my SQL peeps. I was really glad I was in the far room to have the chance to catch the flashmob and some of the quiz bowl. I think they should have had some of the far room action on the screens in the other room. Plenty of networking down there but wondered if folks on the other side had any idea what was going on down there. From there made the trek to the speaker and volunteer party at the Garage. Thank you to PASS for hosting a great party! Caught up with lots of folks there. It felt like I was somewhat isolated on a different planet since it was election day and very different from my usual election day back home. The election caught up with us all though in the area down by the Garage. Folks in Seattle were out in the streets partying it up…big time! Come to find out in Washington they passed gay marriage and legal marijuana that day. I never talk politics or religion in any place remotely related to work so not going to do it here. No matter what side of the fence you are on, I had to admit it was really great seeing people happy about the electoral process. With all the piss and vinegar and BS involved in politics it was nice to see people happy and see the instant impact it made on a large group of people. Running off of SQL happiness go go adrenaline juice I made it a late night that was finished off at the Tap House.