PASS Summit 2011 – A first timer’s experience

PASS Summit 2011 – A first timer’s experience

From October 11th to the 14th, the yearly PASS Summit took place for the second last time in Seattle (it’s going to be in Charlotte NC as of 2013). I had never attended this conference, and initially I planned to go to SQL Bits or SQL Pass Camp. I looked at the itinerary of SQL Bits, and I didn’t really see a lot of interesting sessions that could fill two days, but at the schedule for PASS Summit, there were tons of things that I could fill the week with. So I looked for someone who could answer me the question if it’s worth buying a plane ticket that’s about as expensive as the registration fee. It happened to be Denny Cherry’s blog that I founded first, and he definitely recommended me to go, and he also mentioned that if I was going anyway, I might wanted to go to SQL Saturday in Portland as well.

So on Friday October 7th I was on the plane to Portland. I was able to submit a session to speak at SQL Saturday, so I was very excited to do that! On Friday night there was a speaker’s dinner so I got to know a bunch of people already. The next day was SQL Saturday and the day was fully booked with sessions. Afterwards there was dinner and drinks at Duff’s Garage.

On Monday I took the train from Portland to Seattle which was only a 3,5 hour train ride. During the trip I got myself set up with Twitter on my tablet and phone, to have all the right hashtags and columns in my Tweetdeck ready for the week. Already it was a madhouse with the tweets that was going on, that was great. The rest of the Monday was basically getting myself sorted and the registration at the convention center.

Tuesday started late since I didn’t book the pre-conference, but I did have the networking session with Don Gabor. This was a great session about…yes…networking. After that there was the speed-networking session also by Don Gabor, and this was totally new for me but really great! The conference day ended with a very warm welcome for the first timers and a buffet and drinks.

Wednesday to Friday was pretty much all about the planned sessions. There were a few time slots that I picked out where I didn’t have a complete match with the schedule and my interests, and that was the perfect time to check out the exhibition hall, the hands-on lab, the expert pods, and above all, just talking to fellow PASS people who are walking around there.

At night, there was just too much to do it all. I went to a few organized events, but on other occasions it was just a bunch of people going from place to place.

In conclusion, I am really glad that I went, I had a fantastic time with learning a lot and getting to know a lot of nice people. If it was just up to me, I would have registered right away for the PASS Summit 2012! I think a lot of people share the sad feeling that it’s over, but blessed to be part of this community that you can call your #sqlfamily!

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