I have just finished my second SQL PASS Summit and, as usual, I am amazed and thankful that I belong to a community that is so wonderful. One of the amazing things about Summit is that the presentations are done by the industry’s best and brightest speakers and they are not even the biggest benefits of going. For those that have never been to Summit (or any SQL PASS event) the community and networking are the best reasons to attend. I had a wonderful time and got to see some good friends and made many more.
I arrived on Monday and had a chance to catch up with a great friend and spend some time with him, after which I headed over to the convention center and ran into my first development manager boB Taylor (b|t) who is now the PM for the SQL Server Advanced certifications. After talking to boB for a while he convinced my to take the MCM knowledge exam on the Friday of Summit. So, coming to Seattle with no pressure on me I now had the knowledge exam to think about all week, thanks boB! Luckily I wouldn’t have to take it alone because boB was able to convince Jason Horner (b|t) to also take it on Friday morning.
When I was planning out the presentations I wanted to attend, the number one speaker I wanted to see was Paul White (t|b). I have been reading his blog for a long time and I have always been amazed at his technical knowledge. I went to both of his sessions Parallel Execution Plans on Wednesday and Optimizer Deep Dive on Friday. I had never been to session that had as many MVPs and MCMs as his deep dive presentation had. Paul is a very good speaker and has a good sense of humor. During his presentation his cell phone went off which, in turn, made the speaker system sound like a fire alarm. After he was made aware of it he tossed his phone to the crowd and he mumbled under his breath, “what a nub!” During this session I believe everyone was blown away by Paul and his understanding of the query optimizer.
My favorite non-technical session was the BI Power hosted by Matthew Roche (t|b) which had a panel of BI experts doing “BI tricks”. They were all very funny, but Matt Masson (t|b) stole the show. He designed an SSIS package to generate “friends” on his Facebook page and also to filter his online dating requests. There is no way for me to do this session justice, it really was a “you had to be there” kind of session. Excellent job guys!
First Timers Group:
Something a little different for me this year was that instead of being a nubby I was in charge of a group of nubbies. I was happy to help out the group since it was a great help to me last year. Unfortunately I had not seen an email that assigned my group a number, so on Tuesday night when all of the first timers came in they didn’t know where my group was, but apparently I wasn’t the only group leader to have missed that email because a lot of the first timers didn’t know their group number either. So as the first timers came up to me to ask where they should meet I would just point to my table and told them they were more than welcome to sit there. I had so many people that I had to put two tables together, it was great. I had a fantastic time getting to know them and listening to them network with each other. Sarah Strate (t) did an excellent job organizing the first timers program and I really enjoyed being a part of it.
Networking and After Hours Events:
As I said before the networking aspect of the Summit is, in my opinion, the greatest benefit to going to Summit. I was able to attend Andy Warren’s (b|t) networking event at Gordon Biersch, SQL Karaoke, Pragmatic Work’s event. In addition to these events I also went to the Community Appreciation party at EMP. I use to live very close to Seattle for many years, but I had never been to EMP before (although I did go to their opening concert when they first opened). It was a very well done event and I had a good time walking around the museum and checking out the different rooms, but it was held on Thursday night and I had my exam on Friday, so I called it an early night.
I really had a wonderful time at Summit this year and I want to thank everyone that was involved with putting it together this year. Can’t wait until my next event (SQL Saturday #183) to see more great friends and bring the community to Albuquerque.