PASS Summit — Making the Most of PASS Summit 2019

Last week, the PASS Professional Development Virtual Group held a webinar about making the most of PASS Summit, led by two friends of mine, Paresh Motiwala and Grant Fritchey. Unfortunately, I missed the webinar when it aired, but they did record and post the webinar to YouTube. Paresh even gives me a shout-out during the presentation, at 6:30 in the recording! (Shameless plug: come check out my session!)

Although PASS Summit is a large conference based mainly (but not entirely) around data topics, it isn’t just about attending sessions. It’s also about networking, learning, and experience. During the hour-long webinar, Paresh and Grant provide tips on how to network, convincing your manager to let you attend (PASS even includes a letter that you can give your boss!), what to expect when you attend, whom you’ll meet, how to stretch your dollar (admittedly, PASS Summit is not cheap to attend), talking with vendors, and so on.

I’ll leave it to you check out the link and leave it to Paresh and Grant to compel you to attend PASS Summit. They do a great job with the webinar, and I encourage you to check it out. It is definitely worth the hour of your time. Watching the video makes me even more excited about attending! Maybe it might be enough to talk you into attending PASS Summit!

Hope to see you in Seattle in November!

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PASS Summit — Getting the initial lay of the land

Now that the schedule for PASS Summit has been released, I can plan a little more. I now know that I will be speaking on Friday, November 8 (the last day of the conference) at 8 am. Mind you, that’s Pacific time. Hopefully, by that day, my body won’t be completely acclimated to the time change from the East Coast.

I also found out the room in which I will be speaking. I will be presenting in Room 400.

With that, I went to the Washington State Convention Center’s website and looked for a building map. I found a page that includes a virtual view of some (not all) of the areas within the building, as well as a downloadable map PDF (note: clicking this link automatically downloads the PDF to your drive). So if I’m reading the map correctly, it looks like my room is by the Skybridge Lobby, right around the corner from the elevators. Looks easy enough. One thing that was mildly disappointing for me is that the room appears to be smaller than I expected. From what I can gather, it doesn’t appear to be much larger than the lecture rooms at UAlbany (where our user group holds SQL Saturday). However, more people will be attending PASS Summit than SQL Saturday, so I’m hoping for more people in my room.

There are a number of fun activities around PASS Summit — it’s not just about attending sessions! As a first-time attendee, I signed up for the buddy program, which pairs first-timers with experienced attendees so that we don’t feel so lost! I understand that there are a number of other activities as well — including a morning SQL three mile run*, games nights, and karaoke nights. I’ll be paying attention to the activities page as we get closer to the date; it sounds like there’ll be a lot of fun stuff, and I don’t want to miss out!

(*Look, I may be a CrossFitter, but I still don’t enjoy running! My understanding is that it’s a “leisurely” morning run to get some exercise in; it’s not a race. We’ll see whether or not I decide to take part!)

I know that a number of friends will be attending; Matt Cushing, for one, told me that he would sign up to be a buddy for the buddy program. (I have mixed feeling about possibly getting assigned to him; on the one hand, at least I’d be paired with someone I know; on the other, there’s something to be said about making a new friend. After all, a major part about attending PASS Summit is networking!) I expect to see a number of friends whom I know from the SQL Saturday speaking circuit. Also, Ed Pollack, another friend and a colleague from my local user group, is also presenting. In any case, I should know enough people attending that I won’t feel totally alone!

One of the activities they do is something called Speaker Idol. If you just read that and thought “American Idol,” yes, it’s exactly what it is, only for SQL speakers. If you’re wondering how it might go, check out this YouTube link of last year’s winner! (Go ahead, check out the video! Trust me on this!)

And in case you’re wondering, no, I don’t intend to sign up for Speaker Idol (at least not this year)!

As I continue looking into preparing for this year’s upcoming PASS Summit, I find myself getting more excited about my trip out to Seattle in November. Less than three months to go!

PASS Summit and Election Day

Important public service announcement…

Election Day falls during PASS Summit.

I just filled out an application for an absentee ballot. If you’re attending PASS Summit and are eligible to vote, I suggest you do the same! Contact your local board of elections for more information.

PASS Summit 2019 – Getting the most out of it

I came across this article, and I liked it enough to reblog it. For one thing, I’m reblogging it for my own reference as I prepare for PASS Summit. Secondly, I think it’s great advice for anyone looking to attend not only PASS Summit, but SQL Saturday as well.

Thanks, Malathi, for the article!

Curious..about data

The session line up for PASS Summit 2019 was announced today...there are so many good sessions to go to..managing time and what we do with our limited time there is an important skill..to some extent. I’d say it is partly skill, and partly luck to get the most out of it. We can control the skill part, so let’s see how.

1 If I am sponsored by my job, I’d consider the top sessions that I can go to that would add value to what I do at work. So let us say Powershell is one of them – I would shortlist all the sessions on powershell and decide which ones would add most value to what am doing, and attend those. One of the key things i’ve learned here is that a beginner level session on something I know does not necessarily disqualify it. It may certainly not…

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PASS Summit, travel plans, #SQLFamily, and Twitter chatter

It’s three months away, and I’m counting the days.

My prep work for my very first PASS Summit continues. I’m still waiting to hear as to whether or not my PowerPoint slides are accepted and good to go, or if I need to make any tweaks to them. I’m waiting to announce my presentation schedule (per PASS rules, I’m not allowed to announce it until they do). (Edit: the schedule has been released! I’m speaking on Friday, November 8 at 8 am PST!) There has been plenty of chatter on Twitter (which I’ll get to in a little bit) in regards to the approaching event.

I did have one setback, which didn’t make me happy. I had originally scheduled my flight home for the morning on Saturday, November 9 (which reminds me — travel tip — I discovered that it was actually cheaper for me to buy two one-way tickets, not one round-trip ticket). Per the advice of nearly everyone who’s been to PASS Summit before me (especially Matt Cushing), I was told that I should stay through Friday night and book my flight home for Saturday. I took that advice to heart, and booked a flight back to the East Coast for Saturday morning.

Unfortunately for me, American had other ideas. My flight, which was originally supposed to be 8 am on Saturday, was switched to 10 pm on Friday. To put it mildly, that did NOT make me happy. I fired back to American with a very angry email — my wife practically had to force me to NOT use any — let’s just say — colorful language in my message. I looked into changing my flight. The available options fell into one of two categories: either the schedule didn’t work for me, or the airfare was absolutely ridiculous. There was no in-between. (And if that wasn’t enough, I have something going on that Monday, which precludes me needing to be home at a reasonable time.) So, for the moment, it appears the best option is for me to keep the flight to which I’ve been switched.

It is exactly for reasons like this why I’ve come to hate flying. It is also one of the biggest reasons why I prefer taking Amtrak. I seriously considered it for this trip, but rejected it because of schedule constraints. I do love traveling by train, and believe me, I would’ve enjoyed taking 3-4 days to take a train across the country, but that’s a luxury that I just don’t have for this trip. (I’ve toyed with the idea of taking the train cross-country as a vacation idea — i.e. I wouldn’t be taking the train to get to a vacation. I’d be taking the train as the vacation! Maybe someday…)

And in addition, American Airlines has been dropped to my list of “airlines of last resort” (if I ever bother flying with them again at all).

Anyway, as I mentioned above, Twitter has been very active in regard to PASS Summit. I reluctantly joined Twitter last month. I didn’t want to join, but it’s the medium of choice for just about everyone involved with PASS, and my acceptance as a PASS Summit speaker pretty much forced my hand.

I posted my frustration at American Airlines on Twitter, and as a first-time PASS Summit attendee, asked #SQLFamily for their advice. A number of people told me that it wouldn’t be a big deal. Sea-Tac Airport would likely be busy on Friday night (which was one of the big reasons why I booked Saturday in the first place), but multiple people, including Matt Cushing and Grant Fritchey, told me that PASS generally doesn’t schedule events for Friday night. Mostly, what I’d miss is the opportunity to get together with #SQLFamily friends. And therein lies the rub.

The flight switch also affects other plans. I sent a message to my AirBnB host saying that my stay might end up being one night shorter than I planned. I want to wait a while before making that determination — for all I know, American might switch it back to Saturday. Dear airline industry: it’s not like we travelers have plans or anything like that. I swear that some of the things they pull are downright criminal. I’ll say it again: there’s a reason why I prefer Amtrak.

In any case, my plans continue to roll along. It should be fun! November will arrive before I know it.

Win a 3-day registration to PASS Summit 2019!

Have you ever been to PASS Summit?  If not, would you like to attend?

Let PASS know how attending PASS Summit 2019 would make a positive impact in your life by August 23, 2019 for your chance to receive a complimentary 3-day registration AND exclusive access to activities that will ensure a career defining experience!

For more information and to enter, go to this link: https://www.pass.org/summit/2019/Attend/AllAccess.aspx

Good luck!

I’m a twit… I mean, I’m on Twitter

Okay, I’m a lemming. I finally caved.

For years, I’ve assiduously avoided Twitter. As I’ve been telling people, “I refuse to twit (sic).” I’ve never felt the need for it, I’ve never felt compelled to join it (to be honest, the hype surrounding it did more to repel me from it than make me want to use it), and I’ve been trying to stay away from it. It was enough that I was already on Facebook (and, for professional reasons, LinkedIn). I didn’t feel any need to join the Twitterverse.

Events over the past few weeks changed that. First, as I announced earlier this month, I was accepted to speak at PASS Summit. Second, I finally succumbed to peer pressure from friends such as Deborah Melkin and Matt Cushing. Third, I wanted to connect with #sqlfamily — which is entirely on Twitter.

Mostly, it was the PASS Summit deal that finally pushed me to do so. Twitter is the medium of choice for a great majority of people involved with PASS and SQL Saturday. Since this is my first PASS Summit, I needed a way to contact people if I needed to do so. And since nearly every speaker there is on Twitter, well…

So, therefore, it is with great trepidation and reluctance that, last week, I finally broke down and created a Twitter account. I’ve been sitting on it for a week, and really only made it publically known this past weekend at Albany SQL Saturday.

I’m still trying to figure out how to use the thing. Deb Melkin mentioned to me this past weekend that there were some hashtags that I should’ve used with my first tweet — at which point, she turned to some of our colleagues and said, “he’ll get the hang of it. We’ll teach him!”

I honestly don’t know how much I’ll be using the thing. I already use Facebook to post about my personal life, and I use my LinkedIn for professional endeavors, so I don’t really feel a need to do either on Twitter. I’ve connected my ‘blog to it, so you’ll see my articles on it whenever I post one. Beyond that, we’ll see.

So if you really feel a need to follow me, my Twitter profile is PianoRayK.

I’ll see you out there in the Twitterverse…