Ive officially been on the Job as a Director for PASS less than a month and already I’ve had the chance to participate in 2 in person Board meetings. 1 at the summit (non-voting) and 1 this past week in Dallas. Ill be the first to admit, I didnt really know what to expect going in but, I had some ideas.
Going in to the 2 day meeting last week I figured there would be some good conversations, a bit of brainstorming, a fair amount of arguing, and at least touch of indecision. What I found was roughly what I expected in that regard.
The Specifics of the actual meeting were by in large important but boring for the casual observer, so I wont be spending countless bytes that you wont want to read rehashing everything. After the meeting minutes are published (2 weeks im told) I may revisit this post with thoughts but until then I figure I can wait a few months to rock the boat on details that werent overly “interesting” to the community at large.
Things I learned at last weeks Board Meeting
- When you have an Ipad in the meeting room, expect plenty of offhanded comments
- We’re doing a whole bunch of really good things in a piss poor less than optimal way
- The SQLRockstar who brought bacon to breakfast on the BOD wont eat it as he’s a Bacon Snob
- That a person can be a Bacon snob
- The ability to give a backhanded compliment is an art form best demonstrated during meetings
- Takeout Mexican food consumed in a hotel lobby will get strange looks
- Coups have been attempted (successfully??) in some user groups
- Getting 11 people to agree to a place for dinner is sometimes harder than getting them to agree about PASS Direction
What I was surprised the most by wasnt the funny quips, or the amount of good discussions, nor was it the ability of the board to identify problems. Nope, I was totally expecting to find that the board really does “get it”, and for the most part on whole I think they(we) do. What I was surprised the most by was the fact the hotel we were meeting at was channeling its inner Bush Garden:
Whats your favorite time of the year?
People often ask why I enjoy this time of year so much. For me its very simple, the time frame from about Oct15-Jan1 is easily the busiest time of the year for me which I guess means that I thrive under pressure!!
It all usually starts around the 15th of Oct when the last minute tweakings of the PASS summit are starting to fall into place, then usually the first week of Nov the annual PASS Summit happens and we get to see all of the hard work the dedicated PASS volunteers and speakers put in come together in a great display of SQL community and quite possibly the best quality SQL Server education opportunity anywhere!
In years past I have almost 100% dropped PASS work until the following January/February to give plenty of time to recharge before embarking on another marathon ordeal of working on the various committee’s and such. This year I have attempted to start working on PASS stuff almost immediately after the summit. I’m not convinced yet that this is the right thing to do as the risk of burnout runs high when you have no “down” time. We’ll see how this works for this year and if it doesnt seem to effect anything, Ill continue down this road.
The Fun Stuff
As soon as the summit is over I head home and its prime time Yellowfin Tuna fishing season. This means that I spend as many weather permitting weekends (60 hr trips) as possible headed out about 200 miles into the Gulf Of Mexico in search of fresh hard fighting Yellowfin tuna. This is one of may favorite hobbies/vices and can quickly consume huge amounts of time, Just ask my family who have happily learned to deal with it.
Wait there is more
On top of all these “fun” things I like to do, there are those little things called Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New years. Those 3 wonderful days that every employee (in the U.S at least) looks forward to if for no other reason than the time they get off work. Some days around my office this time of year I have enough time to catch up on some of those “nice to have’s” at work, other days its like the flood gates have opened up and there is no seeing the end of the torrent!
Get to the point already
So whats the point of this post? there are 2 points actually
1: To wish all 2 of you that read this a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate.
2: To give you a slight timesuck and very big laugh for the day before your long weekend hopefully begins!
This Bohemian Rhapsody is from the end of the first SQL Karaoke night when we ran the bar out of Jaeger got together and had a good time. Please be forewarned that there is quite possibly some NSFW language in this video. How many of your SQL Server colleagues can you pick out in this video? be sure to look to the right side where its dark and many of them were hiding!
Next year at the PASS Summit in Seattle make sure you attend the #SQLKaraoke night(s) at Bush Garden and you too can appear here. Hopefully, I’ll get the minor editing done on the grand finale from night #2 of SQL Karaoke with 2 times the amount of SQL people up before the new year!
What does Karaoke have to do with PASS?
Luckily, having a moral opposition to karaoke does not preclude you from attending the summit of from volunteering to help SQLPASS grow. We’ll take anyone who wants to help anytime you’re willing (more on that tomorrow).
After a long day of stuffing our brains full of SQL gold, quite a few PASS Summit attendees decided to head out to bush garden for Karaoke, a little bit All they had of Jaeger and to blow off a little steam. As we have proven year after year, if you mix SQL Geeks, Jaeger, and a karaoke machine you never know whats going to happen.
After attending my first Karaoke night at SQLPASS in Seattle 06 I realized that a very important piece of the PASS Summit value proposition is in these evening/night time events, they allow you to see that we are all (no matter our stature in the SQL community) Just HUMAN SQL Geeks, and for the most part everyone is very approachable. Watch the attached video, and tell me that you’d have any trouble at all walking up to Josh the next day to talk about SQL, the only problem might be keeping from laughing at with him about the night before. After spending an evening with an entire group of these guys/gals you realize that its no big deal to walk up and talk to any them when you see them in the hall the next day at the summit, or while looking for a place to eat lunch, or wherever your paths cross. It works as a great “reason” to talk to your fellow attendees, and has a side effect of creating this amazing thing that we Techies always call “your network”
PASS After Dark
“off beat and off key, its not easy to do”
Why do I volunteer for PASS?
Ive been asked more times than I can count why I spend so many hours working for an organization that doesnt pay anything other than thanks and smiles.
I work for a large company, and have a very small team of people. As such, it is often very helpful to have a sounding board outside of your sphere of influence to talk to people about ideas, issues and bacon, mostly bacon. Sure there has always been newsgroups and forums and they certainly have their place for this type of information exchange. However, when you know someone and have shared a dinner, a beer, a session, or even just a 5 minute hall discussion, they are more vested in you’re outcome than some random stranger on an internet forum. The overall quality of the conversations and of the information that is exchanged in these groups is higher than the average internet sql community, if only by a little bit.
Payment (in the form of knowledge) for the work I do for PASS is 100% reaped by my employer, in the form of better database systems! Granted my professional knowledge is also increased but, whats good for me is good for them too right? This becomes a pretty easy sell at least in my head to know that I can put in some hours of work for a professional organization and in return they open up many conversation breakers between myself and not only the superstars of the SQL community but between myself and many of the rest of the community that is just as eager to share their knowledge.
So, with that in mind I give you a new friend that Ive twittered with for quite a while but,only just met at SQLPASS this year @mrdenny (blog). I think Denny may have had 1 too many Jaeger shots that night but, this rendition of eye of the tiger is #PASSAWESOMENESS