The PASS Board, continuing a trend of more openness championed by Board members, released the results of its Location Survey. Along with this, PASS President Rushabh Mehta added a blog post explaining the interpretation and logic behind the decision to not move the location of upcoming PASS Summits.
Less than a week ago, Rushabh and I shared beverages and talked about life, database work, SSIS Frameworks, SQL Saturdays, PASS, and business. I know most members of the PASS Board and they're great people. They give of their time and talent, share a passion for our community, and often lose money, sacrifice vacation time, and spend personal capital (money and cred) to champion our awesome community. They deserve all the respect and trust we can direct their way.
Conducting a survey was a great idea. Anyone in business will tell you customer service is important. Finding out what your customers think, using a survey, is a really cool way to go.
Sharing the results and your interpretation of the results is also a great idea. Communication is fundamental to trust and respect, and trust and respect are fundamental motivations of geeks everywhere.
We Should Know Better
Twain was probably the first person to write "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." As database professionals, we see misconstrued and misinterpreted data most days of the workweek. If anyone should get this right, it's us.
And we didn't.
The survey did not contain the question "How much longer do you intend to continue breaking the law?" but the questions were... leading. Check with anyone who wants the PASS Summit to move from Seattle every n years - their initial reaction to at least a couple questions from the survey was "What?"
This Isn't Hard
This doesn't require a lot of analysis. Responses to questions 7 and 8 tell the tale:
To quote Foghorn Leghorn "Figures don't lie."
Don't Take My Word For It
Jack Corbett (Blog - @unclebiguns) wrote a great summary of responses to date (11 Mar 2010, AM) in his post PASS Releases Survey Results & Summit Location – Reactions. I encourage you to read all the links in that post as well as the results and Rushabh's post: Locating PASS Summit 2011 and 2012 - Connector Editorial by Rushabh. Tom LaRock (Blog - @SQLRockstar) posted his reasons for voting to keep the PASS Summit in Seattle yesterday. I'm sure I've left some out, and I apologize for that.
The "smaller conference" idea Rushabh mentioned is interesting. I don't know how this would impact the Summit-in-Seattle-Forever perceptions among the SQL Server community, and I doubt anyone knows the answer to that question. If PASS puts together such an event, the results will speak for themselves. Time will tell.
As for their response to criticism (and make no mistake about it, this is criticism): I sincerely hope the PASS Board and staff resist the "vocal minority" argument offered last year around Board election time. That was weak.
Despite the intentions of the PASS Board and the hard work of the PASS Staff, this looks a lot like someone asserted a premise. Time will tell.