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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is AndyLeonard.blog.

A Couple-Three Thoughts and Questions About Swag at Community Events

StupidPASSRuleNumber4312

Item #23 in the Speaker Contract for the PASS Summit this year is shown in the image above. There’s been some discussion about concerns this item raises. At least one company that has delivered PASS precons in the past made a decision to not submit a precon for the PASS Summit 2016 due to the potential ramifications mentioned in the last sentence above.

I’m pretty sure I understand the logic behind such a clause: It makes sense that PASS should protect the investment of sponsors and exhibitors. It makes some sense that if every speaker shows up with marketing swag, that will dilute the impact of the swag provided by exhibitors and sponsors (or will it? Please read on). So I understand some of the thinking behind the move.

Is this the best way to achieve that goal, though?

I have some experience with how Technical Communities and business communities interact. I wrote a series of posts about my experiences. A good summary may be found here. That link includes links to the previous articles in the series.

My thoughts on this issue:

1. Is This Really a Problem?

The first rule of troubleshooting is, “Is something broken?” It’s a fair question to ask because sometimes people identify a symptom that’s really not an issue, it’s merely a misunderstanding or (anti-) preference. I don’t know the answer to this question. It’s possible that one or some or all of the exhibitors at the PASS Summit complained that their swag value was being impacted by those pesky speakers who were handing out free stuff. I imagine it was that or something like that that triggered the language in the speaker contract.

If I was the organizer and a company made that complaint to me, I’d ask, “Is your plan to shut down all competition by any means necessary?” I believe competition is healthy. Coopetition is even healthier. The PASS Summit is the largest SQL Server conference on the planet. Are they really going to lose sponsorships over speakers sharing videos or giving away t-shirts? Where else are the sponsors going to go to reach such a large audience? The answer is, “nowhere.”

2. What is the Problem We’re Trying to Solve?

Does PASS exist to maximize the value of each sponsor / exhibitor dollar? I don’t see that written down anywhere (except, perhaps, in item #23 above). In the past, I’ve received criticism when I’ve pointed out PASS is a business and not a community. Am I against PASS being a business? Nope. Not at all. I’m against PASS representing itself as a community (or The SQL Community) and then pulling stunts like this.

My chief complaint is this is bad business. I’m all about win-win scenarios. This is a lose-lose decision. Please allow me to explain.

3. Technical Communities and Business Participate in a Cycle

In the case of user groups, as I blogged years ago, businesses benefit by sponsoring user group meetings, code camps, and SQL Saturdays because they get immediate access to people willing to give up some of their personal time to improve their skills. That’s a prime audience if you are a company looking for enthusiastic technical employees.

UG meetings, code camps, and SQL events are also great places for people who are ready to share what they’ve learned with others. As speakers mature their presentations and presentation skills, they begin to attract a wider and broader audience. Some of those speakers will leverage that experience to join or form businesses. And some, not all, of those businesses will grow to the point that they sponsor these very Community events where they got their start.

How does this happen? It’s different for everyone. Being able to share “company educational videos” is probably a good way to build one’s brand to the level where an individual can start or join a business. I know that has helped my career.

Speaking of my career, I know from experience that it’s possible for people to share swag – links to videos, free tools and scripts, etc. – at Community presentations to grow a brand –business or personal. It’s possible for that brand to reach a level where an individual or company is able to begin sponsoring Community events – including the PASS Summit.

Ask me how I know.

Because of this, I find the policy of item #23 to be… shortsighted (that’s the nicest word I could come up with). I’d really like to see PASS revisit this issue and reconsider. I’m beginning to hear about SQL Saturday’s adopting similar policies, and that’s just disappointing.

4. (Bonus) Stick. No Carrot.

<rant>

Peeves make lousy pets. I know that and yet I cannot seem to take this one to the pound: It bothers me immensely when an organization shows up with demands and threats (stick) and no upside (carrot).

Other professional conferences pay presenters and offer some recompense for travel and lodging. The PASS Summit allows speakers to attend for free. To be fair, admission includes a couple meals per day with access to more meals some evenings. So speakers get free admission and food. Some presenters at the PASS Summit are paying their own way – there’s no company behind them buying flight tickets and reimbursing hotel and per diem expenses. Some of these folks are consultants, and they are losing investing a week of otherwise billable hours to attend and present… in exchange for free admission (again, ask me how I know…).

Is PASS going to begrudge them providing a link to an educational video or giving away a t-shirt? All the while calling PASS a (or even The) SQL Server community? All because they didn’t pay up (yet)? As I wrote, shortsighted.

</rant>

Andy

Update! PASS announced an updated Speaker Contract in Adam's blog post Improving the Speaker Contract.

Published Monday, May 23, 2016 12:59 PM by andyleonard

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Allen White said:

One thing that neither you nor Brent have considered is the "arms race" that could start if a community precon speaker starts giving away swag in a session that is designed to be purely educational. If one speaker is giving out toys and shirts, that speaker is likely to gain a larger audience than another speaker who's there to teach and can't or won't give things away. (And I'm speaking for myself personally, not for my role on the PASS BoD here. At the BoD level, I've been in no discussions about this topic.)

May 23, 2016 12:43 PM
 

Steph Locke said:

@Andy, I see these sort of rules from PASS and it makes me really worry I'm gonna screw up when I go to PASS, especially if I go as a speaker! I'm not a very straight-laced person and when I read the rules I usually find myself with some weird edge-case. For instance, I decided to have a little fun and make "techy" business cards - laptop stickers with embedded NFC tags that when scanned go to my About Me page. My About Me page has lots of links to past presentations, including videos from both PASS & non-PASS presentations I've delivered. I can't help but wonder whether I'd end up booted out for having such things next to my "standard" business cards for folks to pick up.

@Allen, I can see the worry but I would hope "to receive swag or not to receive swag" would be a deciding factor if someone couldn't make up their mind between two equally good sessions? No swag will overcome a preference on topic and/or speaker? Hopefully, I'm not being naive there!

May 23, 2016 1:35 PM
 

Geoff Hiten said:

Let me turn this around a little bit.  You are a sponsor who has paid for access to the attendees.  You have approved SWAG that you give out at approved times and locations.  Here comes someone with tubs of SWAG who gives it out during sessions.  In fact, they have SWAG left and share it with other speakers talking about the same subject so they end up with gifts to the whole track.  How would you feel as a sponsor?  

May 23, 2016 1:36 PM
 

AaronBertrand said:

Allen, on the other hand, people don't generally pay $499 for an all-day pre-con session because of the T-shirt or sticker they'll get. For a couple of my pre-cons I've given an 8 GB or 16 GB thumb drive with all the session materials, with a branded start page and links to our software. That would probably violate this policy too, right?

May 23, 2016 2:06 PM
 

Ben Weissman said:

Allan, isn't it more like this: those who are serious about attending a session will do so regardless of swag. Still they may appreciate a free shirt or even a book? Plus, usually you would not know in advance anyway...

As an attendee, i can fully understand speakers marketing themself softly. Those pointing out 100 times to buy their books (which they are also not supposed to) are really annoying OTOH.

Plus for the sponsors... My decision to buy (or not) from a vendor is not based on whether or not I got a mug in a precon from somebody else ;)

I am usually not taking any swag with me (too lazy to carry around :) but don't really see any harm done by it...

My 2 Cents :)

May 23, 2016 2:09 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Geoff,

  You write that like it hasn't happened. To me and my companies, even.

  First, let's manage expectations. It's a community. That's a large part of the attraction for attendees. And, aren't attendees the reason companies are willing to pay sponsorship money? Why aren't these companies putting on their on events? I've participated in some company-sponsored events and, in the end, the ROI doesn't touch a community event. This is what I mean about this being a community/business positive spiral.

  If it's a community event, you have to allow others to play. If you don't, it's a company-driven event. (See the note about ROI above)

  There's a line, for sure. But what's PASS's next move, banning the community tags on name badges? Not allowing speakers to give out candy for good questions?

  It's PASS's show. They can run it any way they want. I'm just a self-appointed community spokesperson sharing my opinion that this is shortsighted.

:{>

May 23, 2016 2:12 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Steph,

  I like to share links as well. Some of those links are to pages that contain other links to both free products I've developed and for-sale products I've developed (shameless plug: https://dilmsuite.com). I've probably already violated this clause by sharing those links when I speak. So maybe I'm no longer eligible to present at the PASS Summit or SQL Saturdays. I'm not sure.

  One thing I am sure about is that I'm not going to stop helping people. If that's not possible at the PASS Summit or SQL Saturday, I'll find another way.

:{>

May 23, 2016 2:16 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Allen,

  Sorry, brother. I just don't consider a swag "arms race" a realistic motivation for attendees to attend one session over another. I don't think people show up at SQL Saturdays or the PASS Summit for the swag. I think they're there to connect, share, and learn.

  Item #23 in the speaker contract prevents some sharing.

Andy

May 23, 2016 2:18 PM
 

George Walkey said:

I attended a recent SQL Saturday and the last 10 minutes of the speakers talk was product placement with "our product does this slides"

Is that bad?

Maybe he should have saved that part for the Sponsor's table he didnt buy...

hmmm?

May 23, 2016 2:40 PM
 

Doug Lane said:

As a preface to my thoughts, I’m speaking strictly as a community member here, not as an employee, and what I’m writing here in no way speaks for my company or anyone else but me.

I think item #23 is dangerously vulnerable to misinterpretation. Are badge ribbons more like buttons, or business cards? The language is pretty clear that business cards are the only explicitly allowed item to exchange. I had been giving out “SQL Sleuth” ribbons to attendees of my SQL murder mystery sessions. Was it advertising? Sure, but only in the sense that it advertised my session. I have no product offering at these sessions. I just want people to know about them so they can come, learn something. and have a good time in the process. Richie Rump has ribbons for his site, statisticsparser.com. It’s a free online tool. Nothing more. There's no sales pitch to go with it. Should he be expected to buy a booth just to tell people about it? Does that seem reasonable and community-minded?

The PASS Summit motto in years past has been “Connect. Share. Learn.” This is increasingly difficult with item #23 because:

• We can connect, but not with anything in our hands except business cards.

• We can share, but not if it means mentioning free tools we build for the community.

• We can learn, but not if it means someone pointing us to a video they made to help us solve our problems.

And yet, the PASS “About PASS Summit” page says, “Organized by and for SQL Server and BI users, PASS Summit delivers the most technical content and greatest number of attendees, the best networking, and the highest rated sessions and speakers of any SQL Server event.”

Claiming to have “the best networking” while increasingly inhibiting networking seems dubious.

As for the arms race argument – that speakers will compete for audiences by offering increasing amounts of swag – I don’t buy that at all. Again, looking at the PASS site, the About page for the Summit says it has “the highest-rated sessions and speakers of any SQL Server event.” If the speakers are as good as advertised, they’ll draw an audience whether they offer swag or not. If the BI Power Hour stops throwing useful toys at me, I'll still go.

I get that sponsors pay money for access to us attendees. I get that they have a product to sell and that some members of the community do too – sometimes products that compete directly with sponsor products. I believe there should be limits to what can be given away in a session. I think any speaker swag should be freely available and have a limited cash value. This means no raffles for high-dollar products – that should absolutely be a sponsor’s unique benefit. That I want to give out a ribbon to my session attendees shouldn't be nightmare-inducing to sponsors.

Having said that, I urge PASS and those favoring rules like #23 to consider two things:

1) The reach of a speaker’s session is insignificant compared to the reach from having a sponsor booth. The most popular sessions draw roughly 300-500 people, depending on the topic. This is a fraction of the eyeballs that pass through the exhibit hall.

2) The About PASS page says this: “PASS is an independent, not-for-profit organization run by and for the community. With a growing membership of more than 100K, PASS supports data professionals throughout the world who use the Microsoft data platform.

PASS strives to fulfill its mission by:

 Facilitating member networking and the exchange of information through our local and virtual chapters, online events, local and regional events, and international conferences”

Item #23 stifles member networking (“Here’s a *little* gift from me to you.”), the exchange of information (“Sorry, I can’t tell you about how I can solve your problem because that may be misconstrued as deliberate marketing.”), and assumes the worst intentions by the community. Communities are built on giving.

I repeat: Communities are built on giving.

If a non-profit organization run by the community and for the community sees the community as a threat to sponsor dollars, the PASS mission makes its priorities clear.

I don’t envy my friends as PASS who have to work this out, and I don’t begrudge them for what they’ve put forth. I don't hold it against sponsors that may feel the community is encroaching on their paid privilege. I just worry these rules are beginning to work against the stated mission of PASS, and the net result is to the community's detriment.

May 23, 2016 3:45 PM
 

andyleonard said:

George,

  I've attended sessions like that. I've provided feedback to the company and to the event organizers when I saw what I considered "too much sales" in what I thought was a technical presentation.

  I've also received that kind of feedback from folks who've attended my sessions. Sometimes I read the feedback and think, "Yep, I probably stepped over the line there." Other times, though, I've gotten that kind of feedback for spending 30 seconds on an "About Andy" slide.

  I've also felt trapped in the middle. I've known about technology that is revolutionary and can dramatically impact the data integration industry, and felt I could not share about it because of similar limitations. For example, no sessions submitted to the PASS Summit with "Biml" in their title were accepted before last year. When I asked about that, I was told "It's a 3rd-party product." That's true, I guess. But Biml was free in BIDSHelper - for *years*. Why couldn't I tell people about a way to cut months of work down to hours? For free? Thankfully, last year Biml was not only accepted as a PASS Summit topic, it even appeared in the topic dropdown on the abstract submission page.

 As a result, I know PASS is capable of re-evaluating stances similar to this stance on swag and making a decision that benefits everyone.

:{>

May 23, 2016 4:20 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Doug,

  Well said (-written), brother.

  Tacking on the threat of "possible exclusion from future PASS events" doesn't elevate the seriousness of an argument against presenter-shared links, free scripts and utilities, and swag. It tears down the credibility of PASS' claim to be a community instead.

:{>

May 23, 2016 4:24 PM
 

Karen Lopez said:

The issue isn't about personal exchanges of gifts. The issue, as all of know here but are pretending we don't, is the literal carpet bombing of commercial collateral, including promotional, branded swag in community areas, empty session rooms, empty tables, restrooms, etc.

I witnessed non-sponsors handing out promotional material to community members while they waited in line to participate in a sponsor contest or event.

This isn't about gifts.

And what has happen is that the "arms race" mentioned here has now become such an embarrassment to the community that our Profesional Association has had to step in and make a rule.

I agree that the limiting to business cards is a silly way to draw the line on this "I don't see you all as community but as potential invoices" behaviours. But the real fault is on the people who need to have the event as a sell-first, avoid you later event.

Saying they can't afford to have a booth is silly. It's affordable.

Should you have to have a booth to exchange stickers or ribbons? No. But when sponsors get other people's swag dropped on their booths, or when the community zone becomes a porta potty for marketing materials, we've lost our path.

The blame here goes 100% to the folks who did these things.

If you think telling sponsors "we'll take your money, but others can turn the community zone into their own "rogue exhibit hall" is good conferences sales point, I suggest we just give away exhibit booths and charge everyone the real price it costs to put this on.

it's misleading to say that these rules happened because PASS wants to cater to sponsors over community. A few overly-greedy, it's all about money people have caused this. Focus your ammo on the right malicious "users" of PASS.

May 23, 2016 4:28 PM
 

Brent Ozar said:

Allen - you wrote:

"One thing that neither you nor Brent have considered is the "arms race" that could start if a community precon speaker starts giving away swag in a session that is designed to be purely educational."

Yes, it would truly be an utter nightmare if attendees went racing from one session to the next, excited about the free things they could get in order to make their job easier.

I can only imagine the pandemonium that would ensue, and how horrible that would be for PASS's reputation. It would be a madhouse of benefits for the attendees. Utter chaos of excitement. Dogs and cats living together.

Allen - is that the arms race you're worried about? Really? That's what you want to focus on STOPPING from happening?

May 23, 2016 4:43 PM
 

Karen Lopez said:

And I have also been critical of the rule that speakers can only mention their own name once in a session.  That's not how one deals with overly salesy presenters.

The problem with this specific issue (salesy people bulk bombing materials in all the wrong places) is an entirely different one.

May 23, 2016 4:54 PM
 

Brent Ozar said:

Karen - I'm pretty much with you on this one. Sales & services discussions should be done from vendor booths only, or offsite.

We don't actually want a booth as a company. Since we started sponsoring SQLSaturdays, we did it purely to give money to the organizers to make their jobs easier. (I was really touched by Jen Stirrup's problems finding sponsors for her event.) We don't bother with booths - we just want to give money to the organizers to help with free community training. I'm in it for the long haul - when an attendee wants to contact us, they know where we are, and we don't really want to talk about our service offerings at events.

Marketing, though, is no longer just done by vendors. Every speaker is building their own brand. That ship has sailed, and inbound marketing is a reality. Every time you give a presentation, build a tool, or write a blog post, you're effectively marketing.

Having said that, no one should be putting their marketing material in empty session rooms or in other vendors' booths without their permission.

There are two situations where I can see it seeming odd. Before my own sessions, I put stickers out on the tables because I'm tired of getting mobbed for stickers. If I don't put them out, then people form a big line at the end of the session, and that's not fair to the next presenter who's ready to set up. Now, it's entirely possible that I've left session rooms without making sure none of the stickers were left behind - I'll make sure to do a better job on that. I just wanted to mention how it might look if someone walked into a session room and saw our stickers right after I presented.

Also, about other vendors' booths, there are companies who actually pay us to come by their booths and do giveaways. For example, I've got a great relationship with Dell, Idera, Red Gate, and SQL Sentry, and a couple of Summits ago, those companies asked me to come by their booths and hand out swag. To an outsider, it might have looked like I was swag-spraying without being asked, hahaha, but that definitely wasn't the case. (Again, just clarifying how it might look from the outside.)

May 23, 2016 5:33 PM
 

Doug Lane said:

Karen,

I’m glad you joined in the comments because you have strong feelings about this issue and I, for one, want to understand your point of view better. I want to know more about what behaviors PASS is attempting to curb, and contribute to that discussion if I can. You say we all know what the issue here is but we’re pretending we don’t. I understand my leaving magnets in the CZ last year was a mistake, and I owned up to it. However, many of the things you say have happened, I’m hearing about for the first time. We’re not all dealing with the same information.

I wasn’t aware branded swag was left in restrooms, but that seems to me out-of-bounds, sponsor or not. And we agree the CZ should be free of vendor influence, and not a rogue exhibit hall. I also agree restrictions on mentioning one’s own name and networking materials are not really helping. In fact, I suspect we agree on most things related to this issue.

Again, not all of us are working with the same information. I don’t think it’s misleading of me to draw the conclusions I have, given what I know (and don’t know) about vendor behavior at past events.

May 23, 2016 6:14 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Karen,

  I don't think I mentioned the exchange of gifts, so that sounds like a topic for a different thread. I'm not pretending about anything. I may very well be out of the loop as there are some loops I've deliberately avoided the past couple years. Perhaps you could enlighten me and others who claim to not know what this is really about?

Thanks!

May 23, 2016 7:04 PM
 

Greg Low said:

The question always has to be: "What would the community members prefer?" I'm guessing that won't be to prevent speakers for providing swag. It would only be if it really does harm sponsor numbers that it should be an issue, or if a mess is left anywhere that someone else has to clean up.

They need to avoid the one-way street with these things, at least if it's meant to be a community running things for the community.

As an another example, last time I read the info for writing articles for PASS, it was a) entirely for free and b) the author has to indemnify PASS for everything. Where's the upside for the author? Do they think that "exposure" from writing for PASS will justify that, or the number of people who might then see it?

Same for SQL Saturdays. Last time I looked, PASS wants to promote them all as PASS events, particularly when asking for funding from Microsoft, but as soon as it gets real on the ground, the "volunteer" running it ends up having to take all responsibility for it, and indemnify PASS who if you read their requirements, seem to basically disavow all knowledge or responsibility. (I haven't read the info for about a year - it may have improved but I doubt it).

A real community would be working out how to provide blanket global insurance cover to work out how to indemnify the volunteers, not requiring the volunteers to indemnify them.

And now the discussion seems to be that speakers can barely even mention who they are or what they do. I'll happily listen to 30 seconds of "who's Andy" but obviously some won't. So given the speaker can't do anything to promote their own businesses lest it affect the PASS business, and can't even give attendees anything useful at their sessions, are people really that desperately wanting to speak there? Why?

We're in a new world order where most of the action happens online, and less and less in the in-person events. If someone wants to build a brand, write/record/create good content and publish it, via any number of outlets. Send swag to people who participate with what you provide.

May 23, 2016 7:09 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Karen expanded on her thoughts posted in the comments here at her blog datamodel.com. You can view her post here:

http://www.datamodel.com/index.php/2016/05/23/confusing-community-with-sales-part-one-is-too-many/

:{>

May 23, 2016 8:38 PM
 

Greg Low said:

Sounds like what happened last year must have been "less than desirable". Leaving swag on vendors' booths is ridiculous, as is anything that involves any sort of mess, anywhere. It's hard to believe that rules are needed for that but point taken.

But I'm mindful that if I go to a local session from say Adam Cogan (picking him because he's not generally PASS-related), Adam will often give away licenses to one of his software tools to someone in the room who's asked a great question. Or he will give them a link to his site where they can download some free (and relevant) tool.

Other people will sometimes throw out cute geek things occasionally in a session. Do we really want to discourage that sort of thing? (And even more so if it's directly relevant to the session content).

But there's a world of difference between that and carpet bombing promotional materials all over the place.

May 23, 2016 9:25 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Greg,

  Adam sharing links and giving away licenses is a great example. Heck, I'd like to be able to do that, as well. But this rule, although it doesn't explicitly forbid providing links to free tools or links to pages that contain links to free and for-sale tools, it does state we cannot share educational video links. If this is what PASS intended, it's my opinion that this particular cure may be worse than the disease.

May 23, 2016 9:45 PM
 

Greg Low said:

The video link ban again sounds like PASS business rather than PASS community. Are you sure it's not designed to try to limit the impact on session recording sales? Otherwise, I'd love to hear a rationale for why providing people links to free educational videos is an issue.

May 23, 2016 11:41 PM
 

K. Brian Kelley said:

I'd love to see a BoD member share some specifics answering #1 and #2. I know Karen has, but a post on the PASS blog might be good. That way we can help police our own.

May 24, 2016 9:51 AM
 

retracement said:

You may be interested to hear Andy that during my session last year I had a big box of SQLSaturday Cambridge t-shirts and a handful of limited edition speaker shirts which I gave away and while there is no branding other than my custom SQLSaturday design, coincidence or not but my introduction to my session (including me talking about giving away these items from my event) is removed from the video and the session begins 5 minutes or so in. Since I did an introduction to the actual session before talking about the giveaways I thought it was a bit wierd to be edited out, and while there could have been another reason, at the time I jumped to the conclusion that it was because I was seen to be "merchandising" albeit to a PASS SQLSaturday event.

May 24, 2016 10:35 AM
 

retracement said:

@Brent I'm sorry to say this but since your company uses your name, if you happen to refer to yourself as anything other than "squiggle" in your sessions then I shall be forced to report you to the authorities for advertising and promotion ;)

May 24, 2016 10:47 AM
 

Allan Hirt said:

As someone who pays for a booth in the hall (this will be our 4th year), I probably have a slightly different perspective. For Summit at least, PASS has very specific rules about how you can give stuff away even for vendors. Because we have a booth, we area allowed to give some more significant stuff away (and I'm not talking about stickers and ephemera like that). I pay for that privilege as a vendor, and if you want to give away anything like a training course, $500 gift card, tablet,et al., buy a booth.

Now, I'm not against speakers handing out stickers, candy, or little tchotchkes that they can carry in and out of a session. Lord knows people want some SQLHA stuff, too. However, leaving it there or dropping it somewhere is a complete dick move (pardon my French). I think in something like a pre-con, it can liven up the day if you got a vendor to give away some books or something. Again, fine line here. There should arguably be a limit to the amount/value of the item you can possibly "give away" in a session - i.e. up to, say, $50, and it should fit certain criteria (educational, related to said topic). I am not 100% sure what those things are, but a $100 gift card to Newegg wouldn't be it.

The irony is that SQL Saturdays also straddle this line in the opposite way. I know some get vendors to send free swag like books to hand out in sessions. PASS Summit is quite the opposite.

I don't think anyone should get a session for 60+ minutes and talk about a "free" tool though. Some of those tools aren't completely free (we can get into semantics around copyright and things like GNU/not GNU). If you want to showcase your tool, you're a vendor so get a booth - especially if you sell services based on it, support that tool with a paid option, etc. This isn't the vendor lunch sessions at a SQL Saturday.

What shouldn't happen? There was one vendor last year who on the sly was walking around trying to sell a tool/services. That's uncool and not right when people like me pay for a booth in the hall to do exactly that. I do agree with the sentiment that standing up and speaking, be it a lightning talk or a pre-con, is to a degree an advertisement for you and your brand. You, however, should not sell your services directly. Again, fine line here. How do you relate things you did at a customer without having it sound like a sales pitch to someone in the audience? Many won't take "I saw X at a client once" as an ad, others might. It's a delicate dance.

Now, I support PASS both as a speaker and a vendor. My vendor dollars help to fund the organization that allows people to get all of this "free" content. At the end of the day, like it or not, Summit is arguably a fundraiser for the entire year between pre-cons and things like vendors. Free really isn't 100% free.  

At the end of the day, the problem is, make the rules broad, people will abuse it. Make the rules too narrow, it will be too restrictive for most. There's a happy medium somewhere, and the rules this year are by and large a reaction to what happened last year on a few fronts. The PASS board I'm sure will tweak things again. It will be interesting to see.

May 24, 2016 10:52 AM
 

Mike Fal said:

I just have a brief comment about the "arms race". I know people have high hopes that the community members won't engage in that. I wager most won't, but it only takes one or two to start and we have a problem. Which kind of sucks for solo operators who are simply there to present, because it sets an expectation that we should be providing "something", simply because others are. I know it's not intended, but you know what they say about the road to hell.

The long and the short of it is you have to create rules to address the worst offenders. It's just the way of the world. You also have to set boundaries, because even the most well intentioned folks will cross the line if they don't know it's there. I know we want to see the best in our fellow community members, but it helps everyone to know where the lines are drawn.

May 24, 2016 11:31 AM
 

Brent Ozar said:

Allan - just so we're clear, you're saying you're against the session Ola Hallengren did on his scripts, and Adam Machanic using sp_WhoIsActive in his sessions?

And do you think that's the right thing for the attendees?

I'm really struggling to understand why Ola wouldn't be allowed to do another session about his scripts (his session was quite highly-rated), and if he's not, why we would force someone else to cover them instead. If I'm going to learn about Ola's scripts, I want to learn from him directly. There's nobody more qualified.

Why should there be a limit on what you give away? The BI Power Hour is insanely popular with attendees and has a great reputation. Why would we say, "Sorry, you're not allowed to give fun stuff away anymore."

May 24, 2016 11:48 AM
 

Brent Ozar said:

@retracement HAHAHA, dang, busted. I shall henceforth be "The Artist Formerly Known as Brent Ozar."

May 24, 2016 11:55 AM
 

Brent Ozar said:

@Greg Low - yeah, a couple of years ago when we did a pre-con, we asked PASS if we could give attendees links to free videos going deeper into the topic. They said no. (Remember, there's no pre-con recordings anymore, so it doesn't impact those video sales.) They said no because the videos have our slide decks & logos in them, so it'd be considered promotional material - so we would have to pay them a fee.

May 24, 2016 11:56 AM
 

Todd Kleinhans said:

You must be present to win. If you can’t make it to the PASS Summit at all, then it sucks to be you. What about the people who can't make it to PASS? Finances, travel logistics, medical, physical, etc. What's in it for them? A USB stick with the recorded sessions for a fee? How does that help sponsors make sales or build goodwill in the community? Without the financial support of the sponsors, there would not be a summit. Just take a peek at the financials of PASS to see how much exhibitors contribute.

A little bit ago I reached out and did some informal collection of our community numbers. SQLServerCentral.com about 1.8M subscribers. 100K+ members of PASS but that number needs updating. Roughly ~5k make it to the conference that is held once a year. 5000/1.8M = ~0.0028 <- a pathetic conversion ratio. True, not everyone who is a subscriber to SQLServerCentral wants to go to PASS but I think you get the idea. Our community is big and continuing to grow but the number of people going to PASS is quite small.

I’m trying to think of ways to get more people to PASS. What would summit look like if we had 50,000 people? And yes, what’s been on my mind lately, is how to explore using some VR technologies for bringing the PASS experience to them and how to include people who can’t ship the molecules of their bodies to PASS.

On the swag theme, why not offer a discounted booth that is not staffed? We see that at SQL Saturdays all of the time. A sponsor chooses to give money and they can offer swag and prizes. It can put a burden on the volunteers but saves travel expenses for keeping it staffed. That would keep the rooms mostly free of speaker stuff but even attendees need to clean up after themselves.

May 24, 2016 12:20 PM
 

Allan Hirt said:

Brent -

As I basically said, it's a bit of a sticky wicket, because where does the line end? A custom script someone wrote that they're showing that isn't more of a product? This is a bit of the madness we're going down and what I say at the end - too open, abuse. Too restrictive, annoying.

For what it's worth, I am include things like Minion as well; I'm not singling any single person out who does or has done similar sessions either at Summit or a SQL Saturday (which clearly has different rules). At Summit, the way it works, if it applies to one, it applies to all. At that point, whether you want to call it that or not, Ola's scripts, Minion, et al., are more of a product. They are not a just a script (or set of ...). So that - again right or wrong depending on viewpoint - is a 60+ minute ad. Sure, PASS could add rules around what free actually means (cause more consternation in the process) and allow those sessions, but it's a massive grey area that will only be a bigger problem as time goes on. This isn't personal; clearly I have no beef with Adam, Sean & Jen, Ola, etc.

Now, if you have a session which isn't fully based on someone's scripts nut use them as an example/part of a demo? I have zero problem with that. But if you go by the current rules of PASS, even that is a hard thing (if not "illegal") to do. There are ways to achieve what people want. It's a matter of finding the right way.

If you want to give some significant stuff away (again, not talking stickers or reasonable things a speaker can give away in a session), get a booth and be a vendor. You choose not to do it, which is fine. We will just agree to disagree.  

I believe my suggestion of limiting the value of and types of items to not restrict speakers from giving out some swag cuts things down the middle. It's not like I'm suggesting anything that doesn't affect me, either.

May 24, 2016 12:31 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Allan,

  So... I didn't spell this out before, but I will now - inspired by your thoughts. :) If I'm paying for my flight and hotel, am I sponsoring my presentation at the PASS Summit?

  Just a thought...

:{>

May 24, 2016 1:22 PM
 

Allan Hirt said:

Nope. Neither am I - and I pay my hotel and air as well. SQLHA is not sponsoring my session either and we have a booth.

This is not a discussion of should PASS be a paid event for speakers or not which is a whole separate topic.

The definition is clear here: to be a vendor, and to talk about your products, have a booth.

May 24, 2016 1:33 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Allan,

  Fair enough. Though as the person who writes this blog I reserve the right to discuss whatever I want whenever I want.

  I disagree with your premise that speakers should not be allowed to share their free scripts and utilities in a presentation. I think disallowing them actually reduces the value of your (and my) sponsorship dollar. Attendees come to connect, share, and learn. Disallowing the sharing of scripts and utilities and links negatively impacts all three.

  I'll use Biml as an example (although Biml is now an allowed topic). Here we had a technology that comes closer to a silver bullet than anything I've seen in over 40 years of computing experience. It can (literally) reduce months of work to minutes.

  I couldn't get a session approved if it had "Biml" in the title. No one could. It was for a similar reason - Biml was considered third-party and there was a rule that no third-party stuff was allowed.

  Now, the rule was changed for Biml. I think part of the reasoning behind the change was because the rule didn't serve the attendees of the PASS Summit which, in turn, diminished the value of the Summit to attendees which, in turn, diminished the value of the Summit to sponsors.

  I will understand if you disagree, but this is my whole point in a nutshell: Not allowing presenters to share free scripts and utilities and links to educational videos and links to anything makes your sponsor dollar a less-valuable investment. Why? Because it diminishes the value of each session. It's like a "technical tax" on the session and, by extension, the entire event. PASS is saying to everyone (not just presenters), "We're going to limit your access to the ideas of our presenters... unless they sponsor." That means less ideas. You may also disagree with this, but it's also just as true: Less idea-sharing = less community. And, because of the cycle that both you and I have *lived*, this short-circuits an important investment opportunity in PASS' own pool of future sponsors. Hence my use of the term, "shortsighted."

  Some want to respond that it's not that much money to sponsor. What elitist crap. Companies start small. Let the woman who's put together some slick problem-solving scripts get some traction. She'll grow her company as a result. And, later, Lord willing, she'll be successful enough to afford a sponsorship, funding the PASS Summit and PASS' yearly budget and, maybe - just maybe - inspiring others by her example as she helps them solve their data issues with her work. Any other answer is the worst kind of competition, and has no place in anything that wants to refer to itself as a community.

May 24, 2016 2:27 PM
 

Adam Machanic said:

@Allan (and others):

It *is* about whether speakers should be compensated in some way for their effort. The PASS story since I've started is "we don't pay you, but this is great for your career!" If I'm not allowed to do even the most basic marketing, it's not great for my career. It's only great for PASS's vendors, who get attendees to market to thanks to the draw that is the speakers.

As for "talking about a product," who cares? As far as I'm concerned, if attendees want to learn about SQL Sentry or Red Gate tools or whatever, PASS should give them a session. For free. And if attendees want to learn about sp_whoisactive, give me a session on it. Attendees who don't want to attend, don't have to. There will be plenty of other choices in the time slot.

Also, the idea that anyone would, e.g., sit in Brent's session instead of mine because they might get a t-shirt in Brent's, is patently ridiculous. No one goes to PASS for the swag. (If they do, well, WTF? The swag at PASS sucks.) There will be no "arms race." It would be a waste of time on everyone's part.

This is very clearly a control move designed to compel certain people to buy a vendor booth. It hurts EVERYONE involved. Not cool at all. If there are problem people or companies, they should be dealt with in an isolated and targeted fashion. The vast majority of PASS speakers haven't done anything even remotely wrong, with the exception of expecting that this organization is going to support them -- and as far as I'm concerned it's seriously dropped the ball this time.

--Adam

May 24, 2016 2:41 PM
 

Allan Hirt said:

Where did I say you could not discuss whatever you want?

Let me say this again as I did above in another way which you seem to have overlooked - there's a problem with the current way PASS defines things and this is why we're having the discourse. The bottom line, whether we all like it or not, is if you can't play by the rules, you shouldn't. It's not like these are hidden. Is there room for improvement? Sure.

Someone who wrote a certain script does not necessarily make that a product. It boils down to the definition of such as I've alluded to more than once. What is free? What is not free? If you copyright your stuff and it's not MIT/GNU et al., it's not free. You can't do what you want with it. If you sell a license or support, it's not really free. It's a product. If you sell services based on said script, it's an ad for your services.  

I know it's all murky and fuzzy and this IS the problem. There is no amount of wording (or lack thereof) which will make this good for everyone. Someone will feel slighted. All we have to go on is the CURRENT way on how Summit approaches this which I think we can all agree might be a bit harsh in some, but not all, cases.  

Even showing some MS tools such as SCOM could be problematic. Again, part of the problem ... not the solution. Someone like Karen, for example, would have issues showing ERwin or some other third party tool. That is a problem.

I offered a reasonable suggestion. For example, do a backup session, and as part of an example, show Ola or possibly Minion, whatever. The rules for Summit would need to allow Ola's stuff to be shown (see above comments). We all use tools. But it shouldn't be a product placement or ad. Use it to support the ideas you are putting forth, not the other way around.

SQLHA doesn't have have tools, but I can't just go do a session with them if we did. Vendors get no special rights. If people who have a product want to show them and do not want a booth, Summit should offer a paid session like we have at lunch for SQL Saturday. I'm not sure how you got "We're going to limit your access to the ideas of our presenters ... unless they sponsor." That was a huge leap to nowhere that I didn't even say. I don't get any special access as a speaker as someone who has a booth. You need to stop misleading there.

I'm all for a fair and balanced change to the rules, but as I said, that still won't satisfy everyone.

I think everyone is confusing terms here, so let me lay this out there: vendor != sponsor. I have a booth (along with Denny, Max, Joey, etc.). We are there as vendors. The sponsors appear on the booklets, on the banners, in the food halls, etc. We are not doing that.

As a speaker, you represent yourself, and by extension - as I and others have brought up - your brand (be it individual or corporate), but you're presenting ideas, not products. No one is taking that away from you, me, or anyone else.

Being a vendor is not the cheapest thing. We agree ... but it's not unaffordable if you plan. I was an attendee and/or speaker of PASS Summit for many years, and as a business owner, didn't have a booth for a long time. We worked up to it. So your last paragraph is again, misleading. It took us many years to work up to a booth. It was a great feeling that I had grown in such a way. I think you're distorting the truth here - no one is stifling innovation or anyone (not just a woman) who has solved some great problem. If you have nothing to aspire to, why bother?

May 24, 2016 3:04 PM
 

Allan Hirt said:

@Adam

If you look at my posts, I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to show something in use as an example to solve issues. I clearly identify that as a problem with the way the rules are now, but there's a fine line with subtleties I've outlined more than once.

Other conferences do not pay, either. Let's not pretend that PASS Summit is the only one and give them the only black hat around these parts. Some are more lenient in other ways. For example, Bits allows you to use your own templates which I am thankful for, but they're not paying my way to the UK.

No conference is perfect. They all have quirks we can either live with or not. That is our individual choice to make.

As I've pointed out more than once, I'm restricted from showing certain products or tools just like anyone else. But I've somehow managed to create content and express ideas.

I never talked about an arms race and denying the ability to give out swag - I agree there should be a mechanism to do so within reason. And I've seen plenty of people who go to a conference JUST for the free swag (it's not limited to Summit).

May 24, 2016 3:13 PM
 

Adam Machanic said:

@Allan

Bits helps with the hotel, at least. Many other conferences cover flight and hotel. Some bolt on an honorarium. While I'm sure they exist, I've never spoken at any conference that covers less than PASS, unless you count SQL Saturdays and Code Camps. And that's been mostly fine, but the restrictions are getting too harsh. It's time for PASS to either back off or start making things more reasonable.

The "arms race" comment was not directed at you, but rather the other Allæn on the thread :-)

--Adam

May 24, 2016 4:25 PM
 

Allan Hirt said:

@Adam

I don't disagree that PASS could do more, even if it was just one night of hotel for the days you are presenting (which is generally standard for many conferences). If you choose to stay elsewhere than an approved hotel, that's on you. I'm not defending them - not by a long shot. But it's the devil you know, and it hasn't changed.

May 24, 2016 4:52 PM
 

Rob Volk said:

So can I give away SQL Saturday branded shirts/glasses/etc. at the Community Zone or BOF lunch? Or branded bags/notebooks of my local PASS Chapter? Even if I'm not a speaker? These could lead to training or services at future events, with the likelihood of more giveaways.

And what if I receive excess swag from a sponsor at PASS Summit, to be given away at a SQL Saturday or UG meeting? Wouldn't that undermine the sponsors of those events?

-Rob

May 24, 2016 6:04 PM
 

Stuart Ainsworth said:

It's poorly written; like Andy said at the beginning, I understand the intent, but this is a bad 1.0 version of the rule.  The way this thing is worded it doesn't just prohibit Adam or Brent or Ola from talking about their free tools, it prevents ME from talking about their free tools.  

As an organizer, I get the desire to protect the value of the investment by vendors; however, mass marketing is not the real value provided by conferences like this.  It's the opportunity to interact with potential customers, and a non-sponsor handing out a few freebies in a session doesn't diminish that value.    

May 24, 2016 6:15 PM
 

Andy Mallon said:

I want to add some thoughts from the perspective of an attendee (I attended my first PASS Summit in 2015).

For me, an important part of growing my own skills and knowledge about SQL Server includes getting code samples, or scripts that I'm free to adopt when I get back to the office. Whether that's some rough demo scripts, or a nicely packaged sp_WhoIsActive or sp_Blitz there should be no prohibition for speakers to show off and point attendees at their free code. There's huge value to attendees in these scripts. If this rule intends to ban speakers from using and "advertising" these scripts, then frankly it's a disservice to attendees. I don't think this is actually part of the problem PASS is trying to solve.

Regarding *session* swag, I think it's silly to think that attendees pick sessions based on swag. Between registration and travel, I'm spending $5000 to attend Summit. Even if speakers are passing out $50 bills to all attendees, it's still trivial compared to the rest of the cost. If I want a travel mug, I'll buy one at Target instead of spending $5000 on Summit. Swag does build some excitement among attendees, and its a great bonus to go home with an bunch of little tchotchkes. I don't think this is part of the problem either.

As an individual attendee, I want to self-promote my brand, my skill, my blog--good old fashioned networking. Networking is the important non-education part of Summit. Attendees meet future employers, find peers to help with tough problems, and make friends. As a SQL Saturday organizer, I'm looking to "advertise" SQL Saturday, particularly to other Summit attendees from Boston. Self-promotion by individuals isn't part of the problem either.

Personally, I think focusing on these three pieces is a distraction from the real problem. That being said, I think PASS should clarify the rule to eliminate the distraction and help ensure that attendees continue to get value.

What this does appear to be about is swag *outside* of sessions, and self-promotion by folks who aren't sponsors. Small consulting businesses (like SQLHA,

Brent Ozar Unlimited, and Andy Leonard Consulting) fall in an in-between spot between individual attendees and mega-corporations that clearly serve a marketing-primary role (like HP, Dell, Microsoft, etc). There's gray area. Depending on the business, they might see themselves more on either or both sides of that line.

Last year, Brent (and maybe others, but there seems to be big focus on Brent and his company) seems to have crossed that line. I haven't seen last year's rules, and I have only been to the one Summit, so I can't really comment on whether that line was clearly defined. Regardless of the rules at the time, this caused complaints/controversy, which PASS is trying to address with this rule change.

The rule change, to me, seems a bit heavy-handed. It's a very broad and strict rule in response to a fairly limited incident. It sounds like PASS already gave Brent a talking to. Frankly, that should be enough. If the problem becomes more than an isolated incident, then PASS would need to do more.

I hope that PASS didn't intend the rule to have the meaning that we are reading. I hope that we're all over-reacting and PASS will clarify the rule. I think it's in PASS's best interest to avoid rules like this, as they are lose-lose-lose for attendees, speakers, and vendors. The big winner in this is SQLIntersection--because someone is going to decide to skip PASS Summit and go elsewhere that week.

I also hope that the community (not PASS) isn't headed in the direction of needing rules to govern every possible interaction we have. This is the kind of discord that breaks down the community, rather than building it up.

We are a data-driven community of problem solvers. I'd like to see PASS offer some transparency into the problem the specific problem that this rule addresses, and the rationale behind the rule. Hopefully others in the community will join in that request so that we can identify and solve the root of the problem, rather than fighting over a silly rule.

May 24, 2016 11:21 PM
 

Brent Ozar said:

@Andy Mallon - whoa, wait a second. Where are you hearing that I crossed the line?

I wasn't even AT the Summit last year.

Where'd you hear that from? I wanna make sure that one gets corrected.

May 25, 2016 3:09 AM
 

Andy Mallon said:

Whoops-- Didn't proofread my previous comment before I hit the Submit button.

This line:

"Last year, Brent (and maybe others, but there seems to be big focus on Brent and his company) seems to have crossed that line."

Actually meant to reference Doug leaving magnets in the CZ--as that seems to be the only incident I've heard about specifically having been a problem.

My word choice in the original sentence was as awkward as this PASS rule everyone is talking about!

May 25, 2016 5:41 AM
 

andyleonard said:

Andy,

  Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  I've really only heard one complaint, from one person, about Doug leaving magnets in the CZ. Do I think leaving stickers in the CZ (or anywhere) is a violation that rises to the level of requiring this kind of response? Nope.

 Is allowing speakers to share free scripts and utilities going to cause pandemonium in the halls of the Washington State Convention Center? Nope.

  I think you nailed it when you described this rule as an overreaction.

May 25, 2016 6:10 AM
 

Brent Ozar said:

Andy Mallon - OK, whew. I was worried there.

Andy Leonard - Yeah, and the instant Doug heard from PASS that it wasn't OK, he went over, pulled them back out, and apologized. It was a rookie move - he didn't know how rabid the vendors get over this sort of thing, and how could he? The community's been all about connect/share/learn for years. It's sad that a single mistake, apologized for, still keeps coming up as some kind of evil deed.

May 25, 2016 6:26 AM
 

andyleonard said:

Clarification: I don't mean to imply that any single complaint is lass valid just because only one person makes that complaint. I don't mean to imply there weren't other complaints. I miss some of the communications that appear on social media because I've intentionally removed myself from some circles of communication. I simply ignore other circles of communication (my life is way more peaceful these days as a result!). Me hearing only one complaint shouldn't cause consternation.

I didn't learn about Doug leaving magnets in the Community Zone until a day or so ago. When I've seen vendors do things I felt inappropriate in the communities I serve and have served, I've spoken to those vendors one-on-one. Almost always, then vendor got it and we moved forward. From what I've read, Doug gets it.

I find some of the rhetoric surrounding the act leaving magnets in the Community Zone... overstated. That's just my opinion. I didn't know about the incident before a few days ago. When I heard about it, in the terms used, I thought someone had sprinted naked through the Exhibition Hall with their company logo tattooed on their... back. Or something. But no, it was some magnets. And some stickers. Maybe there's more, but if this is it? And this is why we have this silly rule? I think that speaks for itself.

:{>

May 25, 2016 6:39 AM
 

Adam Machanic said:

@Andy

If only one person is whining, and that person is doing said whining at a suspiciously high volume and in an suspiciously public way, I think we have to question the motives.

Just the fact that we're talking about STICKERS says quite a bit about this entire situation. This is grade school drama.

--Adam

May 25, 2016 9:10 AM
 

Steph Locke said:

@AndyMallon - I think you've hit the crux of the issue for me around the masses of rules. Obviously, the scale of PASS is greater than most organisations I'm involved in, and guidance for that many people becomes required to standardise expectations, but I feel they go too quickly to the setting of rules.

I'd really like to see PASS set up something like a statement of intent or even some core principles that people should adhere to. These then become the "spirit" of the law which should not be violated. If/when people are felt to be not in keeping with the principles, then they should be given an explanation of how they deviated and an opportunity to change their behaviours. Most folks don't do things maliciously and we all screw up every now and again - this is an opportunity to learn constructively. Every organisation holds the right to remove someone who behaves poorly, so malicious or persistent behaviours can be tackled, but it shouldn't be the first step.

The more individual rules there are that govern professional behaviour, the more difficult it is for someone to know everything that is expected of them. This adds a barrier to entry to new people, and I don't think it makes it comfortable for existing people involved either.

May 25, 2016 9:25 AM
 

Gavin said:

The "no third party tools" rule is an interesting one, there definitely been some non-optimal decisions made because of this in the past.

I, for one, will be campaigning for a total ban on sessions about SQL Server on Linux.

May 25, 2016 9:51 AM
 

andyleonard said:

Brent Ozar wrote a related post on his blog titled "Do #SQLPASS Attendees Want Products in Sessions? It Turns Out, Yes." As always, Brent raises some interesting posts. You can read that post here: https://ozar.me/2016/05/do-sqlpass-attendees-want-products-in-sessions-it-turns-out-yes/#comment-51651

:{>

May 25, 2016 10:23 AM
 

Ameena Lalani said:

I was looking at SQL PASS Summit registration this morning and on the page I saw Doug Lane's Video (about quitting twitter). This pointed me to these other blogs. It took half of my day to read this post and Karen's post.

I regularly attend User Groups and SQL Saturdays. I respect all of you and I look forward to your blog posts, tweets, scripts, newsletters etc. It really hurts me to see this discussion.

I like to mention Brent Ozar here because he gave me his 5 day training class at 90% discount when I wrote to him that I could not afford and my employer was not sending me and how and why his training would help me etc. I also get Holiday card from his company

There are other people who have helped me on #sqlhelp on twitter and one of them is Allan Hirt.

I get Idera’s duck in mail.

I have attended Sean and Jen's Minion session. I have not downloaded their product but the information I got helped me improve my own backup restore process. These small nuggets I would not have gotten if their minion product is demoed by someone else. I attended their precon on Powershell and they mentioned their company only when somebody asked about their stickers and later they said they will have booth where they will distribute it.

What I am trying to say is everyone is trying to help the community in their own way and if in doing so if they are promoting themselves a little bit, there is no harm. I understand laws. Like traffic laws are there to protect us so is PASS Board’s laws are to protect presenters and vendors. I think PASS board should get survey of attendees of these events (what they want) before making such laws. This is a not a line but a triangle of Vendors, Speakers and Attendees.

May 26, 2016 3:01 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Doug Lane has decided to step away from Twitter indefinitely. He posted a video sharing his reasons for doing so. It's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5uGYQSw1EI

I'm going to take a short break from social media before, in anger, I write something I shouldn't. I'll continue to moderate this blog. I will probably be back next week or in early June.

Peace.

May 26, 2016 3:45 PM
 

Brent Ozar said:

Ameena - Awww, thanks for the kind words! It was a pleasure having you in class, and I look forward to seeing you again.

We're blessed with a fantastic amount of free, helpful community resources from folks like Allan, Jen, Sean, Idera, Andy, and heck, even this blog platform. This community is amazing, and I hope we can keep embracing that free sharing to make everyone's jobs easier.

May 26, 2016 11:00 PM
 

andyleonard said:

Adam Jorgensen, president of PASS, has posted a response at the PASS blog. You can read it here: http://www.sqlpass.org/Community/PASSBlog/tabid/1476/entryid/796/Getting-the-Speaker-Contract-Right.aspx.

May 27, 2016 6:51 AM

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