I am just getting home from SQL PASS Summit 2009 and by the time you read this it will have been over 12 hrs since I actually wrote it. (Turns out it took over 96hrs to actually get this posted online) I learned quite a few lessons this year while at SQL PASS.
First interaction in the community pays dividends in the future. I attended PASS Summit 2008 last year and had a good time and got to meet quite a few people. However, when compared with this year, I have to say the experience was very different. For other people, this was their first PASS Summit, and you would have never have known it watching them interact with people. While many people shun Twitter, it actually did a lot of the work breaking the ice with people that I might not have otherwise interacted with. Despite whatever image I might have portrayed, I really am quite the introvert normally. If it wasn’t for Andy Warren’s (Blog/Twitter) SQL Saturday and OPASS discussions on Networking, I really wouldn’t have tried to be as outgoing as I was at PASS.
Second, it doesn’t matter if you are new to SQL Server, or if you’ve been using since version 4.2, you will learn something from every session that you attend. I recently presented on Wait Statistics at SQL Saturday 21 in Orlando, FL, but attending Bob Ward’s (Blog) session on Wait Statistics actually revealed a problem in SQL Server that was otherwise unnoticed (more details on that problem in another post). In addition, during Adam Machanic’s (Blog/Twitter) session on Extended Events, he and I both learned that the Module_Begin and Module_End Events were equivalent to the SQL Trace sp_starting and sp_completing events. This is the wonderful thing about PASS, there is definitely something for everyone.
The last thing I learned is something I actually wish I hadn’t had to learn. Pay attention to your flight schedules carefully. I planned my flight home as a redeye so that most of my travel was overnight and I would get to see my wife and kids as soon as possible after the Summit ended. However, I somehow managed to book a Saturday-Sunday redeye instead of a Friday-Saturday redeye. Thankfully, there was available seating on the Friday-Saturday redeye and I was able to change my flight (with expense but well worth it) to still make my originally thought out return time home. This is one of those “Duhh” kind of things but apparently it is easier to mess up than I thought.
I personally had a blast at PASS, and I look forward to attending again next year.