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Louis Davidson

MVP/SQLPASS Summit Wrapup From a Non-Attendee


(Or “How I Sort of Attended PASS This Year After All and It Wasn’t as Horrible as it Might Have Been”)

Wow, my experience at this year’s MVP Summit and PASS Summit was not at all what I had expected it to be for me just weeks ago when I was planning my trip. Life intervened, and as my blog post last week here explained, the short of it is that I was unable to attend either summit for less than fun reasons. As a shut in who has always stayed in connection with the SQL community, particularly at the summits here in the US, it was going to be pretty hard to completely stay on the sidelines. So I had to choose: turn off my computer and live on pain meds for the week, or tune in to twitter and see what was going on (still aided by pain meds!). My eventual decision was based on the fact that when I attend the summit, I tweet about how it is going for someone out there so what the heck. I decided to tune in, and it turned out that the people I was tweeting to were people like myself this year, who can’t make it for some reason.

I am glad I did, as it turned out to be pretty cool (once the MVP Summit had passed at least.)

This year the MVP Summit for us SQL–ers was first up, attached to PASS. I have missed an MVP Summit before, and just like then, it sucked to be home. The information we get there is considered so NDA that we can really only discuss stuff from presentations we attend with other people that we see attending the same session. There is a great twitter account for the MVP program @MVPAward where lots of fun information is shared, but nothing of particular technical interest. Twitter feeds of other MVPs attending tend to be like this one from one of my heroes, Arnie Rowland (who is not to be confused with Rob Farley, mind you…):

#mvpsummit Great discussion about {NDA} led by {NDA}.Some questions about {NDA} expessed {NDA}. However #HugAChuck is NOT covered by NDA.

It is fun (and something I usually do yearly too), but when you don’t know what the {NDA} is replaced with and REALLY want/need to… well, it stinks. When you know what #HugAChuck is, it is even more fun, but we won’t go into that either.

On Wednesday, the PASS Summit started. Since at least 50% of the people I follow and would follow me would be at or interested in PASS, the twitter feed exploded with glorious noise on the #summit14 hashtag. Keeping up was kind of fun, but still felt pretty empty. At that point I was really close to just sulking and turning off twitter. But then I happened upon a twitter conversation between @DaniSQL and @SQLServer:

@DaniSQL: Sad and jealous I won't be at #sqlpass this year.

@SQLServer: @DaniSQL Not to worry, we've got you covered! You can watch the #summit14 live stream here with your account info: 

I had heard of PASS TV before, but never really gave it much thought in the past since I had always been at the Summit live and in person. I thought it was probably just advertisements and interviews, but it turned out to be something more. In addition to the aforementioned stuff that was there but not attention holding for hours, it turns out that they also streamed quite a few full sessions, and most of them were live-as they were happening sessions by some of the big names.

I saw whole sessions (or partial sessions when doctors/nurses felt the need to interrupt!) from David Klee, Adam Machanic, Kalen Delaney, Kimberly Tripp, Steve Jones, Gail Shaw and Grant Fritchey… It was awesome because it was just like being there for a small slice of time… I didn’t get to see the keynotes (though I may try to one day soon since they are still available via PASSTV (everything is now on YouTube), or some of the other sessions that were transmitted from this year, but in reality, I attended as many sessions this year at PASS as I could have if I had attended in person.

What I did miss was seeing everyone in person and getting to do most of my volunteer work. Having been an MVP for 11 years, and going to the PASS Summit for even longer, I have a lot of folks that I have seen there yearly that never make it to the events in the region I frequent.  I had scheduled time in the community zone, at a birds of the feather luncheon, and a couple of abstract writing sessions. These I just completely missed. One bright note was that there was one meeting that a sub-committee of the program committee that we had scheduled to do face-to-face that I was able to attend via phone. Even with my complex scheduling, (I had a visitor to cut short and a therapy session that I had to reschedule), I was able to participate in that meeting and feel somewhat productive. I was very appreciative to that team for letting me stay on task and not miss out.

Taking in sessions was one half of the picture, giving me a sense of connection, but if you add to this the great community that we gave me a lot of moral support for my ordeal through the twitter channels (as well as a lovely gift sent to me from my friends at the Friends of Red-Gate program), I felt as connected as I believe I could without stepping on an airplane (something that I pretty much only do  when I get the opportunity to go out to the Microsoft area of the country for these two conferences or something else SQL Server related…well, okay, sometimes I will fly to Disney World, but that is off topic for sure).

So here’s to the 2014 MVP and PASS Summits that were as good as I could have ever expected. And to their 2015 siblings that by golly I will be in attendance for, this time on Hip 3.0 (which is going to be hippest hip yet.)

Published Sunday, November 9, 2014 8:39 PM by drsql

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Stephanie Herr (Red Gate) said:

Missed you at PASS, but so glad you got to see so much on passtv.  Really a great channel of information.  Hope you have a speedy recovery and see you in 2015!

November 10, 2014 2:49 PM

drsql said:

@Stephanie Yeah, I really hated missing seeing you and all of my friends in Red this year. Thank you!

November 10, 2014 4:19 PM

Andre Ranieri said:

Get well soon, and see you in 2015.   @sqlinseattle

November 10, 2014 5:41 PM

Kalen Delaney said:

Hopefully I'll see you at a SQLSaturday soon!

November 10, 2014 6:33 PM

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