Recently, there have been some blog posts about what PASS should be? It is great to see these posts because it gives the BoD feedback on how we are doing and where we can improve.
When I first started to get involved in PASS back in 2001, PASS was little more than a conference and some loosely affiliated chapters. It wanted to be more and claimed to be more, but it wasn't. The conference was (and still is) our main source of revenue. The website was essentially a brochure for the conference. The management company that we were with at that time got PASS started, but it hampered its growth. They helped us put on some very good conferences, but the other things such as chapter / SIG management or any other new approach languished often due to lack of budget or technology platform in order to execute. After some changes, tough choices, and conservative budgeting, PASS changed from only being just a conference into an organization with regular touch points during the year such as PASS SQLSats, Chapter Meetings, Virtual Chapters, 24 Hours of PASS, and the upcoming PASS SQLRally. The SQL Community as a whole has embraced social networking to help maintain and create the ties that bind. PASS is betting on that.
Let's first consider our target audience. Who is that? Is it just a SQL DBA, A Developer who hits SQL on the backend, or a BI guy playing with cubes? It is more than just that. I've always thought that our target audience are those professionals who use SQL Server as part of their regular job AND also know that they are using SQL Server. Someone who consumes a SSRS report on a daily basis and doesn't care about the "SS" in "SSRS" is not our audience (at least directly). When you look at what we do well, it is mainly events. These events have a common thread among them. That is they all help users to Connect, Share, and Learn with/from one another - User-to-User Education.
In the Short-term, PASS needs to focus on ensuring that events continue to drive awareness/membership of the community in general. This doesn't mean that we stop doing other stuff. It just means that we acknowledge that the events are our best offering at this time. For the Long-Term, PASS needs to continue to serve the target audience.
This means more professional development offerings. Does this mean some type of certification? I don't know the answer to that question. It does mean that PASS will continue to grow and will have growing pains at times.
PASS should keep growing the exising user-to-user educational events and find new ways to deliver that experience to as many people as possible.