PASS Summit 2013, the summary


Location, Location, Location

Those are the 3 rules of real estate. But it was quite the conversation this year. I heard many things being discussed about why this was good or bad. First there was the disappointment that the registration numbers didn’t look that elevated for the surrounding area. But until everything is finalized that one remains neutral. One of my friends complained that the flight cost them nearly $400 each but a normal flight to Seattle was only $150. I said that my flights to Seattle are about $400-450 and the non-stop is seasonal so it sucks even more. This year we were able to drive which only cost a couple hundred dollars for gas. The killer part is the parking at $20-25 a night. This “cheaper” Summit allowed for me to do something crazy like add a fly to SQLSaturday to the list. I did hear someone say they talked to a few people who had also drove and were pleased that this allowed them the opportunity to attend.


Charlotte over all was a nice city, you know what I saw. I was “scared” at first because I had no idea how this would work out. We stayed at the Hilton proper which was right across the street from the entrance. There were plenty of food and beverage places around and even a giant CVS for anything you had forgotten. That CVS even sold wine! I felt that all of the things were closer than they are in Seattle. I really have to give kudos to SQL Sentry for the shuttles! What an awesome idea. The weather is also pretty nice there. Over all I felt like it was a nice change of scenery and I wouldn’t turn my nose up if we so happen to have Summit there in the future.

As a side note the only 2 complaints I have about Seattle are not about the city or the venue, it’s actually the time of year. When we went out in 2011 it was an October date and the non-stop flights were still running. (This is a BNA – SEA Southwest air flight.) I prefer non-stop or continuing service. The second is the weather. November it starts to get a lot colder and I find packing for that far more difficult. You need heavier jackets, rain gear and last year even gloves.


Favorite things

I love love love the keynote being streamed. I am sorry but the nights run long and early morning is hard. Besides I don’t like crowds and that room gets full quick. I just enjoy getting ready while listening to the keynote. It gives me a little more time to relax and to be honest it is the only part of my day that will be that way.

I really enjoyed the chapter lunch. Out table was full of NEW people and I got to engage them. Yes I am almost embarrassed that they didn’t know anything about our chapter. But it was wonderful. I even found a new speaker and someone who’s thinking about it.

Community zone was rocking this year. Part of me was sad that we had lost some of the intimate quite connection but the other part was just thrilled that so many folks were hanging out, sharing stories and ideas. It was quite impressive. I just stuck to my usual and cleaned up all the trash when I was working.


I was completely surprised that I spent the entire week mostly off the intertubes. I mean everything! I had little activity on four square, no time to tweet, no time to check email and really I had the phone in my pocket the whole time. I was just to busy being engaged! It is the oddest thing that I didn’t expect to happen and would have sworn to you that it wouldn’t but it did. To be honest it doesn’t make me feel bad at all.

I was honored that Karen (@datachick) asked me to monitor twitter during her live PASS session. If you didn’t know there were sessions through out the day that were streamed live. It was fun and I was glad I could help. It was also the only real time I spent on twitter, that session was an hour.

Last surprise was the line of folks waiting to get into Paul Randal’s session. I swear 1/3 of the attendees were in that line.

The good, the bad, the ugly

I was quite happy to spend time in the “Q & A – Ask the BOD”.  I felt honored that I knew all but the 2 guys from CA and Adam. I have chatted with everyone at one time or another. I was a really glad to see the BOD take time to talk to us and answer our questions. I was a tick put off that some would come to the session with complaints but hadn’t done homework to know what some of the acronyms were.   I attended 3 meetings on Tuesday where the final instruction was that you as a chapter could add the opt-in list to your chapter list, I wrote this down as did Kerry. It was surprising that we had to share this information again. I am hoping to see this come out in the newsletter.

Always you will run into people who complain. I have learned that you will just never please everyone. I heard from several that they tried to go to sessions and found the room full. Now don’t get me wrong this happens every year, what I was concerned about was to hear that they tried 4 rooms at the same time slot. I told them I felt bad when that happens and explained that it’s hard to know which sessions will be more popular than others. I also was giving the organizers the benefit of the doubt because it is a new venue and maybe they don’t have the same number of bigger rooms or something. I would like to ask and see if there were any venue differences that would impact this.

I heard a vocal complaint that there were “too many damn BI sessions and that they have their own conference”. Now I have to pull out my charm. I can see how one might think that the BACON conference was a BI conference based on “who” presented and it being called Business Analytics. But it was a much broader conference that was reaching out to Data Analyst, Business Analyst, Mangers and other non-technical folks. I believe its aim is to broaden our community to include anyone that has a need/desire to work with the data. I could be off my rocker but it makes so much sense to me that we want everyone to LOVE THEIR DATA.

I don’t know about all of you but come the end of the week I am so ready to sit down and order what I want to eat and have it brought to me. I want to sit down and enjoy a meal not wander around like a nomad searching for different food at filling stations across the room. I know it has to be done that way, I used to do event planning. I am so thankful for my like minded friends. Flemming’s was a wonderful way to end the week and those 2 bottles of red wine were delightful! I just have to mention that the waiter saw me picking at the wine label. He came by grabbed the bottle and came back with the label placed nicely on a card. Exactly how we do this at home. I was IMPRESSED!!!! I was also intrigued by the zombie glasses the bubbly was served in.



Just for a moment I want to make fun of our waitress from Sunday night. We ate at Enso Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar. Someone in the group cannot eat seeds. This is not an option. When we requested no seeds she responded with “Oh I don’t know if we can do that I will have to ask the kitchen.” I am going to guess she hasn’t worked there long. I know you are thinking they could not be fresh rolls and there really wouldn’t be a choice. But they were to pricey and took way to long to get for them to not be fresh. Besides that crew wouldn’t have tolerated grocery store sushi! The best part was the desert sushi, OMG SO GOOD!

one last word

I had a great time and I hung out with a lot of friends new and old but I don’t like to mention folks in my post. It’s not because I don’t love them and it’s not because I don’t want others to know. The truth is I don’t want to forget anyone. I just don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So if we hung out during this week let me tell you I had a great time and I can’t wait to see you again. If we didn’t hang out we need to fix that soon.


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