Monday, May 24, 2010

East Coast PASS Event Options

After asking members about where the PASS Summit should be located and then deciding to keep it in Seattle for at least the next two years despite a clear majority of respondents desiring a central or east coast location, the board decided to look into holding a smaller event on the east coast in the spring.  You can read my original opinions on these decisions in my post, PASS Releases Survey Results & Summit Location – Reactions.

Since that post I have had the opportunity to work with Andy Warren (@SQLAndy) and Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDBA) on a proposal to PASS to host the smaller east coast event in Orlando capped at 500 attendees for $299.  The event would be 2 days with a pre-con offered at $149.  As we went through the process of putting together the proposal my opinion changed for these reasons:

  1. The involvement of local/regional people in organizing and staffing the event through Chapters.
  2. It is inexpensive enough to draw people who probably wouldn’t attend the Summit , yet enough of a taste of the Summit to draw them to the Summit, especially if the event comes with a discount for the Summit.
  3. It provides another step in the growth path for speakers by providing the opportunity for PASS Spotlight speakers to do a Pre-Con, and regular PASS/SQLSaturday speakers to do a Spotlight.
  4. It provides a growth path for local leaders.  Run a chapter, a SQLSaturday, and a Regional PASS event, then you are, in my opinion, better prepared to move on to the PASS board or other PASS leadership position (regional mentor, committee manager, etc...)
  5. The proposed event is small and inexpensive enough to happen in more than 1 location per year, especially if the Summit discount is offered.

After working with Andy to put together this proposal I was invited to a PASS board conference call (minutes here login required) where the board was going to discuss this proposal along with 2 other proposals.  The other 2 proposals were:

  1. A $995 event that tries to bring as much of the Summit look and feel as possible.  In my opinion, this would be too close in cost and feel to the Summit so it would likely reduce Summit attendance.
  2. A $499 event that would be bigger than our proposal, but smaller than the Summit.  This event would be very similar to the Orlando proposal with more frills and more PASS involvement and less local involvement.

It just happened to work out that Andy was only available for the first half of the call, so I was THE representative for the Orlando proposal for the second half of the call.  The great part of the call was that PASS HQ recommended our proposal right from the start, and while there were some good questions asked, the board members were onboard with this idea.  I was a little surprised by the lack of discussion, but I also think that may have been because the groundwork was laid before the meeting.  The board decided to have PASS HQ continue working with Andy and I to firm up numbers and plans for the Orlando plan.  I’m really excited to work on this event.  I’m involved with planning my second SQLSaturday right now and this event will definitely be beyond that experience.

You can read Andy’s take on the meeting and event here.  So what do you think about the idea?  Would you be willing to pay $299 + expenses for a training event like this?  Have we left anything out?


  1. Jack, you're right there was a lot of ground work done in advance. This was the the third time we had discussed it on official calls, and there had been a lot of email back and forth in between, especially as we were close to done with our draft.

    Not a done deal yet, definitely looking forward to hearing thoughts on the proposal.

  2. I live in Tampa Bay area so no brainer for me. Im in.


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