The 2008 PASS Community Summit begins next week. It's probably one of the best weeks of my professional year. There is, of course, lots and lots and lots of great technical training. Multiple sessions (usually 9 or 10) happening simultaneously so I can choose from hearing one of the product managers from Microsoft explain where the product is going in the future. Or if I prefer I can sit in on one of the PSS (Premier Services and Support) sessions to learn how to troubleshoot my instances better. Of course there's the CAT (Customer Advisory Team) sessions that are always of great interest. And all that is just from the Microsoft side of things. There are tons of user experts there to share the knowledge they've garnered over the years - authors of books, industry experts, etc.
But the technical content is only one part of the joy for me. I really love getting see the people of the SQL Server community. I have friends that live around the world and the PASS Community Summit is the one time of year where we can get together and catch up. As large as the SQL Server install base is, at times it really seems like the community is a close-knit group and I truly enjoy catching up with everyone.
This will be the first year in the past six years that I will attend as a non-board member. I'm looking forward to it! The board of directors work extremely hard, very hard in fact. And sure there are minor things that happen at the event that attract some discussion (running out of cookies during a break, etc), but I can tell you that to pull off an event of this magnitude is no trivial matter. It takes months of preparation and dedication. And, even with all of that, the Summit is a busy time for the board. There are fires to put out, rehearsals to attend, meetings to hold, interviews to do, etc. This leaves precious little time for actually attending sessions. There have been years when I didn't attend a single session.
So this year, I'm looking forward to actually sitting in some sessions and learning more about the product I love. Oh sure, my calendar is filling up with activities, but it'll be much less congested than prior years. For example, I've agreed to moderate a Question & Answer session during the volunteer training day on Tuesday; I'm delivering a couple of technical sessions; there are some vender dinners / meetings I'm going to attend; and PASS has asked if I'd blog the keynote sessions in real time.
So, if you're not able to attend the Summit this year, stay tuned and check back regularly. I'll post a blog with news and information as often as I can. Plus I'll frequently tweet to my Twitter account. Check it out.
Cheers and hope to see you there!