Spent the day today in the PASS Volunteer Training session. It covered a variety of things from the History of PASS (started in 1999 in Chicago) to updates from each member of the Board of Directors about what is happening in their areas. For those who do not know, each member of the Board has a specific area of responsibility. For example, Graz is the VP of Marketing this year so he was involved in working with the folks from Microsoft to get PASS and the Summit prominent mention on the SQL home page. Lynda Rab is the Director of Program Development, so she oversaw the Program Committee that I was on.
There are lots of great things happening within PASS right now and in the near future. A significant portion of the day was spent talking about the financial condition of PASS and the proposed budget. I am not at liberty to disclose details of that right now, but it is my understanding that all of this information will be made available on the PASS web site so any and all members can see where the money goes. One thing to keep in mind is that PASS is not just one annual conference. PASS really is a professional association, and so it has to abide by certain rules of fiscal responsibility (such as keeping money in reserve accounts) that do not necessarily apply to strict conferencing companies. The goal of PASS is to provide substantial added value beyond the annual conference, and you can begin to see this getting started with tools and resources on the new web site as I mentioned in my previous post.
PASS is also looking for ways to be of more service and value to local user groups. But even if you're not active in your local group, I encourage you to join PASS through the web site and take advantage of the resources there.
Of course, no blog post of mine about the beginning of the Summit would be complete without mention of the swag (or schwag, if you prefer). This year, PASS is going green, so rather than handing out yet another laptop bag, they gave out PASS-branded reusable bags (think reusable grocery bag). The Summit shirt, a short-sleeve, polo-style microfiber shirt is nice. And, of course, there is a coupon good for a free copy of SQL Server 2008, redeemable at the Microsoft zone in the exhibit hall (limited supply, first-come, first-served they say). And, of course, you can't forget the Seattle Super Saver Value Guide (who would turn down discounts on food?).
All-in-all, I'd call it a pretty good day.
posted @ Tuesday, November 18, 2008 9:41 PM