Pass 2015 – Overall Thoughts

I know I only posted one other blog about Pass but I’ve been way too busy over the last couple of weeks to write any more. So here’s my thoughts on what was my first (and hopefully not last) Pass Summit (would have posted this earlier but I’ve been enjoying a bit of jet lag).

Firstly, I had a whale of a time. I met a whole bunch of people, including guys from UK & Dublin chapters and the Midnight DBAs; went to some great sessions and picked up some free stuff from a load of vendors. Secondly, how cool were the evening events? The welcome reception was very slick and the party at EMP Museum (what a place) was brilliant. They could probably tone down the karaoke a tad mind, did it really need to start so early?

The only grumble I have is that I didn’t really enjoy the first timers “speed networking” session. For those who don’t know, you’re lined up in rows facing each other and are given three minutes each way to introduce yourself and talk about a certain subject (biggest challenge at work, programs that you use most frequently etc.). At the end of the six minutes you move down one seat to your left and the process kicks off again. For me, this went on a little bit too long…after about the third round I was starting to get a little weary. The room was very loud so you practically had to shout for three minutes. I left with a bit of parched throat but thankfully a beer was waiting for me at the welcome reception.

The keynotes. I enjoyed them although I have to admit, when I saw the length of them I was a bit put off. However both were delivered excellently. The first keynote by Joseph Sirosh & Shawn Bice going through the new features of SQL Server 2016 was very interesting. I’d seen most of what they talked about before but I hadn’t heard about native support for R within SQL Server – that’s going to be huge!

The second keynote by David DeWitt & Rimma Nehme talking about the progression of IoT was less my cup of tea (I’m more of a demo guy) but they still talked about a lot of interesting concepts. One of which was fog computing (google it) which led to the expression, “What the fog?”. Ha ha.

Now, the sessions. I attended more of the “out there” sessions if I’m honest. I’ve been to a few conferences at this point in my career so didn’t what to go and see the same old subjects (e.g. – basic stuff on the SQL database engine; indexes, partitioning, query tuning etc.), I wanted to see something new. Highlights included a session on Hadoop, a really cool workshop on u-sql and a session on technical writing.

The best session that I attended though was the Speaker Idol final at 4pm on the last day. 4 great speakers all competing for a grand prize of a full 75 minute session at Pass Summit 2016 hosted by the indefatigable Denny Cherry (b|t). All week everyone I talked to mentioned the sense of community at Pass and in my opinion, the Speaker Idol final was where it was most prevalent. Each of the speakers performed brilliantly and congratulations to David Maxwell who won (see his blog post on the Summit here.

Now to see how to get to the Summit 2016…