Should PASS hold the conference on the East coast
Bill Graziano asked if PASS should go to the east coast. I for one don't see
any reason why not.
Firstly I'd ask what the purpose of the conference is. Is it to
the SQL community,
b) market the SQL Server Product
c) educate people on
the use of SQL Server.
Personally I think PASS should be aiming for a and c and to that end I don't
see any issue with moving to the east coast.
With regard Bills points.
Travel, Its a conference, whats the difference if its in east or west coast,
I am sure there are just as many people working on the east coast that use SQL
as there are on the west coast. And coming from Europe I have many more direct
flight options than to Seattle (not hard really only 1 direct flight to Seattle
Whilst the product team involvement is good I think its a small part in the
scheme of things, if MS want PMs doing sessions then they can send them. IMHO
sessions by independent experts are generally better than ones by product team
Using more indepenent people to run sessions I thing would be fine if the
Microsoft people can't make it. So I don't think you would have less sessions
and definitely not less focus on specific subjects.
The difference is the SQLCAT and CSS guys but as you mention these aren't
based in Seattle and so moving to the east coast won't really make much
The side sessions I agree will probably be impacted as will the ability to
pop up to campus for a meeting, but that really only affects a small few and
personally having MS send these people, who often aren't based in Seattle, over
to the east coast isn't a big cost for MS in the scheme of things.
My experiences suggest that putting on a good event is more down to the venue
being a good venue, that know what works and know how their building works. For
events the size of PASS I would be shocked at the venues not being able to
provide this service. Whilst it won't be as slick first time in your eyes,
generally the attendees don't notice, as long they are fed and the sessions run
Having items produced local to the event is much greener and will save costs.
There will be extra travle costs to get to the venue but in the budget of
conference I would expect that to be < 1% of the cost of the conference. Once
you have moved round 4 cities you can repeat and it will become easier.
I'm sure there are other nice cities in the US.
The one thing we have found running SQLBits and moving it around the UK is
that we have a hard core of attendees but each event we have a new group of
localised attendees. In not moving PASS around the US you are depriving these
people of the opportunity of experiencing this valuable aspect of the SQL
community and whats move deprive them of the valuable education that is
available at PASS.
So get moving I vote for option (b) but more frequently move it around.