PASS Summit 2012 Tips

Having such a fantastic experience last year at PASS Summit 2011, I cannot resist to volunteer as an Alumni Mentor for the First Timers program this year.

I have quite a number of First Timers in my group and I have been sending them with tips fairly regularly. I plan to do so until the PASS Summit 2012 starts on Nov 6, 2012. Some of these tips I have covered in my previous First Timers article. This year, I’m planning to put a bit more details and update it regularly prior to the Summit.  I think these tips should be useful for First Timers, and would be a good checklist for Alumnis as well.

So here are what I have shared so far in reverse chronological order. If you have any other tips, please feel free to share them too!

Tip #9: Updates from last week and last reminders

The PASS Summit 2012 mobile guide is now available.

On October 25th, Rick Heiges – a former PASS Board Member – discussed “What to Expect at PASS Summit 2012”. The slide deck is available for download.

Also, for every session, you are able to voice your feedback via a survey. I believe this year it will be done electronically. Please fill in the form with your feedback of the session. The feedback process is important for the speakers, PASS and the community. Good quality feedback will help speakers to better themselves and PASS to know how good the speakers/sessions are, which will help for future presentations for the community.

A few reminders:

1. Don’t forget your business cards
2. Attend First Timers orientation (important)
3. Have a plan on which sessions to go
4. Come in early for the Keynote sessions
5. Come in early to register on site at the Washington State Convention Center
6. Say “Hi” to fellow First Timers and “Hi” to alumnis, speakers, volunteers, sponsors and SQL CAT team.
7. Be safe and healthy; have a good learning time and most importantly have fun!

We really are not far away from PASS Summit at all. Some of us will begin their overseas or interstate travel this week for PASS Summit (and may be SQL Saturday #172 in Portland) – like myself. If you are, travel safe and see you in Seattle.


Tip #8: PASS Summit 2012 Webcast and SQL Saturdays

[Posted on 20 Oct 2012]

A few days ago, Denny Cherry shared very interesting information for First Timers about PASS Summit 2012. In the session titled SQL PASS 2012 First Timers Webcast, he discussed the following areas:

  • Transport/accommodation.
  • Out and about in Seattle.
  • Getting around the conference center. The layout is quite different from last year’s Summit. It looks like we have expanded the area to cater for more people.
  • Things to do in Seattle including networking events and SQL Karaoke.
  • The meaning behind the Session “Levels” – 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 mean, so you can appropriate choose the sessions for you.
  • The type of Sessions – PreCon, Regular, Spotlight, Half-Day and Lightning Talk.
  • Networking and meeting new people.
  • Registration schedule.

If you missed out, it is worth watching the session recording.

At this stage, the PASS Summit organizers are busy with allocating sessions to the appropriate rooms. Some sessions may be moved to another location depending on the demand. So make sure that you use the Schedule Builder to choose the sessions that you would like to go to. Seats are allocated on first come first served basis. Most of the time, there will be enough seats. In the case that the room is too full or you miss out on some sessions, you can pre-purchase the sessions now, or after the event.

I would also like to remind you that there is going to be another upcoming webcast What to Expect at PASS Summit 2012 – presented by Rick Heiges.

I hope by now you would already have the following things organized:

  1. Transport / Accommodation
  2. Use the schedule builder to put together a list of sessions to go to
  3. Check out the networking events
  4. Have your business cards ready

It is wise to visit the Registration booth at the Convention Center, to get your pass for the Summit and your swag bag on or before early Tuesday, 6 Nov 2012 at the Convention Center. They usually have enough Staff to serve a large crowd at the Registration booth, but it’s better to get them early then missing out on your First Timers Orientation session. Registration opens from Sunday evening, 4 Nov 2012. See the At-a-Glance page for more information on the schedule and what you could expect at the Summit.

By the way, SQL Saturday #172 in Portland (about an hour by plane) is held on Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, which is free. There is also SQL Saturday #166 in Olympia (about 90 minutes drive from Seattle) which is held on the Saturday after, 10 Nov 2012, and is also free. So, why not check them out if you’re in the area! There will be lots of people attending PASS Summit who are presenting at these SQL Saturdays, such as myself. It may be worthwhile connecting with others who may be heading to these SQL Saturdays too.


Tip #7: Have you read the Summit Bulletin?

[Posted on 12 Oct 2012]

By now you should have received the Summit Bulletin email from the PASS Headquarters, which contains a plethora of information on the exciting things that are coming up at the Summit.

I attended the Keynote sessions from PASS Summit 2011 and really enjoyed it. They talked about SQL Server 2012 last year and what’s new in the SQL / Azure world. We had both Microsoft SQL Server Executives Ted Kummert and Quentin Clark too. So, I’m happy that we have them this year again and am looking forward to hearing what they have to say in on the Keynote Addresses this year.

Did you know that PASS Summit attendees are entitled to 50% discount? There will be free Practice Test and e-Learning. If you’ve been thinking about getting your first Microsoft SQL Server certification or upgrading your existing ones to SQL Server 2012, now is a good time. You might be home with a certification or two!

Luncheons are ideal for networking and meeting new people. So I hope to see many of First Timers in my group during the Luncheons. Don’t be shy, say Hi to your fellow First Timers,/Alumni Mentors, make new friends and catch up with your old friends too 

In case you miss out the email notification from PASS, the 24 Hours of PASS Summit 2012 Preview session recordings are available from here.


Tip #6 – First Timers Events

[Posted on 8 Oct 2012]

As you may already know, PASS website contains a wealth of information on the Summit and is updated frequently.

Next week we will kick off the first couple of First Timers events:

(Subject to Change)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

20:00 GMT Webcast: SQLPASS 2012 First-Timers – presented by Denny Cherry

Thursday, October 25, 2012

16:00 GMT Webcast: What to Expect at PASS Summit 2012 – presented by Rick Heiges

I would also like to remind you of the Professional Networking Events on Nov 6th afternoon. Please ensure that you send the RSVP on time to secure your spot. If you haven’t received an invitation, please let the organizers know.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1:00pm – 4:45pm Professional Development and Networking Workshop Session #1* (Room 4C 3&4)

2:00pm – 2:45pm Professional Development and Networking Workshop Session #2* (Room 4C 3&4)

3:00pm – 3:45pm Professional Development and Networking Workshop Session #3* (Room 4C 3&4)

4:00pm – 4:45pm Professional Development and Networking Workshop Session #4* (Room 4C 3&4)



Tip #5 Maximising your First Timers Experience

[Posted on 4 Oct 2012]

One of the ways to get the most of the PASS Summit is to have at least one goal on what you want to achieve, even if it was just to “hang out” with SQL Family. Everyone is unique 🙂

I would recommend having a list of 3 goals – you don’t have to be “hardcore” about it, but keep them in mind when you are at the Summit. A few “goals” require planning, like which sessions to go. You may find that some sessions are conflicting with one another; or may be changed on the date. So for that reason, it would worth noting other sessions of interest that are in the same time slot.  Check out the Schedule Builder, where it’s an equivalent of “wish list” or “shopping cart”. Once you’ve picked the sessions you want to go to, you can have the list emailed to you or added to your calendar.

During the Summit, especially the Professional Network session(s) and the orientation, there will be a lot of opportunities to network. So, be sure you are ready and bring your business cards.

It may sound silly at first, but I’ve been asked for business cards numerous times during these events. It seems to be expected these days.



Tip #4 – Schedule

[Posted on 27 Sep 2012]

Great news! The PASS Summit 2012 schedule is out. You can check it out via the following links

Schedule in PDF format

Interactive Schedule via Pivot Viewer by LobsterPot Solutions

As it gets closer to the date, there’s going to be more tools available that will help you to add the sessions to your calendar. So, keep an eye out.


Tip #3 Transport and Accommodation

[Posted on 27 Sep 2012]

6 weeks away from PASS Summit seems to be long, but it really isn’t – especially if you are not local. If you are not based in US, like myself, it would be worthwhile organising your visa, flights and accommodation as early as possible.

Similarly if you are not based in Seattle, please organise your flights/transport as well as accommodation as soon as possible.

For travel and accommodation to PASS Summit, please consult the PASS Summit 2012 Travel & Accommodation page.

If you’re local, well, what can I say other than lucky you!

It would also be worthwhile to start planning on how you’d want to get to Washington State Convention Center, i.e. by car or public transport, etc.


Tip #2 – 24 Hours of PASS Summit 2012 Preview

[Posted on 20 Sep 2012]

In less than an hour, we will start the 24 Hours of PASS Summit 2012 Preview. It’s virtual, free and is a sneak peak of what you’re going to see at the Summit this year. Quite a few of these sessions are actually from the Pre-Con, so if you are still “umm-and-arr”-ing which Pre-Con sessions to go to, check them out at 24 Hours of PASS. If you haven’t registered, it’s not too late.

Stay connected by using #24HOP on twitter.

Update: Session recordings should be available within 2 to 3 weeks post event.


Tip #1 – Stay Connected

[Posted on 19 Sep 2012]

So, we are just 7 weeks away.

A great way of staying connected is via Twitter, with hashtag #sqlpass. For in person events, designed specifically for First Timerswhich you can have a look here: This page will be updated with more information for First timers and events, so please check regularly.

Please mark your calendar to remind you of these events. I would encourage you to make yourself available in the afternoon of Nov 6th, 2012, especially for registration and attending the First Timers Orientation.


Other resources

PASS First Timers Guide and Schedule – 2012 edition by Jen McCown

Attending the Pass Summit, Pre-Summit Planning for First timers by  Pat Wright

How do you introduce yourself to people at SQLPass Summit?  by Jen Stirrup

Community Blog Roundup for PASS Summit 2011


PASS Summit 2012 - Nov 6th - 9th 2012