Thoughts On Pass Data Community Summit 2021


Pass Data Community Summit was November 10-12 and was hosted and sponsored by RedGate along with other supporting sponsors like Microsoft and smaller companies like MinionWare. Having been to last year’s virtual Summit, I think this one was done much better.

Pre-conference Sessions

There were a big collection of pre-conference sessions. I attended “AWS for SQL Server Professionals” because my current employer is entirely in AWS. Erin Stellato had an all day session on Query Store that I attended as well. For a shorter, one hour version of this presentation, click here to go to a YouTube presentation by Erin at the Saint Charles SQL Server Meetup. I learned a lot in both all day sessions and I plan on attending pre-conference sessions next time as well.

Thoughts on Pass Data Community Summit

Thoughts on Pass Data Community Summit

Things I liked about Pass Data Community Summit:

  • The main three day Summit was free.
  • Pre-conference sessions on Monday and Tuesday were accessible due to the low price for the sessions. Sessions were $200.00. I like that the speakers were getting paid for their sessions. This might always be the case. I don’t know because this is the first time I had paid for and scheduled any pre-conference sessions. Some speakers donated the money to a charitable organization.
  • Spatial chat app: This app was intriguing because it would drop you into a virtual room that had the appearance of an actual room with tables, chairs, a water cooler, etc. For people reading this who have played the Sims, the virtual lobby was very Sim-like. The application displayed a circular icon with the attendees face in it and video/audio could be turned on and off. Much like a scenario in a real building, the further your circle was from other people the lower the volume. If you couldn’t hear someone well, or just saw someone across the room that you wanted to chat with, you could move across the room by dragging your circle over next to someone.  There were a number of rooms available in addition to the lobby.
  • The session catalog: The catalog had a number of ways to find content. You could filter by day, day/time, type of session and even search for content by a speaker’s name.
  • Brent Ozar’s keynote on Friday morning. He gave a great presentation on 5 ways that the cloud impacts your career as a data professional.

Things that could have been better about Pass Data Community Summit:

  • There was widespread confusion about the 30 minute times on the schedule Wed-Fri and the need to watch pre-recorded content. As a solution, perhaps when someone is building their schedule, have a pop up on the session catalog screen that clearly tells attendees that they need to watch the pre-recorded video before the Q&A session they are scheduling.
  • Pre-recorded content that had to be watched ahead of time meant I had to spend extra time watching presentations prior to Q&A sessions. My schedule didn’t allow for a lot of that and so I opted for mostly live sessions. This also necessitated a lot of schedule changes in the My Schedule page.
  • In the Q&A sessions I did attend, which I believe I made it to 3 or 4, the attendees didn’t come with questions in hand so getting a conversation going was often slow to achieve. Maybe next year there could be a mechanism provided that would allow questions to be submitted ahead of time. These questions would go to presenters prior to their Q&A sessions.


Next Steps to Take

  1. Watch the RedGate website for additional announcements about the next Summit. They already announced that next year’s Summit will be a hybrid event.
  2. Start presenting. You don’t have to be an expert to explain how you solved a recent problem. You just describe your problem, solutions you tried and what ended up working. Someone has either had that problem and couldn’t solve it, or they will like your solution better, or someone may offer an enhancement to your solution to make it even better. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you presenting at a Pass Data Community Summit in the future!