PASS Summit 2019 Wrap-Up

I’m home from PASS Summit 2019, recovered from the travel, and in the post-Summit “I miss #SQLFamily” funk. Time to recap the week, maybe a bit differently than it’s been done in the past (at least by me). Not going to get too far into the technical stuff because what was thrown at us was a bit overwhelming, and it’ll take a while for it to all soak in. I’m going to tell the story of my Summit 2019 experience through shoutouts to the folks I connected and reconnected with. Let’s see how this format works out.

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Preparing for PASS Summit 2019 – Logistics & Survival

It’s time once again to prepare ourselves for the endurance test that is PASS Summit, November 5-8. I’ve participated in the Summit Buddies program the past two years, but am taking this year off from it. Instead, I’m collecting information I’ve sent to to my buddies ahead of past Summits and posting it here on my blog, in hopes that it helps folks out. This is going to be broken down into a couple posts.

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PASS Summit 2018 – A Lesson in Personal Branding

Last year at PASS Summit 2017, I heard a number of comments related to people not recognizing me without the hat in my social media photo/avatar. The linked post started and concluded with the notion that I needed to take a new photo.

That never happened. Instead, I embraced The Hat. And it was totally worth it. I got a bit of ribbing from folks early in the week but it was all friendly. Trying to meet up with people at various points in the week, I’d get messages like “I’m in (location), looking for your hat, where are you?” People introduced themselves when they spotted me doing my PASS Ambassador duties because they recognized the hat from my photo.

A couple people had more fun than I expected:

I met a few people sans hat and they didn’t immediately connect me (the person) with me (the Twitter account). Not a big deal, but I learned an important lesson from it. Apparently, this is how I’m known in a portion of the community now – the guy in the hat. Folks are accustomed to seeing/talking to me on Slack/Twitter with a particular image next to my name. That’s the image of me they have in their mind. Therefore, it’s best if I maintain that appearance offline as well.

I’m OK with this. It sets me apart from the crowd a bit and as time marches on and protecting my head from the elements becomes more important, it becomes a more necessary part of my wardrobe. At big events like this where I’m actively trying to meet people I’ve only spoken with online, I just need to be more consistent about wearing it.

The Hat stays!

PASS Summit 2018 – Photos

My album of people and events at Summit 2018. Somehow a number of photo opportunities were missed!

PASS Summit: Planting Seeds of Knowledge

On the eve of this year’s PASS Summit, I find myself reflecting on my first Summit in 2012. My employer was generous enough to pay for not only Summit itself, but a pre-con session on Tuesday as well.

I was a developer with an interest in SQL Server and PowerShell at the time, not a DBA. Becoming a DBA wasn’t on my radar yet. Regardless, I used the opportunity to attend a full-day class on managing SQL Server with PowerShell, taught by Allen White (blog | twitter). One of the big focal points of the day was the SQL Server Management Objects, aka SMO.

What I learned that day wasn’t immediately usable in my day-to-day job. Parts of it flew way over my head at the time. But the seeds were planted. It’d be several years before I got to the point of really applying it. Initially, my application was limited to some development “DBA-lite” tasks and suggestions for our sysadmins.

After a job change to become a full-time DBA, I started using and then contributing to dbatools, which uses SMO heavily. That previous exposure to SMO proved very beneficial. dbatools provides a lot of functionality, but it doesn’t do “everything.” In my own scripts, I’ve used that knowledge of the SMO object methods and properties to extend that functionality.

As I pore over this year’s schedule, I remind myself and ask you to consider not just what’s applicable to your present work and environment. Catch some sessions just to see what else is out there, or what’s coming. It’ll open doors for you in the future. Being informed about a wider range of topics will help you guide the conversation toward better solutions in the future. You don’t have to become a master of the topic; just know that something exists, what it can be applied to (equally valuable: where it won’t apply), and where to start gathering information if the solution is worth pursuing.