7 Days of PASS – Day 4

dayofmeetingsWell, I started the day pretty much as I ended the previous night, I woke up and immediately started working on my session again! By around 9am I decided that I really ought to head out to breakfast, and went over to the Sheraton Bar and Grill and proceeded to eat the largest amount of Bacon and Salmon that has ever been consumed in one sitting. The buffet cost me 20 Bucks, but I suspect my Salmon alone cost that much wholesale! Combined with two huge Orange juices and several hogs worth of Bacon, I was not only very happy but very full!

Right after Breakfast, I headed across the road for my first visit of the day to Starbucks at 600 Pine St. I’m going to buy Shares in that place, and their Salted Caramel Mocha really is to die for. Upon entering the premises, who did I run into? None other than the mighty Tobiasz Janusz Koprowski (b¦t) in all his Ginger-Bearded glory. After having a quick man-hug and a chat, I went into a corner to start working upon my session.

After finally setting up all my gear, I looked down at my buzzing phone to see that the SQLSaturday Leaders meeting had started! What a dope, I’d got my timings wrong so I hurriedly packed up again and headed over to it.
I will be completely honest and say that I was not really very happy with the way the meeting went. As happens every year, it was very American-centric SQLSaturday discussion (again), and some of the growth decisions and target (I think) are very badly judged. I tied to make a forceful point that PASS need to stop looking towards the USA and Western Europe for their growth targets (especially since they acknowledge that our sponsorship funds are beginning to dry up), and instead focus money and energy on those developing and emerging countries where it is also incredibly cheap to run events. Specifically, I mentioned the African continent, Indian continent, and Eastern Europe but I really wasn’t happy with the response (which was quite fluffy) and I think some others (who had a similar focus) felt the same way. I know this, because a few came up to speak with me afterwards, and we will (hopefully) put together a forceful plan and proposal to make something happen -with or without PASS. This said, I don’t want these comments to be construed or come across as being too over-critical of PASS or the Board, since it is clear to me that they do actually care, but I just think sometimes it is easier for them to go after the low hanging fruit and never try to pick the juicy apple hanging just out of reach (however misplaced I believe that to be).

soon-white-cat-green-parrot2With barely a couple of hours to go before my next meeting in the Convention Center, I hurriedly rush back to my hotel and spend the time working on my session. In what seems like just minutes of work, I am back in the conference room for the Chapter Leaders meeting. I felt this meeting was a complete waste of my time, and we went over the same old ground that we cover every year and never really seem to get anywhere. Sponsors, growth, tooling etc were just some of the things we discussed again and I guarantee that this will be discussed again at the 2017 meeting. I don’t want to sound too negative, but I just don’t feel we are ever moving forward with anything we discussed this year, last year or the year before (or the year before that).
After the meeting finished, I had only one hour before the Virtual Chapter Leaders meeting at 4.45am, and because I planned to spend the rest of my evening working on my session, I headed over to the Dragonfish Cafe for some amazing Sushi, noodles, and crispy pancakes and washed this down with two pints of an amazing beer called Scuttlebutt Porter. Forty-five minutes later I am back at the Convention Center again for my third meeting of the day!

I really enjoyed the Virtual Chapter Leaders meeting, it was a great turn out -but obviously slimmer audience than the others. I think this was conducive to a more productive meeting and Wendy Pastrick (as always) did a great job covering plans for 2017. I’m really positive about the way things are heading and the Virtual Chapters Portfolio seems to have a great future ahead of it.

It may come as no surprise to you that after this meeting I headed back to my hotel to continue work on my session, but I picked up (what I thought) was an Orange juice on the way. On my flight over I had eaten some Mango and had had incredible stomach pain for two hours, so when the same thing seemed to happen after drinking this Orange juice, closer inspection of the bottle revealed the dreaded word “Mango” in the list of ingredients. I spent the next two hours cramped in pain and then decided to go to sleep and wake up early morning to catch up on my session prep -so that is exactly what I did.

Not a great end to the day!

See also in this series:
7 Days of PASS – Day 3
7 Days of PASS – Day 2
7 Days of PASS – Day 1

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7 Days of PASS – Day 3

Comfy, but spending too much time here!

Comfy, but spending too much time here!

Today is the first day of the Summit pre-cons, and I wake up at 5am knowing that I won’t be attending. Instead, I will have a day of session preparation ahead of me because I am still behind and seriously need to get this train back on the tracks. I know the day is going to be a fairly solitary event, and so it proves, but I at least struggle to get myself to breakfast at the Dragonfish Cafe and have probably the most amazing tasting and crunchy fried potatoes ever -washed down with some eggs and American crispy bacon. One thing I have learnt about the Americans is that they LOVE potatoes and LOVE crispy bacon. But I’m not complaining!

After breakfast, I head down to Starbucks at 600 Pine St, with laptop in tow and start working on my session for the next 2 hours. I find this a good way to feel like I am still soaking up the ambiance of being in Seattle without becoming stuck with my laptop in my hotel room. Either way, I’d rather be doing something else, but it is what it is…

walk-backAfter a few hours, I decide to head over to the Washington State Convention Center and head over to registration to pick up my badges, gift, and other bits and pieces. There are only a few people kicking around since everyone else is in precon sessions, but I’m not really in the mood for talking much today so I silently grab my stuff and head back to my hotel to continue working on my session.

By now it is late afternoon, and having seen that there is the first ever Seattle User Group starting tonight, I decide that I will probably join them. I’m really not a big fan of pizza, so I decide to eat early and head down to the Taphouse for a very quick drink and food. Thirty minutes later I realize that it is time to be heading off to the User Group, so even though it is raining heavily, I duck in and out of cover whilst making my way southbound to get to where I want to go.

At the user group, Kevin Kline was giving a personal development session called “The Most Important IT Person in the Room: Why Data Experts Own the Future“, and I found some of the things he had to say quite interesting and useful. His central theme was that professionals who understand their data will be far more persuasive and important to a company than those that don’t. He wasn’t talking about us all becoming Data Scientists, only that we need to stop ignoring what is in front of our eyes because it is too important to ignore (it might sound obvious, but trust me, data ignorance is all too easy and all too common). I also really liked a point he made about inertia and motion – but I won’t ruin this soundbite for you, instead I would simply advise you to attend Kevin’s session the next time you get the opportunity.

usergroupAfter an enjoyable meeting, I  head back to my hotel in order to spend another few hours on my session. It is nearly 9pm but I am fortunate enough to walk past my increasingly regular Starbucks haunt on Pine St and delighted to find that it is still open! Now, with Salted Caramel Mocha in tow, I head back to my room and work until midnight. I am getting there, but I know that time is running out…

See also in this series:
7 Days of PASS – Day 1
7 Days of PASS – Day 2

Posted in Community, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged | 3 Comments

7 days of PASS – Day 2


After arriving the day before, the threat of jetlag was always going to be there, but I thankfully managed to sleep until 4am and snoozed for a further hour. I started the day looking forward to the return of Mourinho to Stamford Bridge, but this time he was leading a different team (Manchester United). I was of course hoping for a Chelsea win, but my biggest challenge was trying to find somewhere to watch the match. My problem was that the game would kick off at 9am (Seattle time), so a sports bar wasn’t possible, so in the end, I found a dodgy streaming site which kind-of did the job. Four-Nil to Chelsea and I was a happy man!

Shortly after the game had finished, I met up with Craig Ottley-Thistlethwaite (b¦t) and Richard Douglas (b¦t) again and we headed down to the CenturyLink Field stadium in order to see the Seattle Sounders game. In a strange piece of coincidence, this was against the exact same opponents as last year (Real Salt Lake), so I was expecting a similar result. Before we hit the game, we checked into the Elysian Fields bar for a swift half and then promptly headed to our seats. While there was not enough “playing the ball” by both teams and too much lumping it in the air, I still enjoyed another Sounders win -this time 2-1 to the hosts.

sounder20162During our walk home from the match, we stopped off at Doc Maynard’s Public House (the location of the Seattle Underground tour) to wash down the match beers with some Seattle Dry Cider. After Craig demonstrated his drinking credentials, we then headed back into Pike for our obligatory visit to the Tap House to grab some food and drink before I headed back to my room. Within minutes I promptly collapsed in an exhausted heap on my bed as the effects of a pseudo Snake-Bite took hold of my body.

Just another day in Seattle!

See also in this series:
7 Days of PASS – Day 1

Posted in Community, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged | 5 Comments