I had the opportunity to present two sessions at the PASS Summit in Seattle in early November. This is the national conference for the SQL Server user group. With our youngest child now in college, my wife, Pam, was able to join me for the trip. We chose to combine the business trip with some personal travel for sightseeing and visiting far-flung family members. Yes, we did go by car covering 10 states and 4,850 miles!
We got to Washington State prior to the start of the conference and spent a day hiking in Olympic National Park and on the Pacific coast. We were fortunate to have some uncommonly dry weather for November and found the area fascinating. The Pacific Northwest has a lot to offer, and this area of the Olympic Peninsula is certainly one of the gems.
I ended up taking a ferry across Puget Sound to get to Seattle on the first day of the conference. This was great fun for someone who likes nautical stuff (you should see my office). The ferry also provided a great view of downtown Seattle from the water.
At the conference, I presented: “Tuples, Sets and Members – Understanding the Basics of MDX” and “Effective Reporting through SSRS Advanced Authoring Features.” I must admit, given Microsoft’s emphasis on the Tabular data model, I was surprised by the number and enthusiasm of the attendees of the “Basics of MDX” session. The SSRS session was all show-and-tell demos—always lots of fun.
My co-worker, Dan English, was also in the greater Seattle area that week—first attending the MVP Summit in Redmond, then participating in the PASS Summit. In addition, two SCS clients, one from Minnesota and one from Wisconsin sent employees to the conference. It was a good time to catch up and learn about new opportunities at both clients. I guess sometimes we need to travel to Seattle to have presales meetings!
The first day of the Summit, I discovered that the Minnesota SQL Saturday event, held just a week and a half prior, attracts a very active group of speakers. For Minnesota SQL Saturday, the speakers were given shirts that look like Minnesota Wild jerseys. I decided to wear my jersey for the first day of the PASS Summit. Where else can I wear that jersey without looking like a big geek—or more accurately where else could I look like a big geek and be happy about it? I was not the only one using that thought process. I saw a dozen people wearing their Minnesota SQL Saturday jerseys that day!
One of the best sessions I attended at the Summit was “DAX Patterns” presented by Marco Russo. Marco’s ability to visualize a complex DAX calculation (the expression language for Tabular data models) is impressive. His website, www.daxpatterns.com, is a great resource. I also attended a very good session by Stacia Misner entitled “Building a BI Solution in the Cloud.”
All in all, the content, the networking opportunities and yes, the sightseeing made this a great trip. The next PASS Summit is scheduled for October 27-30, 2015 in Seattle. Also, the PASS BA Conference will be April 20-22, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. Both conferences are excellent venues for learning and networking.