PASS_2015_240x400Last week’s PASS Summit conference in Seattle, WA was incredible (as always). It’s my favorite tech event of the year, and I’ll never miss it. The SQL Server community is one of the strongest (and arguably the most tight-knit) technical community in the world, and the #sqlfamily comes together every year at this event. It’s a whirlwind of technical education and networking events.

The highlights of the week were immersing in that sense of a family reunion that we get at this event every year, plus getting the thrill of presenting the content that I love in front of a large and eager audience.

To start the week, Argenis Fernandez, Jimmy May, and myself gave an all-day preconference training session titled ‘The Complete Primer to SQL Server Virtualization‘ to a room of 90 folks. We had a blast! For those of you who did not receive my email with the attachments as promised, email me. Some emails bounced back.

Pike's Market - by Matt Slocum

Pike’s Market – by Matt Slocum

I also had a panel session called ‘Is Independent Consulting for Me?‘ on Friday morning with John Sterrett, Brian Moran, and Ben DeBow. We packed the room and had some fantastic questions from the attendees! Feel free to contact any of us for our experiences if you are seriously considering taking the plunge to go independent.

To round out the sessions on Friday, Ed Leighton-Dick and I gave a session called ‘How to Build a Virtual Home Lab‘ where we talk about the various methods you can use to build a test lab – from the smallest and least expensive local deployments to the crazy home lab that I have at my place. Let us know if you have any questions! We love to help empower people to learn in the convenience of their home at their own pace on the topics that they want to know more about (and we’re hardware geeks to boot!).

Friday night was a blast as well. To wrap up the week, we coordinated a small get together of folks for go-kart racing at K1 Speed Seattle.

K1 Speed Go Karting

K1 Speed Go Karting

Saturday a few of us also got out and explored Seattle with the Seattle Underground tour and then a trip to the Living Computer Museum. Take the time to see the sites while you’re in Seattle! It’s an amazing town!

Pike's Market Welcomes PASS

Pike’s Market Welcomes PASS

To the PASS organizers and volunteers: outstanding job! You all did another incredible job with the conference. You knocked it out of the park this year, and we look forward to seeing what you can do in 2016.

To the attendees: if you think you’re going to catch up on sleep at this conference, you’re not doing it right. the after-hours networking opportunities at this event are limitless, and the friendships will last a lifetime. Take the time to get to know folks outside of your comfort zone, because expanding your network is part of the #sqlfamily magic! Find the folks in person that you’ve been following on Twitter or reading their technical blog posts for years. Get to know them. Network with the vendors in the expo hall. Chat with random folks in the hallways. The discussions are always priceless!

Group Photo by Eve Acosta

Group Photo by Eve Acosta – Sumeet Bansal, Andy Yun, and Jon Shields

Build your own traditions while you’re here. The Tap House for end-of-day drinks seems to be a favorite of many. My favorite thing to do is to get up early on Saturday morning and go to Lowell’s in Pike’s Place Market to eat a quiet breakfast overlooking the waterfront. You get to see the city wake up, all while relaxing quietly with a cup of tea and out of the hustle of the city.

Seattle Waterfront

Seattle Waterfront

Just remember – there are no goodbye’s. I’ll see you all at the PASS Summit next year (or hopefully sooner)!

FYI – Don’t fly home Friday afternoon next year! Stick around for the afternoon sessions. They are worth it! Plus, for next year’s PASS Summit, I’m planning a new special event for Friday night for the group, so stay tuned!