The PASS Board of Directors election starts on October 12th, and we’ve got four really well-qualified candidates to choose from:
- Brian Moran (Twitter)
- Jeremiah Peschka (Blog – Twitter)
- Matt Morollo (Twitter)
- Tom LaRock (Blog – Twitter)
You can read their bios at the PASS Candidate List, and they’re good, but I wanted more. I emailed each of them with a set of interview questions to satisfy my bizarre curiosity. Today’s response comes from Matt Morollo:
Brent: First, thanks for volunteering to dedicate your time to the community. What made you decide to run for the Board of Directors this year?
SQL PASS represents the type of Media organization that matches the type of vendor which aligns with my ideals of a highly reputable B2B Media porvider; one that would be a thrill to be a part of. Over the last 14 years my career has been committed to providing IT and App Dev professionals best-of-breed Media with integrity and enthusiasm. As a veteran Media professional that has built successful contemporary IT focused B2B businesses, my hope is to add value to the future strategy of PASS and also come away with some great experience and new professional acquaintances – people that share my passion for this work. PASS is a Media organization first and foremost and needs the next generation of Media professionals at the table to navigate through this very unique time in business Media. My aspirations match their goals and objectives, and few are as uniquely qualified in Media; this is what I do and have done all my career.
Walk us through one of your typical workdays. What do you do?
The Media business is extremely deadline oriented, dynamic, and very competitive. As many Media vendors, 1105 Media works in a virtual environment (7 offices in 10 states plus a large number of home office employees) so communication is critical to what we do each and every day; it is well orchestrated, disciplined, and highly complex. Keeping up my meeting and publishing schedules is what my day initially revolves around. When not traveling, my time is spent strategizing with sales, marketing, editorial, working on operational issues, meeting clients, developing partnerships, closing issues, forecasting, and working toward our revenue objectives. All this requires a lot of teamwork/meetings and working through day-to-day challenges as they surface. Organization and prioritization is critical in Media.
What parts of your day-to-day experience will make you a better Board of Directors candidate than the other candidates?
If this has not been stressed already; PASS is a Media organization serving a very influential community of SQL oriented professionals. Nothing is more important than serving the audience/community and content environments with the right information and asset types. My job is largely about keeping our business relevant and navigating through the murky waters of modern Media so the business is able to continue to sustain profitability and growth (my parent company, the Redmond Media Group now includes MSDN and TechNet in addition to all the Redmond branded assets in print, online plus Face-to-Face events and Virtual Conferences/Expos). Again, as someone with a track record of success, and someone who has been part of a team that has built Redmond Media Group, the most successful Media organization serving Microsoft- oriented IT and App Dev communities, no other candidate matches the experience required as the PASS BOD has outline to me.
I’ve heard that the PASS Board of Directors is a time-consuming hobby to say the least, and at this point in our careers, none of us have tons of extra time. What other projects or things do you expect to have to cut back in order to make time for the Board? (I’d just like to give the readers an idea of how tough it is to prioritize things.)
Having spent the last 14 years strapped to a PC, speaking with audiences, advertising partners, and traveling on airplanes, you cannot be successful in Media without a strong work ethic, and more importantly a passion for this business. I’m not saying being a SQL Administrator is not a hard job, but the Media business is a much different occupation – in fact given the complexity and competitive nature of the business, there is a high attrition rate and very few people and companies have had the kind of success that 1105 Media continues to have (just last week Questex and recently Cygnus filed Chapter 11 for example – B2B Media woes are in the news daily – its no secret). PASS can expect that kind of work ethic and enthusiasm from me. This business excites me and I’ve always been able to ensure the business strives and is successful through good times and bad (my personal sense is this is one of the best times as change is the most constant variable in Media and now is the time to build off that momentum). The reason why the BOD position is such a strong match is because hard work is what makes a Media business successful, and with a passion for serving Microsoft-oriented professionals, making time is something that the BOD can expect and is something that was expected upon my initial application.
I believe social networking and Web 2.0 tools like Twitter, Facebook, and StackOverflow are changing the way DBAs interact with each other, get training, and solve problems. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Do you blog and use social networking tools? Where can DBAs find you online?
Yes: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I am also a member of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Executive Council on Sales and that community puts out a lot of community based information via SmartBrief. Social Networking represent great marketing assets in my opinion. They are also great tools for communicating, and guiding participating communities to key areas of the web. For Media organizations specifically, they help keep the community up to date with information they might not otherwise find as well as sharing ideas and other information resources. Again, as a BOD member, any DBA can certainly reach me, but my role would be mostly transparent to them; the PASS board is not a platform for me (that is a key distinction as a candidate) to be a key figure in the community of SQL professionals, but rather a role where it is possible for me to ensure the PASS community gets the best information assets in the market. The goal is to help guide the PASS strategy and make it the most relevant Media vendor and community for SQL professionals. Just as a publisher, the audiences don’t know me, our editors on the other hand they are intimately familiar with. They are out there in the “mosh pit” mixing with audiences. The role of a business professional in Media like myself, is to put the best content makers on a pedestal, keep them visible and available to the core community and audiences served.
Do you have any conflicts of interest that may pose a challenge?
None; the opportunity dovetails with my ambitions, aspirations, and more importantly my ability. My track record demonstrates this as do my prior statements.
If PASS put you in charge of increasing new memberships, what specific steps would you take?
New membership is critical to all Media organizations; maintaining a qualified membership community and providing best-of-breed content are essentially, or to net down, one the core objectives of any company in the business of niche B2B Media. As a publisher who has spent years and years building communities, I’m familiar with all models including qualified, paid, SEO/M, social networking, alliances, and contemporary Audience Development (AD) practices. There is no silver bullet here and there are a number of methods in order to accomplish this key objective. I can’t sit here and tell you what exactly I can do; no one can unless they are familiar with the resources and budgets that PASS has. What I can tell you, is that I will, and am extremely qualified in the practice of Audience Development and that PASS can expect that my skills will be applied along with my experience to the best of my ability. The best and most modern AD practices will be applied with creativity and enthusiasm. My experience also involves global expansion and my understanding is that is a core PASS objective (my BA from GWU in International Communications is also relevant).
What do you think PASS is doing right to improve the day-to-day lives of database administrators?
This BOD work is a great example. The team is looking for the best from a strategic business perspective. What I can tell you, is that each nominee, unless they have a decade plus experience in building, growing, and leading B2B organizations has really has no idea what kind of challenges and how hard the work is involved in growing a Media organization like PASS. Everyone I’ve seen on the ballot may make a great speaker, writer, or be a world-class SQL DBA, but aren’t experienced in the business of Media to the extent that I am. With respect to all of the nominees, they are highly skilled SQL technicians. That’s great, but PASS is Media company serving communities with information resources that keep them captive In my opinion, based on what I know, the PASS BOD needs a MEDIA PROFESSIONAL experienced with Microsoft and IT publishing/events. The reason PASS appeals to me, and to answer the question more directly, is that PASS has a strong reputation as a provider of best-of-breed information assets with integrity, and has access to the most innovative community of SQL based content providers. The challenge is the web has opened up a whole new set of opportunities for communities to find information. The Redmond Media Group for example references SQL and supports every key vendor in this market, employs some of the best contributors who produce articles, white papers, webcasts, speak at our events on the subject, but it is much broader and focused on providing information to the MCP, Developer, IT, & Partner communities across all Microsoft disciplines. Again, let me stress that PASS is in an extremely competitive marketplace, needs to remain relevant as a key information provider, and has to work on building the communities in the midst of a highly competitive and complex environment. PASS has two key competitive advantages; a) the organization is recognized globally as the most targeted and credible community reaching top SQL Professionals b) SQL is poised to grow as the information boom continues to accelerate at a pace that is almost impossible to describe; SQL is, and will remain fundamental to the data revolution. This excites me and is why I’m so keen to be a part of PASS.
What do you think PASS could do better, and how?
This is a question for the community and one that is mission-critical as PASS evolves and grows as an organization. B2B Media organizations rely on the communities they serve to provide this kind of feedback on a regular basis via show evaluation forms, surveys, and other research. Dialogue is also important and to borrow a phrase, the community and vendor partners must be treated “like family”. They are vital in providing this kind of information and shaping the organization. The first thing I’d hope to do as a Board member, is to dive into the community surveys, research, and other data (even if its verbatim) and speak with key members in person (via email, phone, in person at local chapters). Knowing and listening to the community is the most important thing the Board and team at PASS can engage in. The community represents the future, and the work that needs to be done revolves around them. Finally, to borrow another phrase in Media “content is king”. As long as PASS remains committed to providing the best and most relevant content, PASS will continue to be successful and have the communities” attention.
Sum up your goals for PASS in 140 characters or less:
Understand key objectives, challenges, and work to assimilate myself with the board, staff, and community. Help support PASS and ensure the organization remains relevant, poised for growth, and stands alone as THE SQL Media vendor in a landscape that is complex, and dynamic.