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Good morning ladies and gentlemen! The conference hall is filling up in Seattle, and it’s time to crank up another blow-by-blow commentary.  I’ll be updating this blog every few minutes with what’s happening here at the PASS Summit.  For a refresher, check out the liveblog of yesterday’s keynote.

PASS Summit Keynote Stage

PASS Summit Keynote Stage

8:20AM – People settled in and the room’s going dark. I’ve got a much longer zoom lens today, so I can’t really capture what’s happening in the crowd, but now I’ll be able to zoom in on the sweating faces when demos break. (No, I won’t.)

8:23AM – PASS Executive Vice President Douglas McDowell taking the stage. He’s covering financial details, and he’s excited about it.

Douglas McDowell

Douglas McDowell

8:24AM – On track to be an $8mm organization this year, up about 40% from last year, 80% from two years ago. Some of this is probably due to the economy gradually recovering, but wow, what a great quick growth.

8:25AM – “We’re a nonprofit.  We’re not trying to capture profits – we’re reinvesting them in the community.”

8:27AM – Douglas says this conference is a bargain compared to other conferences.  Well, yeah, but that’s because the speakers aren’t paid, and they have to pay their own travel, hotel, meals, etc.  Other conferences don’t do that, and we’re already starting to see senior speakers pull out of the Summit.  It’d be a shame if that continued.

Revenue & Expense Growth

Revenue & Expense Growth

8:33AM – Welcoming new Board of Directors members Wendy Pastrick, James Rowland-Jones, and Sri Sridharan.  They’ll be serving 2-year terms from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014. Big thanks to outgoing board members Allen Kinsel and Kendal Van Dyke.

8:34AM – “We’re volunteers. You know what volunteers are good at? Dropping the ball.” I haven’t said this til know, but this keynote isn’t going particularly well.

8:35AM – VP of Marketing Tom LaRock taking the stage to give out the PASSion award for 2012.  Two changes in the award – added an Outstanding Volunteer of the Month award, and something else.

Tom LaRock

Tom LaRock

8:40AM – The PASSion Award winner for 2012 is Jen Stirrup! Congratulations.

Jen Stirrup - PASSion Award Winner for 2012

Jen Stirrup – PASSion Award Winner for 2012

8:41AM – Tom explains that the Board members have little black books where they’re writing down attendee feedback to improve the conference.

8:42AM – Improved communications: forums, town halls, Twitter chats, social media, feedback site, new communications platform, and more.

8:43AM – PASS Summit 2013 registration open now with an early bird discount at $1,095 until January 4, 2013.  The Summit will be October 15-18, but it’s not clear what that means because they also say there’s 3 days of in-depth training.  The 15th-18th is 4 days.

8:44AM – Lots of companies have sent over 5 employees to the Summit this year, some as many as 30-40.

Companies that sent 5 or more employees to the Summit

Companies that sent 5 or more employees to the Summit

8:46AM – Karaoke with a live band, SQLRockeraoke, tonight at the EMP Museum party.  Tom will be doing a group singalong to Careless Whisper.

8:49AM – Taking the stage, Quentin Clark, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft.

Quentin Clark talking about election analysis

Quentin Clark talking about election analysis

8:54AM – Hotels putting RFID chips into the hotel keys.  It’s a better experience for guests – easier room access – but also lets hotels spy on which guests are using the restaurant, the gym, the pool, etc.

8:55AM – The discussion then goes into Facebook, and BI moments. This might just be our Contoso Frozen Yogurt Moment coming up.

8:59AM – The room is dead. No applause, some awkward coughing. Twitter’s lighting up that this stuff just isn’t interesting to DBAs and it’s not telling a good story.  Zzzz.

9:02AM – Julie onstage to do a demo of PASS Cinemas.

Quentin and Julie

Quentin and Julie

9:10AM – Showing various pieces of technology but not actually doing any work. We got Hadoop, PDW, Azure, and enterprise data warehouses in about 3 minutes.

9:13AM – Apparently big data means small fonts. Seriously, what the hell, Microsoft?!? We complain about this every year. Demos are tedious enough in a room this big, but gimme a break. If we can’t read the screen, we get really pissed off. Value our time.

9:18AM – Body language onstage says it all. Demos are failing, bad patter, even the presenters seem bored. The room is just dead.

Body language says it all here.

Body language says it all here.

9:22AM – Demo is still just absolutely crawling. I’m cashing out mentally here. If I was watching from home, I’d have bailed fifteen minutes ago.

9:36AM – There’s a vibrant discussion going on in Twitter about how bad this keynote sucks.  Is it as bad as the fake Tina Turner that sang Simply the Best a few years ago?  What about the year when a vendor speaker kept saying, “Yadda yadda yadda”?  Tough call, but it’s definitely in the bottom.  The material may be vaguely useful, but it’s presented in tiny fonts on a big screen, totally unusable, and no cohesive story.  There’s bugs and missteps all through the demo.  The air’s totally dead, and the audience is quiet.  It’s horrendous.

With that, I’m signing off and leaving.  I don’t do this often – it’s the first time I can remember leaving a keynote – but my time is more valuable than this. I’m heading out for coffee.

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  1. Surely you’ve been to enough conferences to know not to bother with the keynote? After all, you’ve presumably bought SQL Server already, you don’t need to hear the pitch…

  2. Pingback: Denali SP1, PASS keynotes and incoming features for the next mountain |

  3. I thought this keynote would have been better and I bailed just about the same time. What was the point of that keynote and my takeaway? Why didn’t SQL Pass just get a great panel up there like a dog and pony show for the break out sessions and have presenters just pitch their sessions? I would have enjoyed that better than this terrible presentation.

    I hope PASS learns how NOT to do a keynote for next year. The reg is affordable now and should be great stuff for next year, so I’m looking forward to the breakouts, but like Gavin said, maybe I just skip the keynotes!

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