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This week, Jeremiah, Kendra, and I are presenting at SQL Intersection, a conference that also happens at the same place and time as DevIntersection and AngleBrackets. I like Intersections because there’s a bunch of different technologies covered – SQL Server, all kinds of development, SharePoint, cloud, and infrastructure.

Kendra Polling the Audience

Kendra Polling the Audience

For our pre-con, the Accidental DBA Starter Kit, we had a little fun with the attendees. We had a little contest, picked a couple of winners, and brought them to the front of the room. Their prize: our Make SQL Server Apps Go Faster video course, but then things got trickier. We offered to give them a different prize if they’d give that up for what was inside envelope #2. After a few minutes of toying with their emotions, we announced that they weren’t the only winners, and attendees should check under their seats. 

Attendees checking under their chairs

Attendees checking under their chairs

Exactly half of the audience – the right hand side – had coupons for the video course too. We toyed with the other half of the audience (LOSERS!) for a while, and then gave them the prizes too, complete with an Oprah moment. “You get free training videos! And YOU get free training videos! Everybody gets free training videos!”

We love this stuff.

For those of you who joined us in our PASS pre-con earlier this month, you might be asking yourselves, “Hey, how come you didn’t do this at the Summit?” Well, we tried, but PASS wouldn’t let us do it:

Your prize giveaway contained direct references to your company and services…. The training material is combined with direct links to your website, other course offerings, and has your company logo viewable….

That’s a shame – we really would have loved to give away the free training to all of the attendees. After all, it’s the exact same training material they already paid PASS for, and we just wanted to make their note-taking and ongoing learning easier.

Ah, well – guess we’d better focus on our SQL Intersection post-con on Thursday. (Don’t bother checking under your chairs – or maybe I’m just saying that to throw you off the trail.)

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  1. Hey Brent, Kendra and Jes,
    I am one of those attendees to your PASS Summit Pre-Con who is really disappointed that we didn’t get the free videos. Is there any chance of providing a discount to this video training with “proof of purchase” of your Summit Pre-Con session? Even if it’s not free, I will be purchasing the training access at some point and think it would be a nice gesture if you guys could give us a break on the price. Regardless, this training has already shown its worth to my employer and is providing me “ammunition” to get back to PASS Summit 2014! Thanks for the great session!

    Dave Stokes

    • Dave – unfortunately, PASS prohibited us from doing anything like that. We tried repeatedly to make it work, but at this point, you’ll need to contact PASS to see if they’ll reverse the decision.

      If we go around them and do it anyway, there’s a risk that they would say we’re in violation of our contract, and not pay us for the pre-con.

  2. You’re doing WHAT??? (just kidding)

    That sucks. We didn’t bother asking PASS – just told everyone in Glenn and my pre-cons to email me for free access to our Pluralsight online training. And we’re doing the same as you here at SQLintersection – difference here being we make the (non-existent) rules about this stuff. I don’t understand their point of view – education is the most important thing for the attendees. Like they don’t already know about our companies and what we do…

    Cheers

  3. You’ve been living in Chicago too long.. You are starting to sound like Oprah.. In fact, check your email for a few DBA reaction suggestions ;-)

  4. I suppose PASS are probably being a little over zealous but are essentially re-iterating (mostly) standard pre-con speaker contract terms and I suppose their point is slightly understandable because this is essentially marketing (albeit one where everyone wins and one that is unlikely to directly profit BOU in any way). However that said, I have seen numerous PASS pre-cons (and post-cons) whereby free materials and links were provided to attendees delivered usually via a private url download link (branded or unbranded) so I suspect that they may have just been uncomfortable about the method of delivery in this instance -or like Paul says, the fact they were asked for permission first :)

    • Mark – seriously, dumb question here: if someone has sat in a room with us listening to our training for an entire day, aren’t we essentially marketing our training skills the entire day? By giving them videos of what they just saw, how is that *additional* marketing?

      • Agreed – I can understand them not wanting people pushing company services in sessions, but giving away free training that doesn’t detract from PASS, doesn’t compete with PASS, and only adds to the attendee’s great PASS pre-con experience seems a bit misguided.

      • Hehehe I knew you would pull me up on that statement. I am not saying I disagree with your sentiment, and you are absolutely right, they are listening to you all day and therefore buying into your services, skills and subliminal marketing anyway so what is the harm? -my personal point of view is none at all, in fact I think it is great and I wished more speakers like you made this kind of effort but there is no denying that everyone that received these videos went away feeling even more warm and fuzzy inside about you, BOU and the day they had just had; certainly more than they would have if they hadn’t been given them (like poor Dave :)).

        The problem we have here is that i believe PASS are trying to keep pre-conference sessions focused purely on content and avoid having unnecessary marketing foisted upon the attendees at every opportunity. We both know that is not the case in this instance and they have failed to make the distinction themselves about “marketing” that is GOOD for attendees and marketing that is BAD for attendees.

        I will be raising this point myself with PASS HQ since I think it is important (along with a few other issues I think need raising) and hopefully this decision can be reversed or at least qualified (and clarified) properly.

  5. Saw this on Twitter today and thought, dang it, I kind of picked the wrong conference this year! :) That said, one of our Sr. DBAs is there at least. And I appreciate the printed slide booklet that came with the PASS pre-con. It helped me review what I had learned and consolidate my gains on the flight home, and burned a couple hours in the air, as well.

    I’m going to seriously consider what conference to hit next year…but with PASS Summit, I can purchase recordings of all the non-precon sessions, as I’ve done, and SQLIntersection doesn’t seem to offer this, do they? At the Summit I was a touch overwhelmed with some quite intense, deep sessions and I had to miss several I wanted to see just because I was mentally “at capacity”, or because the interesting ones were all scheduled at the same time. Having the freedom to know I could watch them later was nice. So in that regard, PASS still has an edge on SQLIntersection for me, even though I looked at the session list with some degree of jealousy for my colleague. There’s an opportunity for SQLIntersection to close the OODA loop on PASS Summit!

    • Hey Nic, just so you know, this was the first year in a long time that you were not able to purchase the PASS precons in addition to the standard sessions. A decision I am deeply disappointed/ unhappy with, but one that has been driven (as I understand it) by certain preconference speakers (not necessarily this years ones) after raising concerns that it infringes their intellectual property. I certainly do empathize (a little) since numerous man/woman hours have gone into structuring these sessions, but I personally think that those fears of plagiarism are vastly over-exaggerated. Before this move I would have argued that the PASS preconferences are worth attending just to have the right to purchase all off them to re-watch offline and they are (were) amazing value for money because of this. Now for me whilst they are still great value on their own, there is far less reason to attend (or at very least will result in far less retention of information).

      I’d be interested how Brent and Paul/ Kimberley all feel about this decision since they are obviously the type of speakers that PASS want to keep giving them to the Summit.

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