The Professional Association for SQL Server holds annual elections for the Board of Directors. The Board decides things like:
- Where to hold the annual PASS Summit – for the last couple of years, it’s been in Seattle, and the Board decided to keep it in Seattle for another few years. I blogged about my frustrations with the PASS Summit location here.
- Whether PASS should start a new magazine – in 2009, with magazine businesses failing left and right, PASS decided to launch an online magazine. You probably didn’t hear about it because the content was locked behind a walled garden, far away from search engines. Volunteers gave their time and PASS gave its money to get this thing off the ground only to give up and close it down a few issues later. Is a lack of volunteer resources really a problem? Given that the SQL Server Standard page hasn’t even been updated to reflect that it’s closed, so I’d say yes. I blogged about my frustrations with the hidden SQL Server Standard content here.
- How PASS HQ should help chapters – I launched the Virtualization Virtual Chapter last year, became the first virtual chapter to get funding directly from sponsors, and busted my hump to get it to work. I became completely disenchanted when the PASS Board contact for virtual chapters couldn’t be bothered to phone into their own scheduled meetings for virtual chapter leaders. I didn’t blog about this because I hoped it would get better, and in a sense it did – they stopped having the meetings, sending a clear signal about the worth of chapters.
- Launching PASS’s own social network, the PASSport – apparently because PASS could do a better job at LinkedIn, FaceBook, or Twitter, they put resources into launching PASSport, a social networking program. Meanwhile, the community launched the #sqlhelp tag on Twitter with zero resources and accomplished much more.
- Starting blog syndication – I couldn’t speak out against this when I was Editor-in-Chief of SQLServerPedia because I would have sounded like I was bashing competition, but I was convinced there was no way this would succeed. Managing a blog syndication tool is seriously hard work, not just something you slap together in code and walk away from, and I knew this would be another one of those shiny objects that distracted PASS momentarily. Today, with all of the killer blog content out there, the PASS syndicated feed is averaging 1-3 posts PER MONTH. SQLServerPedia syndicates more good content per day.
I mention those things in particular because they’ve been hot-button issues for me. I’ve watched PASS do these things, and I just shook my head. I didn’t understand why the Board would make decisions like this, and I looked forward to election time so we could set things straight. I felt that the existing leadership was making some gambles that just didn’t make sense in the year 2010.
I couldn’t wait for election time so I could help make a real difference in how the Board operates.
Meet the Board of Director Candidates
So let’s meet the candidates in alphabetical order:
- Allen Kinsel: Blog – @SQLInsaneo – Election Profile
- Andy Warren: Blog – @SQLAndy – Election Profile
- Douglas McDowell: Blog – @DouglasMcDowell – Election Profile
- Geoff Hiten Blog – @SQLCraftsman – Election Profile
- Mark Ginnebaugh Blog – @MarkGinnebaugh – Election Profile
Here’s where it starts to suck for me: all of these guys are good guys. I can’t wave my hands and say, “WE CAN’T ELECT THIS GUY, HE’S AN IDIOT! HE’S NEVER DONE ANYTHING FOR THE COMMUNITY!” All of these guys have a long history of volunteering for the community, doing good work at the local and regional level. I respect their accomplishments and their technical knowledge.
And it gets worse – this isn’t even everyone who tossed their hat in the ring! The PASS Nomination Committee filtered out a longer list of candidates to whittle it down to five, and along the way, Steve Jones (Blog – @Way0utwest) didn’t make the cut. Stuart Ainsworth (Blog – @StuartA) served on the Nomination Committee and blogged about why Steve didn’t make the ballot. I applaud Stuart’s honesty and transparency, and there’s a great discussion going on in the blog comments there. That means there’s two things I’m fired up about – Steve not making the ballot (because I would personally endorse Steve’s candidacy in a heartbeat), and picking the right candidates.
Who I’m Voting For
The things that matter most to me are:
- Dedication to communication – a proven history of letting us know what they’re up to via blogs and Twitter, because I want to know what PASS is up to
- Dedication to transparency – anybody who says the word “privacy” in relation to a community organization immediately gets a big -1 in my book
- Moving the Summit around to let more people experience this killer event
- Using existing community tools, not reinventing new ones thereby saving PASS resources for things that really matter
- Not focusing on meaningless metrics because membership numbers are meaningless to me – I want quality, not quantity
- Not implementing a certification program because these are hellaciously expensive to build, and would bankrupt PASS
- A willingness to rock the boat because I respect people who stand up for what they believe in, even if that opinion isn’t popular
Because these things matter to me, I’m voting for Allen Kinsel, Andy Warren, and Geoff Hiten – but that doesn’t mean Douglas or Mark aren’t worth votes. They’re great guys. It just doesn’t mean my priorities line up a particular way.
Who You Should Vote For
You shouldn’t just vote for Allen, Andy, and Geoff because I said so. You should ask questions about what’s important to you, and hear what the candidates and other people have to say.
Here’s how: go to the discussion forums at elections.sqlpass.org and start asking questions. You have to be logged in to post – click Login at the top of the page. I’ve helped by starting out several threads including:
- Should we move the PASS Summit?
- Should PASS offer a certification program?
- Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.
You can start new threads asking your own question, and you can discuss your thoughts in other people’s question threads too. I’ll edit my question posts to point to specific candidates’ answers to make it easier to navigate the forum replies, because I bet these will get active pretty quickly.