I’ll never forget my first time, but here’s the weird part: I did it alone.
In 2007, I went to my first PASS Summit conference in Denver. I’d never been to a professional conference before, and my boss, Don Duncan, was the one who actually suggested it to me. He said it all matter-of-factly: “Are there any conferences for what you do? Do you wanna go?” Uh, okay, sure.
I had no idea what to expect when I checked into my hotel. I showed up for registration the first day, and I was utterly blown away by the sheer number of people who apparently had the same job I had. You mean there’s really thousands of database people? Seriously? Where had all these people been all my life?!? My local user group didn’t really exist, and there wasn’t a friendly online community that I could find – but keep in mind that this was long before the days of Twitter and social networking.
I tried talking to other attendees to find out what they did and where they worked, and…
Nobody Would Talk to Me
Everybody thought I was some kind of salesman or recruiter or alien. The attendees just bugged out, made excuses, checked their phones, and shuffled away. Nobody wanted to actually TALK to each other – they just wanted to go from session to session and absorb the information on the screen. I couldn’t get anybody to go out for dinner or drinks with me, so I sat alone and drank champagne flights.
Let’s Help PASS Help N00bs
The PASS Summit First Timers program pairs up first-time attendees with experienced alumni. If you’re reading this, and you’ve been to the Summit before, and you’re going again this year, we need your help so that first-timers don’t have the same experience I had. Kendra did this last year, and I was so jealous – it sounded like something I’d really like, and I bet you will too.
You and I will:
- Meet & greet our assigned n00bs via email before the event
- Answer their questions to help ’em get their travel and hotels straight
- Attend the first-timer events with them on Tuesday from 2:30pm til 8pm, leading your group around
- Make lifelong friends who really appreciate your time