The PASS Summit Lineup Is Out and Registration is Open!


This year’s PASS Data Community Summit is November 13-17 in Seattle. (No online version is available this year – you gotta be there in person.)

If you’ve attended in person before, you already know the value: it’s like a family reunion for the Microsoft data community. It’s your chance to see the authors you’ve read so many times, hear their latest lessons, and network with people who can help you the next time your company has hard times. Go register.

If you’ve never attended before, here’s my sales pitch:

  • The pre-conference workshops on Mon/Tues are $595 each, and that’s a steal for a full day of in-depth training on topics that you just won’t find locally.
  • The full 3-day pass is $1,995, and the sessions are organized into learning pathways so you can quickly figure out if there are topics that are a good fit for you
  • Pick your pre-cons and your learning pathway, write them down, and then show your manager, “Here’s what I’m going to learn for $3,185.”

Send that to your manager and see what comes back. Then, the negotiation starts. Here are techniques I’ve heard folks use in order to get their companies to pay for some, if not all, of the conference, hotel, travel, and meal expenses:

  • “I understand that we don’t have a travel budget, so how about the company buys the conference ticket out of the training budget, and I’ll pay for my own travel?”
  • “I understand we only have a limited training & travel budget for the whole team. How about I go, and when I return, every Friday for the next 2 months, I’ll teach a lunch & learn for the rest of the staff, covering one of the sessions I attended?”
  • “I’m going to attend whether the company pays for it or not, and I’m going to take vacation to attend. If it’s important to you that I’m reachable during that time, you can pay for the conference ticket and travel, and I won’t take vacation, and I’ll be reachable via email while I attend the sessions.”
  • “I understand we don’t have any budget, so how about I pay for it, but you don’t make me take vacation time while I attend, and I won’t be reachable?”

I know you might be reading that and going, “There’s no way my company would go for that.”

But they do – it’s just a matter of finding the right combination that works for you and them. Go make it happen, because you need to start making connections and gaining knowledge that will help your career.

(Unfortunately, I won’t be there – Summit is the same week as the Las Vegas F1 night race. I’m super excited to see F1 cars racing down the Strip!)

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Great advice, Brent! The learning tracks look fantastic. Sorry you won’t be there..

  • TechnoCaveman
    August 15, 2023 5:20 pm

    Thanks, the email is another push to my employer to let me go.
    Sorry you will not be there however superfast cars on real streets is wild. As part of the prep work, I’ve heard at Monaco they tack weld the manholes down. Myth Busters tried it with a formula one car, but did not get the cover to lift.

  • PASS Summit is always a blast. Been lucky to attend many of them and I highly recommend. But this year I’ll do Vegas F1 too! Don’t forget the hearing protections..

  • I will caution against the “I’ll be available during the Summit” line. You might be, but it’s a _miserable_ way to spend the Summit if you’re constantly pulling out your laptop to take care of the work you’d be doing in the office. I did that all throughout the Grapevine TX Summit. I was in a 500 level session with Ken Henderson which basically opened with a single slide with something like “Hi, I’m Ken – now for a demo”. Had to look down to take care of something at the office … and I was then lost for the whole rest of the session because I missed about 2 minutes. (Ken was a crazy smart guy and really, really good at what he did.) I was working during so many of those sessions, trying to take care of office stuff and learn. It was less than effective, though I did get to attend some good sessions on the pretty new SSIS tech w/ Brian Knight and attended a neat session on indexing and such w/ Kim Tripp.

    If you do have to work, try not to do it during peak conference hours so you can mingle, listen, learn, ask questions, meet people, etc.


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