Reflections on PASS Summit 2013

Back home after an awesome PASS Summit.  I wish I could have stayed for SQL Saturday Charlotte, as they had a great speaker line up including Jeffrey Wang (b) and Teo Lachev (b|t).

It would have been good to have others from the UK/Europe who couldn’t make it including Chris Webb (b|t), Jamie Thomson (b|t), Mick Horne (b|t), Marco Russo (b|t) and Alberto Ferrari (b|t).

It felt great to finally speak after submitting abstracts 9 years in a row. As I said in my session, I totally understand that there is stiff competition in my area of SSAS/MDX/DAX. Marco Russo mentioned that there was a different speaker selection process this year, where (as I understand it) the initial screening team didn’t know the names of presenters. To be honest, this is probably why I got selected, which I’m obviously happy about. But I understand that many attendees (including myself) come to PASS hoping to watch well-known, established speakers’ sessions. As I discussed with Brent Greenwood (b|t), I think the fairest policy is to assign some sessions to established speakers, and other sessions to upcoming talent to give them a shot. I’m sure PASS has every intention to implement a fair policy regarding speaker selection.

I had a blast at the Pragmatic Works #SQLKaraoke event. The best people to rock out with are of course drunk people because they are easily pleased. It was great to see Emily Jones, Michael Fritts and Brian Knight. Here is a video of me of me singing STP Interstate Love Song, and here is Emily and Brian.

I was hit hard by jet lag and hardly slept the whole time in Charlotte. So I had plenty of Red Bull to keep me awake during the day, which then meant I got even less sleep the next night (genius).

My session was on Friday at 8 AM. I tweeted this at 4 AM.

Tweet 1

It got re-tweeted almost immediately at 4 AM. Interesting.

As it turns out, I did get quite a few late arrivers to my session (they were all smartly dressed though).

I spent the first half an hour talking about tabular schema compare / BISM Normalizer / enterprise topics such as deployment of large tabular models, version control, code branching/merging, etc.

I’m happy I got a good turnout. However, I think I would have got a lot more if I’d named my session differently. Instead of “Get Your MDX/DAX Tips and Tricks: Currency Conversion”, a better name would have been “SSAS 2012 Tips and Tricks with Tabular Schema Compare”.  Multiple people at the Birds of a Feather table said they would have attended my session if they’d known I was going to cover tabular schema compare.

To keep the audience awake, I threw a bunch of stress balls at them when they responded to my questions. I assume that, as there were no stress balls thrown back at me, they found my jokes mildly amusing. After what went down at the BI Power Hour, I was not in the least bit worried about injuring anyone with a flying stress ball.

There is no denying that, when presenting, you want the heavy hitters to attend your session. Jeffrey Wang attended, but he arrived just after I finished talking about BISM Normalizer – which is the bit I would most have wanted him to see. This explains why I subsequently made several (repeated) references to tabular schema compare during my session. I really enjoyed my chat with Jeffrey after my session.

Tools referred to at numerous points of my session:

Regarding other sessions, I knew before I went to Charlotte that my favorite session would be Greg Galloway (b) & John Sirmon (t) on tabular performance tuning. It didn’t disappoint.

The BI Power hour was a huge hit as usual. I think the funniest moment was when Kaspar de Jonge (b|t) received an unexpected tweet from Julie Koesmarno (b|t) and proceeded to swiftly switch off his Windows 8 notifications.

I was one of the table hosts at the Birds of a Feather Lunch. I planted myself on the tabular table. Met a bunch of really experienced SSAS guys. We spent time reminiscing about things like being engrossed in George Spofford’s first MDX Solutions book back in the day – and of course my old favorite the MDX Sample application written in VB6. Great time.

As always had a laugh with Allan Mitchell (b|t), who said he would hook me up with a guy that needs a 50 terabyte SSAS implementation. Allan deals in the big league.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with #SQLFamily including Gerhard Brueckl (b|t), Allan Mitchell, Jeffrey Wang, Kaspar de Jonge, Jason Thomas (b|t), Javier Guillén (b|t), Greg Galloway, Brent Greenwood, Carlos Rodrigues, Emily Jones, Michael Frittz, Brian Knight, Matt Wolter, Pieter (can’t remember your 2nd name), and a bunch of really cool guys at the birds of a feather table (sorry – missed most your names).

2 Responses to Reflections on PASS Summit 2013

  1. Jason Thomas says:

    It was great to see you again buddy! :) Maybe at the BA Conf next?

    • Christian says:

      Indeed – it was great to see you Jason! I’ll be at the BA Conf if they accept my abstract – although my abstract on SSAS 2012 might be a bit too back end for them – I think the client facing tools are preferred at the BA Conf. We’ll see. Good luck if you are submitting.

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