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PASS Summit 2018 Feedback and Ratings

Biml (Business Intelligence Markup Language)

Oh, the nerves… We have now received our PASS Summit 2018 feedback! It is always terrifying opening up session evaluations for the first time :)

This year, I presented a 10-minute Lightning Talk on Azure Data Factory and a 75-minute General Session on Biml. In this post, I will share the feedback, ratings, and comments I received on my general session. I will also include my own thoughts.

But first: Thank you to everyone who attended my session at PASS Summit 2018, and a huge thank you to everyone who also spent time providing feedback! It is much appreciated and extremely important so we can learn and improve :)

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Speaking at PASS Summit 2018

In one week from now, on November 6th, PASS Summit 2018 kicks off with its v.20 Celebration party! Yay! :D

Cathrine Wilhelmsen is speaking at PASS Summit 2018

This will be the 20th PASS Summit, and my 6th time attending. These years have just gone *whooosh*! I have gone from being a shy first-timer in 2013, a volunteer in 2014, a crazy costume lady in 2015, a triple speaker in 2016, and a member of PASS HQ in 2017. I think this year I’m starting to move backwards – I’m “just” a speaker again! But I’m only presenting two sessions this year :)

I will be presenting one 10-minute Lightning Talk on Azure Data Factory, and one 75-minute General Session on Biml.

Nervous!

While I love talking about Biml, I’m very nervous about my session this year. Why? Because it’s a level 400 session, and that can mean very different things to different attendees. I presented a version of this session at SQLBits earlier this year, and I got feedback ranging from “too basic, needs more demos” to “too technical, needs more explanations”. I’m expecting similar feedback from PASS Summit :)

But! I have been working a lot on this session over the past couple of months. It will be different from what I presented at SQLBits, and it will even be different from the version I presented for MDPUG Norway, which was supposed to be my rehearsal. While I presented for MDPUG Norway, I realized that I had way too many things I wanted to improve, and have been tweaking ever since. Looking forward to it, but also very, very, very nervous!

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Ready for PASS Summit 2017?

PASS Summit 2017

PASS Summit 2017 is coming up next week! Are you getting excited? I know I am!

Every PASS Summit is a new experience for me. I have gone from being a shy first-timer in 2013, a volunteer in 2014, a crazy costume lady in 2015, and a triple speaker in 2016. This year I’ll be working for PASS HQ, hosting meeting, helping out with the First-Timers program and Birds of a Feather luncheons, and doing a bit of speaking. And a few other things :)

Things to look forward to at PASS Summit 2017

There are SO. MANY. THINGS. to do during PASS Summit! I’m still waiting for someone to figure out how to a) clone a person, b) teleport people, and c) merge human clones. It’s going to make my life so much easier. But! Before then, we just have to try to make the most of things. Here are some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.

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Speaking at PASS Summit 2016

Speaking at PASS Summit 2016

The first time I submitted to PASS Summit was in 2015. My Lightning Talk was accepted, and I was so excited about getting the opportunity to speak at the largest SQL Server conference in the world! I had a fantastic time, so I decided to try again and submit for PASS Summit 2016 as well.

While on vacation in Spain with my family, I woke up to an e-mail from PASS HQ. The Call for Speakers Results! I was reading the e-mail on my phone, so it felt like I was scrolling and reading and scrolling and reading and scrolling and reading until I finally got to the actual results.

Accepted!

Accepted!?

ACCEPTED!??

I didn’t just get one of my sessions accepted. I got 2 general sessions and 1 lightning talk accepted. I nearly fainted! I had to read it several times before it sunk in. I’m going to speak at PASS Summit 2016. Not once. Not twice. But three times in one week.

…WHOA!

Wuuut!?

I have mixed feelings. I’m super excited, super happy, and extremely honored to be selected! But I also know several amazing speakers who definitely should speak at the PASS Summit who weren’t selected this year. In one way it feels like I stole a session from someone who deserves it more than me. At the same time, I literally jumped around of joy when I read my e-mail. It’s difficult. I’m happy that I was selected, I’m happy for the other speakers who were selected, I’m especially happy for my friends who are speaking at the PASS Summit for the first time, but I’m also sad to hear about all my friends who weren’t selected. But next year! I’ll cross my fingers that it’s their turn next year :)

My sessions at PASS Summit 2016

I will present three sessions at PASS Summit 2016:

Biml for Beginners: Speed Up Your SSIS Development (General Session, 75 minutes)
Advance Your Career by Becoming a Volunteer (General Session, 75 minutes)
5 Ways to Advance Your Career by Becoming a Volunteer (Lightning Talk, 10 minutes)

The Biml for Beginners session is one of my favorites, and I’m so happy I get to present it at PASS Summit! :D I’m happy I have 15 minutes extra compared to the usual 60-minute sessions at SQLSaturdays. It allows me to go a little more into detail on some of my demos, or spend more time on audience questions. This is going to be fun!

I’m also really excited about presenting a Professional Development session and a Lightning Talk version of it. Volunteering has truly changed my life. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for getting involved in the PASS and SQL Server community. I hope that I can pay it forward and inspire someone else to get involved – maybe an upcoming SQLSaturday organizer or speaker? :)

Every PASS Summit I’ve been to has been a new and unique experience. I can’t wait to see what PASS Summit 2016 is going to be like! I’m sure I will be freaking out about my sessions :D But I also know I will have lots of fun, and I can’t wait to see lots of friends from all over the world again. YAY!

Abstract Feedback

Several speakers have shared their abstract feedback after the results were made public. Brent Ozar has added a list of these speakers to his own feedback post. I appreciate the transparency, I learn a lot from reading other people’s feedback, and I hope that it will help the community as a whole and improve the selection process next year – so I’m jumping on the bandwagon :)

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Ready for PASS Summit 2015?

PASS Summit 2015

There are only a few weeks left until PASS Summit 2015! Are you as excited as I am!? :D

Tips for PASS Summit First-Timers
First of all: Hi to you! :) PASS Summit is a fun, crazy and amazing event and I hope you get as much out of the week as you possibly can. It can all seem very overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to the SQL Server community. But don’t worry! The SQL Server community is the best community in the world, and we’re happy to welcome you to the #SQLFamily.

Tip #1: Twitter

If you don’t already have a Twitter account, get one! It’s a great way to get the latest news about what’s happening, connect with attendees, and keep in touch with everyone when you get back home. Follow @sqlpass and use the hashtags #SQLPass, #Summit15 and #SQLFirstTimers to make sure everyone can see your tweets. I recommend using Tweetdeck to organize content into columns, for example a column just for the hashtags mentioned above. It makes it so much easier to use Twitter.

Tip #2: Say “hi!”

I know, I know, I know. People are scary. It can be terrifying to look up from your phone, step out of your comfort zone and approach someone you don’t know. Do it anyway! You will meet so many interesting people, and you will get so much more out of your PASS Summit experience. Maybe it will become a life-changing experience like it did for me and so many others? You won’t know unless you go for it :)

A tip is to look at people’s name badges and ribbons. It will tell you where they’re from, if they’re first-timers, if they’re speaking, if they’re chapter leaders and so on. If you get completely stuck and feel completely awkward and feel like running away, like I have on many occasions, just point at the name badge and read something on it with a question mark at the end. “Summit Volunteer…?” “BimlUser…?” “MVP…?” – and off you go! ;)

Here’s a short list of questions to get you started:

  • How was your trip to PASS Summit?
  • How is Seattle compared to where you’re from?
  • How did you get started working with SQL Server?
  • What did you think of the keynote / session / luncheon?
  • Which sessions are you planning to attend?
  • Which session has been your favorite so far?
  • You’re a first-timer as well! What has been your favorite part of PASS Summit?

And so on. I’m sure you can add a hundred more to the list! :)

Tip #3: Attend the evening events and don’t eat alone

I know, I’m really pushing this whole “network and be social” thing, aren’t I? :) We all need some quiet time, but try to join someone for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are always someone who are too shy to sit down at a table and introduce themselves, why don’t you join them instead? The Women In Technology and Birds of a Feather luncheons are great events where you can learn and eat at the same time. Finally, attend the Welcome Reception, Exhibitor Reception and Community Appreciation Party where there’s more food, drinks and lots of people having fun. If you’re not done for the night, there are plenty of after hour events organized by and for the community. Have you heard of #SQLKaraoke? It’s a thing. You must experience it once during PASS Summit ;)

Tip #4: Hang out in the Community Zone

There are comfortable bean bags, power outlets and always something going on. You’ll usually find a bunch of people who are active in the community running user groups, SQLSaturdays and virtual chapters. This is the best place to hear how you can keep learning when you get back from PASS Summit. Also, did I mention fun? This year there will be a TeaSQL event for tea lovers, you might spot some crazy costumes and kilts, or you can try juggling said bean bags :)

Tip #5: Get even more tips for first-timers

Attend the PASS Summit first-timers events to get even more tips and meet other first-timers. Read Edwin Sarmiento’s great first-timers guide and read all the blog posts by other members of the SQL Server community. And don’t forget to use Twitter. There are some great #PASSAdvice for all attendees, and just ask if you have any questions!

See you in Seattle!
Enjoy your week, make new friends and learn lots of cool new things. I hope you have a fantastic time in Seattle, and I hope to talk to you there! Please come and say hi if you see me, and I hope to read your tweets :) See you soon!

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