May 5, 2010

Speaking for #sqlpass

Posted in SQL Server at 10:00 am by David Taylor

I am a fortunate soul. I have seen Aaron Nelson’s (Blog | Twittermap of all PASS chapters in the US, and there is one near me. Fifty miles away, but check the map, that’s nearby, relatively. Not only that, but the chapter’s former president, Ken Simmons (Blog | Twitter), moved away last fall, making its future an unknown, but Jon Boulineau (Twitter) stepped in to fill the gap, and the chapter had its ‘re-inaugural’ meeting last Tuesday, April 28, 2010. Finally, fortune smiled on me because when Ken and Jon were in discussions about handing over the reins over the winter, they sent me an email, asking me to present for the group at that meeting.

This was a big deal for me. Ken is huge in the SQL Server world, an author, an MVP, a holder of five SQL certifications. Jon is the new president of the PASS chapter. These guys got together and asked, of all the people they could have asked, me to present at the first meeting after Ken left. Naturally I said yes! I have only presented once before, at SQL Saturday #32 in Tampa, just this past January, but I could not pass up this opportunity to get more involved, to help my SQL Community friends, to Connect, Share and Learn. And I did, in spades.


The evening started simply enough, we met in a meeting room at the main branch of the Columbus library. Jon had provided some snacks and drinks. There were only a few people there when I arrived, so I shook a few hands, met a couple new people, and set up my borrowed-from-work laptop on the podium. When we got started promptly at six, there were only about eight of us in the room. Not a great turnout, but, as I found out, not bad, either, as it had been a few months since the last meeting, and people had stopped paying attention to the website, etc. so the only folks there were those that knew Jon or word of mouth friend of friends.

Jon started with a question to those few of us present – what do we want the group to be? We had a lively discussion about the role of SQL Server in our lives, and discussed even other RDBMS products, even including NoSQL in the talks. We brought up many points about how some of the people in the room supported several vendors’ products in their day to day work, not just SQL Server. Of course the ‘SS’ in PASS stands for SQL Server,  hence the main reason for meeting as a PASS chapter, but with such diverse experience in the group, it was decided that while the main topic of discussion would revolve around SQL Server, the focus of the group would be the professional development of its members. It’s about the people, baby!


After about a half hour of discussion, it came time for me to present. I did the same presentation I did at SQL Saturday, Trending Reports in SSRS, but this time I had the benefit of attendee feedback from the first time, and I had changed things up a bit this time, spending less time on the descriptions of my company and how we do things, and more time on how the reports were built in BIDS. I ran into a couple glitches when I got to the point of deploying the report that I still don’t understand, but I blame it on the laptop and configuration issues. A laptop is not a server, for sure!

There were some great questions throughout the presentation, and lots of interaction. Some of the folks present had not played in SSRS, and yet were writing reports every day. I got to show off some of SSRS’ features, including ways to automate reports, delivering them in emails and to file shares, and in various formats to either, for example as Excel files or pdf files. I am no expert by any means, but I have played with all of these features, and was able to share knowledge with others who had not.


Presenting, especially to a smart group of people, is a two way street. Through both people’s questions, and through discussions of others’ use cases, I learned quite a bit about the different ways people were reporting against their SQL instances. I also learned quite a lot about how businesses outside my own operate and how SQL Server is used in those businesses.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience. It is my sincere hope that more people come out and join us as time goes on. I think that will be the case as word gets out. We’ve got some great speakers lined up for the coming months, both live and through LiveMeeting, which will give us the opportunity to get speakers that we couldn’t otherwise because of travel.

I’d like to thank Ken and Jon for inviting me to speak, and I can’t wait for next month, to be an attendee!


1 Comment »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PASS, Rishu Mehra, mike g, Josef Richberg, David Taylor and others. David Taylor said: Speaking for #sqlpass: […]

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