PASS Summit 2013 and SQL Saturday Charlotte in Review

I love reading the many blogs posts that pour in following a PASS Summit.  I think it is fun to read everyone’s experience.  There’s not really a wrong way to attend the conference unless you just hide our in your hotel the whole week.  Here’s how my week went.


This was a travel day for me.  I drove with Brad Schacht and Gareth Swanepoel up to Charlotte from Jacksonville.  This was a fun 5.5 hour drive as Gareth live tweeted our trip with the hashtag #sqlwolfpack.  We arrived Sunday night with just enough time to go register for the conference before registration closed for the night.


Monday Brian Knight and I delivered a full day precon on Growing up with Analysis Service: Power Pivot to MOLAP.  We had about 100 in the audience for an exciting day of learning.  We took the approach of telling a story of an Analyst that created a Power Pivot model but as requirements changed there was a need to find a more scalable solution through the other forms of Analysis Services.


This was a lighter day for me but I did stop by and visit the networking party hosted by Andy at Buffalo Wild Wings. I also spent much of this day setting up the Pragmatic Works’ booth prior to the opening of the event on Wednesday.


The opening of summit started with the keynote describing a hybrid approach to SQL Server (On Premise and Cloud).  I’m seeing more and more momentum Microsoft cloud.  A lot of the crowd that wasn’t buying into is years ago are now starting to see the benefits clearly now too so that’s helping. 

After lunch I delivered a presentation on Creating an End to End Power View Reporting Solution.  In this session I show what is needed to go from basic data source to full reporting solution using Power View.

After all the sessions were complete the Exhibiter receptions started and the Pragmatic Works’ booth hosted a book signing.

I also attended a Karaoke party hosted by Pragmatic Works that night with a live band.  You can check out about 200 pictures from that event here.


On Thursday I presented a session with Dustin Ryan on Choosing the Right Analysis Services: Tabular vs MOLAP.  This was the first time I had ever presented with Dustin and I think it went really well.  I especially enjoyed how we worked off each other to make our points together.  Demos were of course planned but the banter was all thought of on the spot.

I also attended a couple sessions on Thursday.  One on Real Time Data Warehousing on PDW and then also the BI Power Hour.


I worked the Pragmatic Works booth much of this day and then went to the SQL Saturday Charlotte Speaker dinner at night. 


I presented a session at SQL Saturday Charlotte on Power Query.  I had a lot of great questions in this session, which happens to be one of my favorite topics right now.  The event was incredibly organized.  I tip my hat to the organizers who obviously put a lot of work into getting the event together.

PASS Summit 2012 Recordings Available

Did you attend PASS Summit and miss out on some sessions because there were so many or you were busy networking?  Good news!  The recordings are now available for free to watch streaming for all those who attended the conference now here.

If you weren’t an attendee you can still watch the sessions for a small price here.  Enjoy the great content!

PASS Summit 2012 Review

Life is finally returning to normal after a great week in Seattle for PASS Summit 2012.  The entire year is basically other smaller events (still great events!) that occur to pass the time until Summit arrives.  Like Ted Kummert said in the keynote on Wednesday PASS Summit is like a big family reunion. 

Here’s a summary of how my week went:


I did my duty of Early Voting in Florida (I didn’t know then it would take Florida 5 days to announce it’s winner) before taking for an afternoon flight to Seattle.  After landing in Seattle I drove with Bradley Schacht to meet several other Pragmatic Works employees for our companies annual hike up Mt. Rainier.



We woke up early Saturday morning and began our hike up Mt Rainier.  The weather was less than ideal for our plans, but we wanted to see how close we could make it to our goal of Camp Muir, which was 4.1 miles up from our starting point.  Unfortunately, we did not reach our goal because of the weather but it was a blast anyways. Hopefully next time I’m in Seattle we can go for it again.


You can tell this photo was taken pretty early on because I’m still smiling and not wearing my hood yet.


We took our time leaving the cabin by Mt. Rainier and drove to Bellevue for a visit to the Microsoft store where a couple of the Pragmatic Works guys bought the new Surface.  Then we all returned our rental cars and made the light rail trip back into Seattle.  After checking into our hotel we all ran up to the convention center and registered ourselves.  I stayed with Brian this night to prepare for our precon the next day, while most of the others went to the penthouse they rented for the week, I would join them later. 


Here’s a view from the penthouse.


Monday was the first day for Pre-Conference seminar, Brian and I were delivering ours on Implementing a BI Solution using SQL Server 2012.  There was a lot of material to cover but we managed to do it and I think everyone really enjoyed the seminar.  We presented using election data which was very topical seeing that the presidential election was on Tuesday. 


Picture of our packed house during the seminar.


Tuesday I was free to be irresponsible so I woke up late (7:00 AM) and took my time heading to the Boeing facility in Everett, WA with Bradley Schacht and Chris Price.  No picture taking allowed at the Boeing Factory, but I did get some nice souvenirs for my kids here.


Wednesday I had a very busy day.  I went to the keynote, presented my session, worked our booth during the exhibitor expo and partied hard at the Hard Rock karaoke event.

The keynote had many great announcements including one I’ve been waiting to hear about: Multidimensional cubes working with Power View.  There were other big announcements like Hekaton and Polybase.

After lunch I presenting my sessions on Adapting your ETL Solution to use SSIS 2012.  I think the session went great.  I had a lot of great questions that kept me pretty occupied after the session was over.

At night was the Exhibitor Expo where the Pragmatic Works booth held a book signing and gave away passes to our SQL Karaoke party that night.  The Karaoke event at the Hard Rock Cafe was amazing with a live band and plenty of space to just chat and hang out if Karaoke isn’t your thing.


Here’s the line of people waiting to get a signed book.


SQL Karaoke at Hard Rock Cafe with a live band.


This was my last day of presenting sessions.  Unfortunately, I was the last session of the day and others had presented similar topics several times throughout the week so I only has about 30 or 40 attend.  The session was on creating a Power View solution, where I showed how to create a model and Power View report as an end to end solution. 


Friday I worked the Pragmatic Works booth all morning and headed down to Pike’s Place Market for some last minute sight seeing before our red-eye flight back. 

It was a great week and I can’t wait for the BI Conference in Chicago.

24 Hours of PASS Recordings Available

If you missed any of the great 24 hour of PASS sessions from September you can now watch the recordings.

Details on my session can be found below:

Session 01 – Choosing the Right Reporting Platform
Presenters: Brian Knight, Devin Knight
Download presentation slides (PDF)

Why do you attend sessions? – Survey Results

Several weeks ago I posted a quick survey on my blog that asked how you choose a session to attend when you have so many options at conferences.  Thought I’d share the results of the survey today. 


I don’t think there’s anything surprising about it.  Most people overwhelmingly responded that the number one reason they choose to attend a session is simply because they needed to learn the topic.

24 Hours of PASS

Tomorrow Brian Knight and I will kick off 24 hours of PASS with a session on Choosing a Microsoft Reporting Platform.  I hope you’re able to join use and indulge in the all day learnathon that PASS is putting on with great list of amazing speakers.

If you’ve never attended 24 hours of PASS I encourage you to check out as many sessions as possible!

From the PASS website:

24 Back-to-back Hours of Free SQL Server Training!
Get your learning on – indulge in free online SQL Server training with the upcoming 24 Hours of PASS Summit Preview event on September 20, 2012. Join SQL Server experts as they take to the virtual stage with in-depth sessions on the hottest SQL Server topics over 24 consecutive (and free!) technical webcasts. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll gain access to best SQL Server training, delivered to your computer.

Browse the sessions by schedule or track and register today, it’s free.

This 24 Hours of PASS event gives you a glimpse at the unmatched technical content PASS Summit 2012 has to offer across 190+ technical sessions, pre-conference seminars, and invaluable networking opportunities. Find out why you should attend and justify your attendance today. You won’t want to miss PASS Summit 2012 in Seattle, WA, Nov. 6-9.

Why do you attend sessions?

Many of you have attended sessions by technical speakers at conferences and mini-conferences like SQL Saturday, SQL Rally, 24 Hours of PASS, PASS Summit and many other non-PASS affiliated conference.

You all have different reasons for attending a particular session so I thought it would be interesting to take a poll on what your number one reason for attending a session is. Obviously, you may at times use all of these reasons but i’m curious what your top reason for choosing to attend a session is. Feel free to leave a comment if it appears I’ve left off (I didn’t want a 15 option poll) a big reason for you. I’ll reveal the results next month!


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