PASS 2008 Keynote, Part 1: Wayne Snyder

This is the first full day of the PASS 2008 conference in the wonderful city of Seattle. After a great pre-con with Bob Beauchemin, a lively SQLServerCentral party and a severe attack of jet lag, I emerged bleary-eyed for the Wednesday morning Keynote address

Usually I like to listen, digest and then blog, but through my press association I have signed up as an industry blogger and this will be my first live blogging experience.

The keynote opens spectacularly enough. The lights dim to the loud refrain of “Born to be wild” and then the spotlights rise on Wayne Snyder, PASS president, sitting astride an impressive hog (motorbike).

Wayne reports on the “explosive year of growth for PASS”, with the belated arrival of the new PASS website, the introduction of free PASS membership (make it free…who would of thought that would work?!) and a 70% increase in the number of PASS chapters to 136.

He stressed the fact that the community run PASS – they choose the speakers for the conference, rate them to determine whether they come back again – but also that PASS is developing a “renewed and closer” relationship with Microsoft. There is one Microsoft developer for every ten attendees at the conference this year, which is impressive and something that would not have happened if Seattle wasn’t quite near Redmond. 100 people took up the opportunity to get SQL Server 2008 certified while at the event and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

After an interlude in which Wayne introduced the PASS board and those up for election, he returned to the growth theme. In a year when training money is low, jobs are soft most conferences are down, PASS had bucked the trend. There are 2445 registrations this year, up from 1528 last year, which is heartening to hear.

Wayne urged everyone to get the most out of the summit. Talk to MS developers, fellow attendees, third party exhibitors and the person sitting next to you at lunch. Sound advice. He signed off by introducing Ted Kummert, Vice President of Data and Storage Platform Division…