Going to the PASS Data Community Summit this year?

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Edited to reflect the expiration data on the virtual conference code.

If you work with any of the products that comprise the Microsoft Data Platform, you hopefully have heard of PASS, the PASS Summit, or the current PASS Data Community Summit. If you haven’t, follow this link and check it out. Suffice it to say that it has been one of the biggest conferences for the Microsoft Data Platform over the past 20 years and one I have gone to almost every one of them.

While the main focus of the summit is learning about SQL Server, Power BI, and the array of data platform tools, over time it has taken on a much more personal feel. It has grown to be almost like a family homecoming event where you see family you know as well as family you’ve never met before.

The past two years (for reasons you already know to well) have been virtual only. In the years before it was on site, mostly in Seattle, WA, but it has visited other sites as well. This year is a first… the conference is going to be hybrid, allowing you to be able to attend in Seattle, Washington, US, or anywhere in the planet where there is Internet connectivity.

 In Person

Not much needs to be said about going to the in-person event. The conference will be three main days of breakout sessions, and two days of full day sessions. The entire time you are there will be spent learning, eating, socializing and maybe a little sightseeing around Seattle. Pike Place Market.is just down a few blocks away as well as some amazing shops and museums. (You can sleep on the trip home.)

With a month to go, if you’ve been sitting on the fence of whether to travel to Seattle, it is time to choose a side of that fence. I can offer you one more incentive to fall towards attending: $200 off the price. Just use this code when registering: SIMPLETALKVIP, then before you know it, you will be amongst thousands of friends or soon to be friends and family.


I obviously cannot, with clear conscious say that attending virtually will be as good as being there in person. It is not. Even the experience of walking down Pike Street on a chilly fall morning in Seattle is something that you cannot replicate virtually.

  A city street with a fire hydrant

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What I will say, is that it is infinitely better than missing out completely and does have certain benefits over attending locally. So, if flying, travel costs, family needs, visas, mobility issues, etc. are a barrier for you making it to the Washington State Conference Center, attending virtually you can get just as much technical education (and still as much socializing as you want without even leaving the city you live in.)

This year will be my third PASS Summit that I will miss in-person for health issues (recovering from a broken foot), and it is immensely comforting that I will at least get to learn new topics, and interact with people, etc. even if it isn’t in person. I will be working as a session producer during all the break-out sessions, but will spend as much other time as I can hanging out in the virtual hangout areas. I will help host a few meetups, one for Simple Talk (for readers and creators alike) and another for the Friends of RedGate.

Beyond the obvious travel (or lack of) benefit, there is one major benefit to attending virtually. Seeing and hearing. After a day of sessions (and a previous night of socializing), the screen starts looking like this.

A group of people sitting in a room looking at a screen

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Sometimes because I am tired, sometimes because the room is large and some of the print is small; and sometimes because I accidentally brought the wrong glasses. Sitting here at my desk attending the session, it is clear as day even without my glasses. If I want to get a little bit of the feel of attending in person, I can cast sessions to my 65-inch TV and invite a friend or family member to occasionally climb past me during the best part of the session and then take pictures of the screen with the flash on! (Luckily I can go back and watch the part I missed later with the recordings!)

Just like I had a code for in-person event, I have, arguably, a better code for online. Use the code LDONLINE210 for 50% off. (That’s right, not $50, 50%. A great deal! But a deal that expires on Monday October 24th, so don’t sit on that fence either!).

 So go get registered

If you are able, click here on the registration link and register, attend, and watch as many of the presentations as you can during and after the summit. It will be well worth it!

See you online!