Help Build the SQL Rally Selection Process.

SQLAndy blogged about the possible selection process which you can read about from the link below:

SQLAndy’s Blog Post

I like what PASS is trying to do with adding events and trying to make PASS more relevant to the DBAs that are out in the field. However, there are a couple of suggestions that seem to be off a little…..

Pre-Con/Post-Con Sessions

Paying the speakers is nice but limiting it to someone who has presented at PASS Summit before but has not done a Pre-Con/Post-Con at PASS and submitting only one seems too restrictive. I like that they want something of a more thorough abstract/lesson plan guide because I think it makes the speakers ‘think’ a little more about what they are going to do.

Main Sessions

  1. Require speakers to have spoken at the PASS Summit or a SQLSaturday in the past 24 months to be eligible.

Really? Only at PASS events…..Hmmm, like the CodeCamp that they have every year in South Florida doesn’t count or the Rocky Mountain Tri-Fecta in Colorado…

2. Must have presented the topic at least one time prior to submitting it

What about new releases? Guess when this comes around next year not to expect any 2011 talks 🙂

3. Must upload the deck (doesn’t have to be final) at time of submission.

I don’t like promoting uploading of decks. I myself don’t like decks. That’s why I think I am a good speaker in that I show people technology and teach them the ins and outs without inundating them with slides. People normally come to my sessions because they want to ‘see’ how they can incorporate a technology or a technique into their environment…..Maybe I get that from teaching too much Physics with lots of breaking stuff in demonstrations:)

4. Can submit a max of ?? (2? 4?) presentations

I guess this would be fine but it would need to be 4 instead of 2….Otherwise, the selection committee gets to see the other end of the spectrum….400 Reporting Services submissions…and 12 on other topics:)


Don’t get me wrong….I think what they are doing is a good thing…and good for Andy that he is pushing it! However, it is almost like they are playing things really safe and in order to create something vibrant and unique you have to take risks.

I remember the first time that I went to DevConnections, yes Virginia there are other events other than PASS events, there was a really lousy session on programming mobile applications….I mean GOD AWFUL! Yet, I don’t tell my friends about that session ….instead I tell them about Scott Guthrie’s awesomesauce session and how I got to talk directly with him and Matt Nunn afterwards….

So I really think that they need to start going out on a limb a little with these things because in the end, if a handful of sessions were bad then hopefully the truely outstanding ones will make up for it.

Does this mean that the SQLRally needs to become another version of a SQLSaturday free-for-all? Nope! You can do things to limit your downside. Maybe like….

  1. Submit Extended Abstracts for all presentations
    1. Abstract (good paragraph not the ‘I will demo SSRS’)
    2. Lesson Plan Outline – What will you cover and how
  2. Submit and Extended Speaker Form
    1. Regular speaker credentials – Name, Bio, Contact Stuff
    2. Session Presented with Events(how many attended)  and also maybe contact info
    3. Links to other credible things (blogs, books, etc.)

Yeah, you may still get 1000 submissions but surely you could get a couple of people to go through the speakers to do a first pass and weed out the ‘weak cheese’.  I know it laborous and probably a little boring once you hit the 100th SSRS intro ….But I remember specifically in one of my Physics classes that one student asked me why she got marked off for her experiment write-up, I told her, and her response was ‘You mean you actually read all this stuff’…..YES DAMNIT I DO.

Maybe we could use this as an excuse to come up with some sort of cool Silverlight application that the Selection Committee could use. Hmmmm…something like

1. Browse by Speaker

2. Browse by Topic

3. Browse by Track

4 Drag & Drop into Favs Folder

Sounds very intriguing to me 🙂

Anywho, Good Luck to Andy and the PASS group in getting this thing off the ground!