Russ Thomas – SQL Judo

The Art of SQL Server Database Administration, Development, and Career Skills for the Technically Minded

Pass 2016 Summit Application and Feedback

For the past three years I have put myself out there and submitted for PASS.  While a long time user of SQL Server, and a somewhat recent IT manager of both database engineering and data warehousing, public speaking is a whole different game.  Something I really enjoy.  It challenges me, and seems to motivate me to know my subject more than any other endeavor…. actually including supporting it for a paycheck which seems weird.  But risking looking dumb in front of your peers is pretty intense motivation.

First year was a no, second year I was fortunate enough to get selected for a full session and a lightening talk.  This year none of my full sessions were selected but I did have a lightening talk picked up, which frankly is just peachy with me.  Lightening talks are more challenging than you think, (unless you’ve done one, then you know exactly how challenging they are).

Apparently there is an open community of people sharing private feedback.  I definitely see the value in this as it leads to collaboration and increases the general knowledge of all of us.  Something by the way which the SQL Community does better than anyone.  A nice side effect is it also ensures the feedback process it’s self gets some oversight which is never a bad thing.  Though I was bummed to not get a full selection up front (though I am an alternate) I am satisfied with my own feedback, definitely see where it applies (for the most part), and thank those volunteers who put in effort to put together a great 2016 PASS for all of us.  Thanks guys.

So, below is my feedback.

Session Submission:  10 Things You Didn’t Know SSMS Could Do


You touch SQL Server Management Studio almost every day. Do you use it to its fullest or are you wasting time? My guess? You are wasting time. This session will cover 10 widely un-used or unknown features within SSMS that will make you more efficient as a professional right now. These tricks can help you: reduce keystrokes tenfold; wrangle objects like a demi-god; avoid mistakes in production; and collaborate breakpoints, metrics, and scripts across your team.   All of this with the default installation of SQL Server Management Studio. This session is for SQL Server professionals across BI, development, and administration. In short, this session is for you!

Status: Alternate


Seems like a light, but interesting talk. Can see how this will attract people. Prerequisites talks to the abstract and goals as well. Demo would be extremely important in this kind of session.
Personally, I feel this is more suited to an SQL Saturday – where I’m confident that it would be very well received. It could generate some interest – but it does not stand out as a top pick in this group.

My comment:  This feedback makes it appear that SQL Saturday content is somehow “lower quality” then SQL PASS.  Didn’t necessarily agree with this feedback.  Maybe I’m overthinking the comment.

Abstract: Clearly showcases who the audience is – sort of missing that in some of the other abstracts. Topic: Fit for purpose, no issues. Good hook title. Subjective: For pre-req, would even say “current OR future exposure to SSMS”. I’ve been using SQL since v4, but the way the abstract is written, even I get the feeling I might learn a trick here.
Abstract is well written and makes a interesting case for attending the session, but doesn’t give a great deal of insight into session contents. Topic is somewhat niche and may not be of interest to developers ( lot of developers rarely use SSMS). 1st goals is good, the next 2 are not really tangible. demo % is middle of the line.
Nice abstract.
“collaborate breakpoints” does not sound right or needs to re-worded as I’m not really sure what that means.
Good general topic. I would rate it at 200 level though.


Session Submission: 5 Mistakes You Make Recruiting


It’s a great time to be a data professional.   Demand for experienced talent is at an all time high. As a team lead or manager, even if you can identify a rock star – retaining that talent has likely become the bigger challenge.  It’s a buyers market and you’re the one selling. Millennias look at their careers drastically different than Gen-X, the Baby Boomers, or any other generation that much of our current hiring practices are based on. How do you modernize for success? How do you identify talent and fit? How do you interact with HR? How do you get past rote interviews and build relationships. In this session we will identify 5 common mistakes that most managers, recruiters, and interviewers make when recruiting, team building, and retaining talent. Attend this session ready to collaborate, interact, and learn.

Status: Declined    Higher rated session selected


Target audience seems quite narrow and topic really does not appeal (or certainly abstract hasn’t convinced me otherwise).
I personally do not like negative formulations in a title that much From the title (“recruiting”) I would expect a session about how to find new employees – but the abstract is about how to get hired “Session prerequisites” do not catch up with a stated level of 300
Very good abstract with clear goals and a good outline to match those goals.   The topic is not horribly exciting though it is certainly an important one.   Overall solid abstract.
Title need to be Five not 5 ; Abstract targeted at Mgr/Team Lead. Unfortunately this is not the typical audience at PASS Summit. Should be written for DBA who need to learn about the recruiting process and tips n tricks. Good call to action/wrap up.
Good topic. Nice that it has some interaction and audience participation.


Half Day Session Submission:  Advanced Memory Optimized Objects


You’ve tinkered with memory optimized tables, possibly even developed them for production.  You have a rough understanding of space estimation, and the basic limitations of the feature.  It’s time to complete your training.

In this session, after a fast paced review of 2016 memory-optimized tables and features, we will take a deep dive into the rest of 2016’s memory optimized objects.   We will focus on in-memory indexes and natively compiled stored procedures.

We will explore the internal workings and benefits of each index style providing guides for selecting fit along the way.  We will walk through development, deployment, and support of natively compiled stored procedures with significant time on internals and query optimization as it relates to in-memory objects.

The session will conclude with support considerations and common errors and issues encountered post deployment.

Status:  Declined  Other sessions selected based on building a balanced program for track coverage, speaker coverage, topic coverage, and session rating.


Topic interesting, abstract detailed, new features explained: I like this session
Abstract – Outline well developed but opening could be better. Topic – Title could be more eye catching but goals are compelling for attendees Subjective – Would develop session prerequisites as intermediate level.
Abstract: Concise details. Goals align w/ abstract description. Topic: Interesting for attendees and would gain an audience. Title reflects content. Great session covering memory optimized tables! Objective: Level and prerequisites match goals Material matches subject and could be presented in 75 minutes. I would find this an interesting session.


Lightening Talk Submission:  GIT Your Scripts


Widely recognized as a great way to collaborate with peers, GIT can also help protect, organize, and ensure your scripts are available wherever and whenever you or a team member needs them. This 10-minute session is an introduction to GIT concepts and commands, as well as a demonstration of real-world usage for database professionals. Attend this session and see how GIT can even integrate directly into SSMS to manage your script library.

Status:  Accepted

Sounds perfect for a Lightning Talk
Interesting topic. Look forward to it if selected.
interesting , unique and useful topic as most in Microsoft ecosystem use TFS instead of GIT . Abstract is clear and lucid with good details of session contents. Goals are tangible and good % of demo.
I think people would be pretty interested in the topic and the 10 minute talk seems to provide good goals. The subject may be largely ingnored by many dba’s (maybe not developers) and so this would be a good intro for a percentage of attendees. The abstract seems well developed and this would interest me.
I like
Perfect time line small enough nugget for a 10 minute talk.
Great tool for everyone to learn and use. Topic speaks to the Abstract as well as the Goals. I Would attend.
no issues…

This feedback seems pointless.


Session Submission:  Real World In-Memory OLTP


In-Memory OLTP was a fascinating feature addition for performance nerds in 2014, but real world use has been somewhat low. With the release of SQL Server 2016, it might be time for a second look.

An impressive list of improvements to In-Memory OLTP have changed the original release from a somewhat edge case solution to a practical consideration for an increasingly larger number of scenarios.

In this demo heavy session, we will implement and benchmark three real world use cases for memory optimized objects while showcasing In-Memory OLTP features new to SQL Server 2016.

Many presentations, books, and deep dives describe the internals of In-Memory OLTP objects. The focus of this course is real world implementation and best practice.

Status: DECLINED  Higher rated session selected


Abstract mentions three real world use cases but doesn’t detail what those are. Topic Rating – Title could be improved Subjective Rating – Seems interesting, but would like to know what the demos would show and those three use cases.
Abstract: detailed Topic: new Subjective rating: interesting
Abstract: Clearly describes the presentation contents. Outline well describes goals. Goals are interesting for attendees. Best Abstract Review so far! Topic: Title is eye catching and would attract appropriate attendees. Timely and relevant topic. Objective: Right amount of material for subject matter. I would be interested in this session.

Session Submission: You Should GIT That!


Gee-Jo spent years collecting scripts like her nephew collected pokemon.  Gotta get ’em all!  Triple D preferred to Google his way through every event, figuring if the answer to his problem wasn’t in the first 5 results, it must be the SAN or network.  When called upon to troubleshoot “the outage,” each learned they needed GIT for very different reasons.

Widely recognized as a great way to collaborate with peers, GIT can also help protect, organize, and ensure your scripts are available wherever and whenever you or a team member needs them.  GIT can even integrate directly into SSMS.

This session is an introduction to GIT concepts and commands, as well as a demonstration of real world usage for database professionals from development to administration.  Attend to add a working GIT knowledge base to your professional quiver as both a collaborator and a contributor.



The abstract is witty, however a little too much so taking up valuable abstract space and potentially causing the reader to lose interest. The topic sounds interesting and i look forward to attending if selected.
Abstract: To the point, explains what the topic is, and what will be presented. Topic: Title matches content. Subjective: Feel the level is more 100 than 200. Unknown if part of presentation, but should include a slide on security issues and pitfalls of GIT (which any openly collaborative online tools have, really).
I’d like to see this session – although I’d recommend the 1st paragraph is re-written. The subject (GIT) deserves attention as MS are using it more and more to push stuff out. I think this has the potential of attracting both DBAs and devs
I like this topic
topic is unique and interesting. The 2nd and 3rd paragraph of the abstract clearly conveys what to expect from the session and gives an outline. i am not sure what to make of the 1st paragraph though . Goals are detailed , clear and tangible. demo % seems adequate.
Sounds like a fun session. Would be good to include some details about the differences with TFS or other source control as a comparison point.

2 comments on “Pass 2016 Summit Application and Feedback

  1. Pingback: Feedback On My #SQLPASS #Summit16 Abstract Submissions

  2. Pingback: Choosing Content for the Summit – Voice of the DBA

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2016 by in Career Skills.
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