Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PASS Summit it comes!

Once again, the PASS community will come together in Seattle for the annual Summit. If you haven't registered yet, there is still time (the countdown is on)!

For those who have not attended previously, there are some things you should know about visiting Seattle and making it through Summit with the best possible experience. To that end, PASS is putting together a series of 'Get to Know Your Community' sessions throughout the event. Hear from these great SQL Community voices on how to get the most of out Summit and your PASS membership! Full details can be found on the PASS Summit Schedule page.
Kevin Kline  |  Mark Broadbent & Buck Woody  |  Jose Rivera  |  Wendy Pastrick
Jes Borland & Kendal VanDyke  |  Ryan Adams  |  PASS Program Committee 
 I also have some tips and thoughts to share. Before you leave home, a little prep work will make your trip better. There are a few things I like to do before Summit:

  1. Get a flu shot. It's a long week of shaking hands and making new friends, so I'm scheduling my flu shot for 2 weeks before Summit arrival.
  2. ELECTION TIME! In the USA, it's time to vote, so make sure you do your civic duty and get that Absentee ballot in. You will be in Seattle on election day.
Packing Tips
  1. Shoes - you will be walking. Bring comfortable shoes. Bring a spare pair of shoes. The Convention Center is massive and just about everything in the evenings is a short walk.
  2. Don't bother with an umbrella. Many of the buildings downtown have awnings for the misty, drippy substance that falls down most of the time. It is rare to have a full downpour, although it HAS happened and if you need to go more than a few blocks, just catch a cab. Best idea - bring a coat with a hood!
  3. Ladies - consider a small purse you can wear under your jacket, or opt for pockets only when going out for the evening. 
Seattle is a really awesome city. My father lived there for several years and I got to know the area well over that time. This year will make 11 (12?) years I've been attending Summit. There are some tips and info I'd like to share to make your stay more enjoyable.

  • Take the train! When you arrive at SEATAC airport, you could hop in a cab and it will be about $40-60 to your hotel and will take about 30 minutes. Another great option is the Central Link Light Rail which will run you $2.75. The ride is about 40-45 minutes and if you come in on Sunday, you might get to witness all the Seahawks fans going to watch the game.
  • Pike's Place Market is a Must See. After your full day of brain stuffing, walk down the short 6-7 blocks from the Convention Center toward the Sound, and you can't miss Pike's Place area. Tons of food options (watch out for flying fish!) and catacombs of shopping to explore here! This is the perfect spot to pick up those souvenirs to take home. 
  • A host of other museums and fun spots abound (Space Needle, Science Museum, etc). Check them out here and learn how to access them via the Monorail!
  • Eat Seafood! You are in Seattle, and many awesome restaurants are along the piers - just down, down, down the stairs from Pike's Market. Grab a group of your new SQL friends and have a nice dinner out.
  • Go off the beaten path and hit up some clubs in the Pioneer Square area, or check out some local breweries, or - you do know that Seattle has awesome bands, right? A host of spots can be found on Seattle Nightlife.

Nightlife around Summit is the best time to meet people in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. There are a few places you are bound to see many Summit attendees.
  • Tap House Grill, not even a block from the Sheraton, is open late and anyone still out after midnight often will congregate here.
  • Bush Garden is the #sqlkaraoke spot. This one is a good walk for those so inclined, but many take a cab. Singing not required. Just go and have a good time!
  • Speaking of #sqlkaraoke, Mr. Denny Cherry and SIOS host another party on Tuesday night.
  • Many vendor parties spring up as the dates draw nearer. If you don't hear about them beforehand, don't worry - many give out wristbands or tickets at the Exhibitor Reception or just by stopping in at the booth before the evening festivities.
  • A whole list of After Hours Events are posted on the Summit site, too! This is updated frequently, and some require RSVP, so check back now and then.
Get out, meet people, enjoy the evenings; this is what makes Summit the best conference for SQL professionals! 

Final note - as with any major city, keep your wits about you as you are getting around. Don't walk around with your nose and eyes in your smartphone. There are a lot, and I mean a LOT of homeless people in the downtown area. They will constantly hit you up for a dollar, or whatever. Mostly they don't cause any trouble, but it's always best to walk with purpose, keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.

I'm looking forward to meeting you in Seattle. Just stop by the Community Zone and say "Hi!"

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