I was kind of surprised when I heard about PASS’s plans to no longer spend money on SQL Saturday and I want to share my thoughts about it.
Constantine wrote a blog post about this matter and I felt that I should do a blog post about it too.
There is a quote in the #SQLSaturday channel in the SQL Community Slack that blew my mind.
They [the PASS board] are already signaling they don’t want to spend $$ on SQL Sat and a few of the board members would just as soon SQL Sats die.
Let me be clear, if there were no local user groups and/or SQL Saturdays I do not think that PASS would exist and let me explain why.
I went to my first SQL Saturday a long time ago and I immediately felt that I was part of something big. The amount of effort that was put in by all the volunteers and sponsors to let us professionals grow was incredible.
For any data professional to grow you need content that’s up-to-date. You need interaction with other experts to get new ideas.
The SQL Saturday volunteers, the presenters, the organizers, the sponsors and all the people in the background make it possible to get the most up-to-date content there is.
There is no organization in the world that gives that amount of content for free (with sometimes a small fee) and let you interact with professionals in such a pleasant manner where I don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to attend the PASS Summit.
Although PASS does offer lots of content through virtual chapters I think that’s only partially important to data professionals. SQL Saturdays give us a platform to connect with other people from our field, provide networking opportunities and also job opportunities.
I can surely say that if the SQL Saturdays would not be there I would not be at the point I’m right now.
The volunteers have a really tough job arranging venues, food and drinks etc etc to organize the events and they all do it out of love for the SQL Server community.
Some of the SQL Saturdays would not survive without the help of the PASS organization. If PASS would cut the funding of those events I bet they would disappear really fast.
To conclude, cutting funds for SQL Saturdays will cause the events to disappear.
The disappearing events will cause the organization to no longer have the platform they had to communicate to the data professionals.
No longer having the platform will let people find other ways to get the content and will probably skip PASS Summit causing a loss in revenue and that in the end could be the end of the PASS organization.