As promised I was live on UStream last night to answer questions regarding my campaign for the PASS Board and upcoming elections. By the way, voting starts next week!
For those that could not attend, here is a recap of most of the questions form last night along with my responses.
@jeffrush: If you had unlimited budget and no oversight committee what dream program would you put in place?
SR: I want to make PASS the professional association for database professionals. My dream program would be to have membership in PASS become something that is well respected and sought out by members of the community. Imagine if you were recognized, or certified, by PASS and that recognition carried significant weight? Not just something on your resume, but what about vendors having products evaluated, tested, and “approved” by PASS? With an unlimited budget we could probably have all of the necessary feeder programs in place within a year.
@sqldba: What’s your opinion on holding the Summit in Seattle every year?
SR: There are many benefits to having PASS held in Seattle. Most notable would be the ability for Microsoft to share a few hundred of their finest SQL Server developers. When we have the Summit in other cities we lose out on that presence which is a large value-add in my opinion. That being said, traveling back from Seattle is not the highlight of my Summit experience, and I would like to have the Summit closer to where I live. I understand that it would be great to have the Summit in a different city every year and allow for more people to participate regionally.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we try to be mindful for international attendees. That means we stick to locations that are only one plane ride from a major hub. This helps to reduce the travel time for people traveling from Europe and Asia. What that means is that there are only a handful of locations that can even host a Summit, and when you stack them up against one another, the draw to Seattle prevails currently.
@sqlchicken: In that vein of a professional association, what are you thoughts on a DBA oath (ala hippocratic oath)?
SR: I have not seen the need for such an oath at this time. If you work for companies where such an oath would be considered, then chances are you have already agreed to a Code of Ethics there. Why would you need to have a second one? And why would you be singling out DBA’s? What about everyone else that has access to sensitive company information? There is so much outside my control that all I can ever do is focus on my tasks and my role. If someone with read-only access to a database takes the data and uses it inappropriately the last thing I would want is for someone to look at me and say “hey, didn’t you swear an oath to protect our data?” Well, I guess, but I’m not the one that allowed them access, someone else approved that.
@sqlagentman: So, what sets you apart from the other candidates?
SR: My unyielding love of bacon. I am certain it will be my undoing. Besides that, there is also the fact that I am the only candidate that is also currently serving on the board. Oh, and I stayed awake for all 24 Hours of PASS.
@sqlchicken: Tom, you got on the board this year via technicality and you tried getting on before. How has that journey helped you so far?
SR: I was appointed to the Board in January to fill a seat vacated by someone else resigning. I would not call that a technicality, but I believe I understand what you are trying to ask here.
The previous two elections I have come up 13 and 20 votes short of being elected. After each result I have given myself two options: walk away, or learn what I can do better. Both times I have decided to treat it as a learning opportunity. After the 2007 result I spent much of 2008 trying to build up some name recognition in the community. I became involved in various projects and committees and each one not only increased my name awareness but it also made me a better database professional.
What I have learned over the past two years involves more about branding and marketing than anything else. My technical skills have certainly improved, as they do with most people over time, but I have invested a lot of time and effort into my communication skills as well. If I had won back in 2007 then I would not have spent the past two years doing all of the things that have made me the person I am today. So, what seemed like a step backwards at the time has in fact allowed me to take many giant leaps forward. For example, I am now a SQL Server MVP, and I doubt that would have been possible unless I lose that 2007 election. It really did set everything in motion for me.
@tjaybelt: Tell us your favorite experience so far working with PASS.
SR: You mean, besides meeting and working with yourself of course, right? My favorite experience to date has been working with the Board, no question.
@sqldba: If you had your choice, what particular area of responsibility would you most like to take on if elected? Why?
SR: I would be happy to serve in any area that the Executive Board feels suits my current skills. My interests are varied. I enjoy the marketing aspects, the building of communities, and helping to drive membership. The short of it is that I enjoy giving back to the PASS community as much of me as possible, because the community has given me so much in these past five years. So, wherever people want or need me to help, that is where I will be.
@sqlchicken: Being a part of the board is a roadway to PASS President. Do you have plans to pursue that route and if so what sort of vision do you have for PASS as a whole?
SR: I outlined my vision for PASS as a whole earlier. As for my plans with regards to the Board, right now my only plan is to actually win an election. That would be nice. After the election I can use the next two years to look for opportunities to develop the necessary skills to serve on the executive board.
@tjaybelt: What’s one of the toughest things you’ve had to deal with while serving?
SR: Living in a fishbowl. I’ve done it before, so the idea that everything I say and do (or blog about) will be scrutinized is not new. But you never quite get used to other people’s reactions, you merely learn to live with the fact that you cannot please everyone. In one case it was pointed out to me that my posts could actually harm PASS should someone decided to not do business with us. Once I started to understand more about corporate conservatism and how I had an obligation to not harm the PASS community it made my decisions easier. But the process I went through, the path I walked, was not the best of times.
To this day I feel that I may have damaged some relationships and I can only hope to earn back their trust over time.
@sqlchicken: Well, sir, we’ve peppered you with tough questions all night but now I bring da thunder: Have you given thought to the SQL University job offer for head basketball coach/athletic director?
SR: Yes. Good question. Any other questions?
OK, here is my thought. I have to turn you down. I cannot take on both roles at this time. You deserve to have someone focused on being the AD and someone focused on the hardwood. If I took on that role then one, or both, would suffer.
If you will have me, I would love the opportunity to be your head basketball coach. I have not coached in about ten years now, but I am sure I remember how to blow a whistle, yell at people, and brainwash them into doing things they do not want to do. Are we still talking about basketball?
What I will do is field a starting five that supports the current faculty lessons for the week. I will also do my best to include some drills for people at home to practice. I will do my best to keep up with this weekly for the Fall semester and I am certain it will get easier once we get into a routine.
Thanks for all the questions tonight everyone. Voting starts on the 12th, and I will do one more broadcast next Tuesday for anyone still on the fence.