I Need More Women

09 Dec I Need More Women

While sitting at the WIT lunch during the PASS 2010 Summit it was mentioned that the percentage of woman MVPs overall was less than the percentage of WIT in general. With my thinking cap engaged I had a crazy idea: why not do the next 24 Hours of PASS and feature only women speakers, and do it in March ( which also happens to be women’s history month). I turned to the person sitting next to me on my right and asked a simple question: “Do you think I should do this?” That person was Jen McCown (blog | @midnightdba) who said “yes”, then paused to reflect, and then said “HELL, yes”.

I then went about engaging various members of the SQL Community to get some feedback on the idea. After about two weeks we had an outline for the next 24 HoP event and there was much rejoicing. But we have some other work to do first.

The current 24HoP structure doesn’t work anymore, it just isn’t transparent enough. Even as I put together the last event I knew that changes needed to be made. So here is what I would like to see done.

The call for abstracts has gone out already. (If you have an abstract in mind or have suggestions for specific speakers or topics, send us an email at Deadline for abstract submission (max 250 words with a 125 word bio) is January 14.) That part was easy. The next part is not as easy: how do we get the Community involved in selecting the sessions and speakers?

Right now the 24 HoP Committee is actively working on how to implement this change. My current idea is to use UserVoice and have voting open for about a week after the deadline for abstracts is complete. What I would like to do is find a way to have people vote once for a list of speakers (with no mention of abstracts) and also for a list of abstracts (without knowing which speaker submitted the abstract). I feel that by doing so we would have an idea of not only who the Community wants to see speak, but what they want to hear. We would tally the two lists and come up with 28 speakers (24 and 4 alternates).

I will be the first to admit that I have no idea if this is the best way to get the Community Choice done, but it is the only idea we have on the table right now. And it is also the reason I am writing this blog post: if you have suggestions, please send them along. Drop us a note at and tell us your suggestion. The 24 HoP Committee will be spending the next four weeks trying to find a way to let the Community decide the sessions for the next 24 HoP and we don’t pretend to think we have all the right answers.

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  • Sandra A Mueller

    Interesting. I have no idea what is right or wrong. Just a comment: on the just abstracts vote ~ due to tweets and blogs I already know the names to match to some abstracts. Not sure that changes anything, just a thought.

  • Wendy

    Devil’s Advocate questions…

    Why is the ‘who’ question important? If the topic is something people want to hear about, should it matter who is giving the content?

    If Kalen or Kimberly each (theorhetically) submit 12 sessions each, and they are the top of the ‘who’ list, then would they get more than one slot?

    There are always those presenters who will bring in the viewers, granted – but the subject matter should be a big determination (content is King, no?).

    • Thomas LaRock


      Only one session per speaker is allowed, even though we would LOVE to have “24 Hours of Kimberly and Kalen”! And yes, content is King, that is why I want to break it out. But sometimes people just want to hear a speaker, no matter what.

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  • Karen Lopez

    Content is king, but for some speakers I will go to their sessions because I know no matter what they have to speak about, I will get 10+ things out of it.

    So I do like the idea of influencing session selection based on both types of “quality”.

    I do think, though, that there needs to be some sort of “programming” done to ensure that the sessions have the right mix of content (depth, topics, draw, etc.).

    But I love the fact that we are considering giving another method a try. That’s what I love about our community – lots of grass-rootsiness.

  • Robert Miller

    I think this is a fabulous idea. I look forward to voting and the subsequent 24HoP.

    Might this voting format be used as the framework for future 24HoP?

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  • an infrastructure DBA

    I wonder if the people concerned about the lack of women in IT are concerned about the lack of men in nursing.

    This is a prime example of how “diversity” is actually exclusionary.

    • Thomas LaRock


      i doubt the people concerned about women in IT are also concerned about men in nursing, those are two distinct groups of professionals. and i don’t recall ever using the word ‘diverse’ with regards to this event, i was simply making an effort to help encourage women to come forward, share their knowledge, and be recognized. i am a coach by nature and that’s what we do: we encourage others whenever possible.

  • Adam Machanic

    Love the “who” vs. “what” voting process. With some speakers you’ll just be able to tell but I agree, it’s the best possible way to do it.

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  • Kendra Little

    I agree with Karen on all counts.

    Sometimes you want to eat something because of the chef, and sometimes it’s the description of the meal that gets you.

    But rarely is a menu based purely on popularity, the *best* menu. To make a really good menu of different choices you need to take into account what’s popular, and then shape it and add in just what it needs to make it perfect.

  • Cindy Gross

    I would love to see a list of topics that people want to hear about and no one ever talks about.

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