Blogging from the PASS keynote : 2010-11-11

Rick Heiges comes on stage and talks about the way the Board of Directors works. He sent off Lynda Rab, a director since 2007.  He introduces the new Directors-at-Large: Douglas McDowell, Andy Warren, and Allen Kinsel.  A PASS goal over the next 5 years is to deliver 1 million hours of training, grow the PASS Summit to 7,500 attendees, and PASS itself to 250,000 members.


Rick announces SQLRally, May 11th – 13th in Orlando.  SQLRally is SQLSaturday meets PASS – a two day, $299 conference with an optional one-day pre-con ($199).  Until December 31st, you can get a bundle (2 days + pre-con) for $449.  The pre-con sessions voted in (by YOU) are:

  • Business Intelligence Workshop

    Patrick LeBlanc, Devin Knight, Mike Davis, Adam Jorgensen
  • Query Performance Tuning, Start to Finish
    Grant Fritchey
  • Maximize Your SQL Server 2008 Coding Skills
    Plamen Ratchev
  • Leadership and Team Management Skills for the Database Professional
    Kevin Kline

My roommate here at PASS, Kendal van Dyke (@SQLDBA), had a lot to do with putting this event together – and if my conversations with him are any indication, this will be a great and worthwhile event.  Registration and call for speakers is now open at!

XBox 360 Kinect

Rick draws for the Wheel of SQL prize (an XBox 360 Kinect): Pieter Goes (@pietergoes).

PASS 2011

He announces that next year's PASS Summit is October 11-14, again in Seattle.  Location isn't surprising but the earlier date turns a few heads.  There will be two pre-con days, instead of a pre-con and post-con (this means the regular conference will be Wednesday – Friday).  Preview pricing is $995, and "Preview Plus" pricing pairs the full conference fee with both pre-con days for $1,295.  You can get more details at

Dr. David DeWitt's Keynote

Dr. David DeWitt comes onto the stage and dives right into his query optimization keynote.  He shows query 8 from the TPC-H benchmark and explains that there are 22 million ways for the optimizer to execute the query.  He describes cost-based query optimization, which has been around since the 1970s (Pat Selinger @ IBM), and remains one of the hardest problems to solve.

At this point, I get distracted from writing because I'm selfish … I want to listen.  And I couldn't give it justice, so I'm not going to bother trying to replay his keynote for you.  I can tell you that the ballroom is full and, unlike previous keynotes, everyone is absolutely silent (with the occasional laughter, since David – in addition to immensely rich information – does have some humorous comments and slides).

It was awesome.  If you're not here and you didn't get to watch the live stream, buy the DVDs – in addition to 168 sessions and the pre- and post-con recordings, all of the keynotes will be on there as well.  If you are interested in the Picasso project the keynote was based on, see the following site:


One of the big things that has been clear to some for a while, but is even more clear to us all here today, is that this is the kind of keynote we want.  We're here to learn, and we're obviously already invested in the product.  So stop sending us marketing keynotes and give us the technical keynotes.  We don't care that the presenter is a sharp dresser or is a good schmoozer.


Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at Simple Talk, SQLPerformance, and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him. If I've helped you out, consider thanking me with a coffee. :-)