PASS Summit 2015 is officially over.  If ever you have the opportunity to attend PASS Summit, do so.  I have three pieces of advice:

  1. Buy the USB stick (or online download) of all of the sessions.  You will want to attend more than one session at a time but will be physically unable to do so.
  2. Sit down with different people each day for breakfast and lunch.  Don’t sit down with people you know.  PASS Summit is all about making connections, and meals are a good opportunity to do that. It’s a low-key affair, you know you have something in common with everybody at the table, almost everybody is there, and it’s quiet enough that you can actually chat with people and get to know them a little bit.  I’m as introverted a person as they come but I make a concerted effort to talk to people during these two times.
  3. Don’t be afraid to miss sessions.  Hallway con is the best part of the conference.  Yes, it’s great that there are high-quality sessions going on all around you, but you picked up the USB sticks, remember?  Use this time to talk to vendors (sometimes they even remember who you are, so try not to be too much of a jerk…), and talk to the people you met at various points along the way.  Hang out at the Community Zone, volunteer at the event, or whatever—you can watch the sessions later, but you can’t necessarily get 5000 avid people in your industry together later.

Yeah, this probably would have been good advice to give before Summit began, but the good news is that it’ll apply next year just as well as it does this year.  I do understand people not wanting to miss a single session; I was that way with my first Summit, but the important thing to remember is opportunity cost:  the opportunity cost of my conversing with this person and forging a bond that might result in a very good outcome sometime in the future is that I’ll need to watch a recorded version of the session.

As far as today went, I actually did end up going to several sessions, including one on Spark.  The sessions were good, and it was nice to wrap up my Summit experience with a few talks followed by dinner (way too expensive of dinner!) with some friends, some acquaintances, and some people I’d met for the first time at the table.  I can’t ask for much more, except maybe that my return flight tomorrow not be delayed…


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