Thom Larock aka SQL Rockstar (blog | twitter) Just posted yesterday about his first pass summit back in 2004. This was my first summit as well and when I had the privilege to meet Thom and Allen Kinsel (blog | twitter). You can read the blog post here for the story.
This gave me the idea to expand on one of the common tips I give to anyone that’s going to the summit. You should go online and create your schedule for the summit and choose what sessions you are planning to attend. I suggest you do this to get familiar with the schedule and to give yourself some must see sessions. I also suggest you leave time slots open then when you’re at the summit in the morning or at lunch you should ask what others plan to attend and if they have heard from the speakers before. I’ve made many changes to my session plans based on the advice of others.
I remember a specific situation at the very summit that Thom wrote about. It was a presentation about Security. Not sure the exact topic, both Allen and Thom were very interested in it. I actually chose to stay my course with another session. About 15 minutes into the session Allen and Thom showed up in the session I was in as the security topic did not go as they had hoped. Another session that Thom and Allen had an influence on was the volunteer session Thom talks about in his blog. Having already worked in my local PASS chapter before the summit I knew some of the things I needed to volunteer so I wasn’t planning on attending Wade’s session for the pass volunteers. It was Allen and Thom talking about it that made the difference for me to attend. It was a good decision.
Plan some couch time. This may sound silly but there are times at the pass summit that is best to hang out and socialize with others out in the hall. Networking with others is going to give you contacts and relationships that will last for many years and help you later on in your career. So if you notice some people hanging around the couches chatting introduce yourself and ask if you can join in.
You will find some of the best suggestions you end up attending may not have been your first choice. Feel free to find me at the summit I would be happy to help you choose sessions and find what works best for you.