From Compass ’99 to Data Community Summit 2022

At this year’s Data Community Summit 2022, I am a part of the day 2 keynote. I’m excited to deliver some thoughts and memories of the event. I’m mostly excited the Summit still exists, and I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Seattle in person again. If you haven’t registered, think about it. This is the best place to meet other data professionals, network, and not only get knowledge from the experts, but ask them your question in person.

Someone brought to my attention the original event from PASS wasn’t the Summit, but was the Compass ’99 conference. I saw a recap of the event on the ITProToday site, which brought back memories. I had attended the event early in my career, convincing my boss that this data specific event would be good for both them and me. It was, and it led me to unfathomable success throughout my time working with databases, along with great personal joy. I also learned something that helped me solve a few problems at work.

I don’t remember Mr. Flessner delivering a keynote, but I do remember the late Jim Gray. He talked about storage costs and how we’d see the cost of a TB come under USD$10,000 in a few years. Today I see 1TB mobile phones for around $1000 and external drives for USD$20.

In the early years of attending the Summit, I spent time in sessions, taking notes, and learning everything I could. I’d ask questions of Microsoft developers and our community experts. I was then, and am still now, proud of how gracious speakers are, willing to take time to help others, and share knowledge with them.

However, the Summit has grown to encompass more than listening to speakers. While you can walk up to a speaker and ask them a question, the random conversations with others waiting their turn near the stage, or walking in the hallways, are the real benefit. I get inspired by what other attendees say. I learn things from them, and I get new perspectives that I might never think about. Whether in the convention center, on a #sqlrun, walking to a hotel, or even out socially at night. Talk usually revolves around data, databases, careers, and how we can grow ourselves as data professionals.

It might not even be technical knowledge. Someone might give you a thought on how to better communicate with others, how to tactfully point out a problem, or even how to find a different job. Perhaps you just get a sympathetic ear in which to vent your troubles and frustrations at work. That alone might help you recharge and go back to work feeling better the next week.

I’ve been blessed to attend most of the Summits, both in Seattle and around the US. I’ve been to conferences all over the world, and there is something special about the large data conferences, focused on the craft that we practice. We get the best and brightest in the world coming together to create synergies we get nowhere else. The #sqlfamily is on full display, with introductions taking place alongside greetings by name, handshakes, and no shortage of hugs.

It’s a little less than a month until the Summit. There is still time to register and join us, either in person or virtually. I recommend in-person as the benefits outside of the sessions far outweigh the travel costs. I’ve gotten knowledge to save my company far more than the cost of a flight and hotel. If you have a vexing problem, you might convince your boss that you could easily cover those costs by being able to troubleshoot on a whiteboard with Microsoft experts or industry gurus.

I hope to see you there, and please feel free to stop me for a handshake, hug, picture, or a short chat. If not this year, then somewhere in the future. In the meantime, I hope many of you are as excited as I am. Now, to work on that keynote…

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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