Not selected as a speaker at PASS Summit 2013 #sqlpass #sqlfamily

I received the communication from the PASS Program Committee that none of my proposals have been accepted at PASS Summit 2013. Probably this year there was too many proposals and I made a mistake not using all the possible proposals available per speaker. In fact, I just proposed one pre-conference day and two regular sessions:

  • From 0 to DAX (preconference)
    DAX is the new language for creating Business Intelligence in the Microsoft stack. You can use it to query and program both Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel 2013 and the new SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular model. Learning the basics of DAX is very simple, but mastering it is a different story because it requires a mindset that involves some study, both for BI Professionals and Information Workers.
    During this one-day workshop, we will guide you in the process of learning the DAX language, through many examples and scenarios that help you understand what are the important concepts of DAX and how to leverage them in your everyday work.
    The seminar is useful to many profiles: BI developers who want to learn the DAX language and information workers interested in exploiting the many interesting features of PowerPivot for Excel 2013.
  • Optimizing Data Models in Tabular & PowerPivot (regular session)
    Is your new Tabular solution performing at its best? Are you using the best practices to reduce memory footprint, increase query speed and get the best out of the new engine? In this session, we will look at several techniques that can really make the difference in a Tabular solution. Distinct count reduction, join optimizations, condition consolidation, pros and cons of normalized data models, selection of the columns to store in the database are some of the topics covered in this session, which will highlight not only the best practices, but also practices that were best in Multidimensional and became worst in Tabular. As we are used to teach: if you known Multidimensional, you need to forget it in order to let the new concepts of Tabular shape your model.
  • Time Intelligence with DAX (regular session)
    Time Intelligence is probably the most used feature of any analytical solution. Computing Year To Date, Month To Date, Same Period Previous Year is quite easy in DAX. However, the DAX formulas start to be harder to write as soon as the requests for time intelligence involve working days evaluation, complex and custom calendar shapes, seasonal pattern recognition, ISO-based weeks handling, 445 fiscal calendar.
    In this session, we start showing how to compute the classical time intelligence by using the built-in DAX functions. Then, we will see some more complex time-intelligence formulas that require thinking out of the box, using advanced data modeling and querying techniques to produce interesting and useful formulas.

I have been informed that this year a new selection process has taken place. Abstracts reviews and speakers reviews have been made by two separate teams, and a final judgment has been made by combining the two ratings. In particular, abstracts team didn’t know the speaker’s name of each session. It seems a smart way to handle 850 submission in a transparent way. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of this new process.

In the last years, I and Alberto Ferrari had too many sessions selected, so the board decided to assign us only a few of them and the selected ones wasn’t always the best ones (because it wasn’t possible for us to establish an order of preference in case more submissions were selected). For this reason, this year we limited our submissions to the sessions that were more likely to be interesting, considering the current request on the market, the questions we received usually and the need to avoid presenting something already presented in the previous year. So we made a small selection of sessions avoiding to submit the maximum number of sessions per speaker. But this has been a wrong choice, because based on the new evaluation system, it would have been certainly better to propose more sessions and not only in the area in which we are most specialized.

I am not saying I have proposed sessions that was better than others selected. I have seen the proposals here and there are very interesting sessions (I still don’t know which ones have been selected at the moment of writing). I would have just proposed at least other 2 regular sessions more advanced and focused on specific use cases. Being part of a board selecting sessions in other conferences (like this) I know that every selection process has some drawbacks and the best thing you can do is to communicate very well how the selection process will work, so that everybody is able to help the board producing the best proposals. I thought that proposing a lower number of session would have been better, but I was wrong.

Well, I have been a speaker at PASS Summit in the last 4 years in a row (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), so it’s probably time to take some rest from speaking!  Smile