This is the seventh in a series of interviews with speakers leading up to the 2012 PASS Summit which will be held in Seattle from November 6th - 9th. This interview is with SQL Server MVP Grant Fritchey.
Tell us about yourself
I'm working as the product evangelist for Red Gate Software. That means I'm in marketing. But I've got more than 20 years of experience in IT working in support, development and database administration. After either making the mistake or watching others make the mistake, I've managed to learn a lot about how not to code and structure databases, so I tend to specialize in query tuning, database design and architecture. I've got my name on several books including "SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning, SQL Server 2012 Administration, SQL Server Execution Plans and others.
Tell us your favorite thing about your PASS session(s)
I'm doing three sessions at PASS, an all-day pre-conference seminar on query tuning, a spotlight session on improving query performance by fixing bad parameter sniffing, and an introductory session on what to look for in execution plans. The one thing I really like to aim for in all my sessions is providing some information that people can put to work immediately. I think I get that at least once in every session.
Tell us about your first time at PASS Summit
My first time at PASS was Dallas in 2005. I was one of those guys who went to the sessions, visited the vendor floor to pick up some t-shirts, and then went back to my hotel. Completely the wrong the way to go about it. But, I happened to score an invite to a vendor party and met some people from all around the world who were volunteering for the PASS organization and clearly having a blast. That chance meeting basically changed my life.
What advice do you have for PASS Summit First Timers?
A bunch of stuff! Don't just attend sessions. Make sure you talk to people. And walk right up and say hello to your favorite author/blogger/presenter. They're just human and are at the Summit in order to engage with people. If you are in a session and it's not going well for you, get up and leave. It's not rude. Better to go outside and find another session or chat with some people than waste your time in a session that's not for you and then fill out bad evaluations on the speaker. Also, do fill out the evaluations on the speakers. Trust me, we read them and take them seriously. If you have feedback, please provide it, but be specific and as helpful as you can. Take your favorite three sessions back to the office and present them to co-workers. It'll reinforce what you learn.
Oh, and have some fun!
What are your can't-miss PASS sessions?
Mine of course -Kidding. Dr. DeWitt session is the one session I will crawl across broken glass to get to. Other than that, it depends on what I'm working on at the moment. I'm probably going to track down some of the cloud-oriented content.
Besides sessions, what's on your must-do list at Summit?
Everyone has a different list for this, but I've always attended the SQL Server Central party. It's always been a gambling theme where you can play poker, blackjack, craps or roulette and instead of risking your money, you get the chance to win some fun geeky prizes. There is a small entry fee.
Also, you have to make sure you have your kilt for Kilt Day on Thursday (AKA Day 2). It's a tradition I started three years ago and it's grown.
How can attendees become involved in the SQL Server Community and continue their learning throughout the year?
Watch the PASS website. It lists things going on constantly. Watch the SQL Saturday web site for events in your area. Find your local user group and get to their meetings. If nothing else, get involved in some of the online forums like SQL Server Central. All this is a great way to keep engaged in the community.