Each year at the PASS Summit I carry around a little black notebook that easily fits in my pocket.  Any time I come across something I need to fix I write it down.  Any time someone makes a good suggestion I write it down.  Any ideas or thoughts on future conferences get written down. Some ideas get implemented and some don’t but I try to get everything written down.  I even manage to mix in some technical things I learn in the few sessions I get to attend.

This year I didn’t find much that was truly broken.  There were no issues with food or drink or rooms that bubbled up to me.  I’m sure there were little issues here and there but nothing major that I had to deal with.  I believe that’s due to a number of factors.  Putting on a conference like this requires a real team effort.  There are 3-4 different companies that each have logistical responsibilities at the Summit.  Coordinating this requires effort and planning.  We’ve been using the same vendors for a few years and that continuity if really starting to show.

Last year I filled about four full pages of notes.  There weren’t too many problems.  Most were just things I wanted to do better next year.  This year it was different.  Vastly different.  Every time I opened that notebook people crowded around to offer ideas, suggestions, things other conferences did, tips and tricks.  It was nothing short of amazing. 

The last night of the conference I always try to have dinner with “Summit friends”.  These are the people I’ve been sharing the PASS Summit with over the years.  This was my ninth Summit and my eighth with Denise, Lance, Chris, Scott, Wendy, Tim and the rest of the crew.  Since I started on the Board I get less time to see these folks so I always reserve the last night of the Summit to go out with them.

We got back Friday night after dinner and I took a quick look in the Sheraton bar and saw a dozen or so PASS folks and decided to join them.  At some point someone made a comment on a way to improve the Summit.  I asked a few questions about what they were thinking and then pulled out my notebook and wrote it down.  At that point someone else offered a suggestion.  And I wrote that down.  And I spent the next 90 minutes writing down amazing ideas, suggestions and comments.  Rob, Denny, Kris, Meredith, Mike, Allen, William, Denise, Chris and a few others I can’t remember were full of great ideas!  On a Friday night.  After a few too many drinks!  (Actually I think the drinks might have helped!)

And so I want to say Thank You.  Thanks to everyone that offered a suggestion.  I have 18 pages of notes I need to work through and prioritize.  Many are very practical things that will be easy to implement.  Some are crazy pie in the sky ideas.  All are thoughts that people cared enough to explain while I wrote. 

Next year at the Summit I’ll have my notebook – hoping to meet new people and listen to what they say.  See you there.

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