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The Growth of the Professional Organization for SQL Server

October 16, 2009

The Professional Association For SQL Server (PASS) Election Committee needs to review its nomination process. It needs to be more transparent so the members can make better decision as to who to choose to be in the Board of Directors. The future of PASS is in the hands of this team. What path the organization decides to tackle will be decided upon by them.

The interview of Brent Ozar with one of the candidates has opened more than the door to a one man’s mind. It has rather exposed what could be lying beneath the organization goals for the future. Obviously the nomination of this gentleman to the Board of Directors bespeaks of something beyond the obvious. The PASS as an organization is now trying to cross some demarcation which is currently not discernible. We could only smell some hints. You all know by now that I am talking about Matt Morollo (Twitter) who is nominated to the Board of Directors of PASS. This gentleman’s position is very clear in the syllogism he posted at his Twitter stream: “A core charter for PASS is about growth; MEDIA & Marketing is the solution.” On which basis did he draw that conclusion from? Do growth and media go hand in hand? What aspect of growth is he trying to consider? Has there been a “problem” pertaining to growth of the organization that “media & marketing” can solve?

Any organization similar to the structure of the PASS organization needs some sort of marketing. Media plays an important role in the promotion of the organization’s objectives. But is it right to let marketing and media drive the growth?

Did anyone conduct a study beforehand that will attest Mr. Morollo’s notion, that, indeed, “media & marketing will drive growth of PASS”? When you find “media & marketing” and “growth” in a single sentence, it is very difficult to elicit the meaning it is trying to convey. Is PASS trying to become a “Media Company”? Or is it attempting to reinvent itself as B2B Organization?

PASS has been running successful events. I am not sure if injecting “Media Organization Philosophy” is the right thing to do to advance PASS fundamental principles of “helping its members Connect, Share, and Learn“.

It is true that the “core charter for PASS is about growth”; but the context of that growth must be spelled out beyond media and marketing. The pursuit of Growth that the organization is striving for should only be driven by its fundamental ideals:

Help Members to Connect

Connection is the lifeblood of any organization. It is the principle that binds the individuals together to form one body. Without this connection the organization will not thrive. The organization must keep all channels of communication open to maintain connection. Social networks and other tools provide opportunities for such communication to take place. All members must be engaged in some form of communication whether in blog, twitter, or any other means. This also means reaching out to people who are not aware of the existence of the organization. So is this where “media” comes in? I’d say, No. Conducting quality events like Code Camps, SQLSaturdays, User Group Meetings, and the like will make this happen more effectively than spamming people with meaningless scribbles and annoying graphics such as the event flyers that media companies send for conferences.

Help Members to Share

If connection is the lifeblood of any organization, the passion to help one another is the vitality that secure the foundation of the organization. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so they say. That wholeness is guaranteed as long as the individuals are always willing to share in any way that contributes to the attainment of the goals of the organization. Sharing in the context of the PASS organization does not only connote sharing of technical knowledge among its members. Sharing must be encouraged to go all out beyond the walls of the organization. SQL Server as a technology has evolved and is evolving toward advancement. This progress has caught significant attentions in the database industry. Reaching out to as many people as possible in every opportunity is an important ingredient to growth. Share knowledge to those who need it and create the opportunity of needing such knowledge.

Help Members to Learn

The beckon of PASS is its ability to provide quality and proper learning to its members. There is always that need to connect when there is always the need to learn. This is how civilization has thrived and advanced. It is natural for individuals to seek some sort of knowledge. This characteristics happen to be natural to SQL Professionals as well. Challenges in the workplaces push one to seek solutions; and, the process necessitates the need to learn.  What is better place to look for answers or solutions than in a group of people sharing common needs, common values, and common goals.


These three primordial principles define the very existence of the Professional Organization for SQL Server. The core charter of the organization is about growth; but growth is not the end itself. PASS is an organic group sustained by the cohesion of real human relationships and driven by the need to learn and the spirit of sharing. When these elements are factored in, “media and marketing” becomes irrelevant.

Related Posts By other PASS Members:

Its the Transparency, Stupid” by Chuck Boyce (Twitter | Blog)

All aTwitter About PASS Nominations” by Stuart  Ainsworth (Twitter | Blog)

Follow me at Twitter – @MarlonRibunal

Read “About PASS” here. Download the PASS Bylaws here (Thanks to Stuart for the link)

kick it on

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2009 11:00 AM

    “but growth is not the end itself.”

    Great statement. I’ve yet to hear anyone state why this is a goal for PASS. I don’t believe it should be, but perhaps it is a mechanism for reaching a real goal. I’m just curious as to what that goal is>

    Does PASS want growth (I’m assuming in membership) to increase revenue? To increase clout? To diversify membership? To sustain revenue? To decrease overhead margin? To increase attendance at PASS Sumit? To surpass a tipping point of having a sustainable discussion?

    Why is growth important?

  2. October 18, 2009 5:47 AM

    Since the linked in comment board is rather ‘klugey” here are the comments made yesterday;

    Marlon, Good feedback, and appreciated. Clearly some of your statements ring true as I’ve stated my understanding was the community had a more clear understanding of how and why the nominees were selected which is became increasingly clear in the Ozar dialogue. You can’t blame me for that; I did the work, interviewed, and was nominated. I did it because I share a passion for this business, and my ambitions include working with like minded individuals who may teach me a thing or two along the way, and also want to make a difference. As for my statement “Media”; your own blog for example (which I’ve noted carries advertising as do many, in addition to UG’s as well), Brent Ozar’s, SQLServerPedia are in fact media and key drivers for community growth, sharing, learning and connecting. “Marketing” is critical to growth whether you are of the same opinion or not (it would not be my place to disagree w you on technical matters, but your opinion is certainly something I’ve sought throughout this campaign among others, and appreciate your input). As I have relented, PASS is a community first and foremost, but it also provides a great platform for connecting buyers and sellers via media sales as one revenue stream. More importantly, as I’ve stated repeatedly, this is my community too! One that we work tirelessly to serve – in a different manner no doubt, but we’ve made a commitment to serving Microsoft IT professionals going above and beyond any traditional B2B media company with a vast portfolio of assets. Isn’t variety the spice of life? My opinion is its great to see all of these different organizations and assets committed to the market and community betterment. If you want to diversify the board, add someone who has successfully launched many Microsoft oriented information resources that serve large audiences, was critical in the bid to run MSDN/, and TechNet online communites (the largest MS communities WW), has a track record, is willing to volunteer my time to help this community, is a leaders’ leader, then your vote could make a difference. The last thing I would want is to blemish my track record, and you can expect that I’ll work tirelessly to ensure the objectives that are placed on me are achieved. Give me a chance, mix it up. If there was no track record, or understanding then it would make sense that people are, lets say not satisfied, but I made the ballot. Why not embrace fresh ideas, input from someone who has been doing this all their career? As mentioned, my qualifications are a close fit, and like most BoD’s many organizations dont have that benefit. So you have a chance at diversity, but not that far off the mark. Many of your peers have already noted appreciation for my work and engagement with the community (does it mean they will vote for me; I dont know), but I’m out here, giving you and the rest of the community something to consider. Thanks again for your comments, passion, and feedback. Best, -Matt


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