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Goodbye PASS

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” – Charles Dickens

COVID-19 has been brutal on all of us, including you and me. Aside from the health implications and staggering loss of life, there has been a secondary effect in the loss of things we took for granted.

Add to that list the Professional Association for SQL Server, or PASS. Recently I wrote that PASS was finally all grown up, but asking for money during a pandemic just wasn’t enough to save the organization. It has millions of dollars in debt, and therefore dissolution is the best way forward.

As announced on December 17, 2020, we are saddened to share that, due to the impact of COVID-19, PASS is ceasing all regular operations, effective January 15, 2021. PASS will maintain access for members until January 15th. Please read the announcement from the PASS Board for more information.

That link won’t remain forever. In a few weeks all assets will be sold off to help recover some of that debt.

PASS was the thing that brought me to where I am in my career and professional reputation. PASS brought together the people who helped me write four books. PASS is the reason I run a user group today.

We need to grieve the loss of our organization, and then realize in time that it is for the greater good. Change is an opportunity to make new, to make better, to avoid some of the mistakes from our past. The SQL Server family is as strong as ever, even without the stewardship of a professional association. Microsoft data platform professionals don’t need the support of a large organization like we did 20 years ago. Many different data-related events all around the world — virtual and physical — have shown that we can share knowledge without PASS, and thus I welcome this necessary change because I know in its wake that something (or a few somethings) more suited to the 21st century will take its place.

Thank you to the volunteers and board members of PASS for elevating our industry to where it is now. We couldn’t have done it without you. Now it’s time to reflect on what’s next.

Edited to add: Microsoft announced an initiative which will have more information in the coming weeks: