Firstly, I don’t speak for PASS generally. Denise McInerny has already written a statement of support and you’re welcome to read it. I encourage you to learn about all the candidates campaign platforms on the PASS Elections site and to vote. The voting period is Oct. 5-11.
“Don’t be the first to do something. Be second.” – David Bowie
I’ve decided to write this statement because Wendy cares about the same things that I do, and I am going to summarise them here.
I’d like more support on the PASS Board for Global Growth. Grant Fritchey has started to take this on board, and I look forward to more support and input from the EMEA perspective on the Board itself, and throughout the community. Ideally, I’d like ‘lessons learned’ to be at the heart of the LATAM onboarding so that it is set up for success.
I’ve been on the Board for nearly three years, and it’s been a consistent heartache for me that PASS isn’t growing in Europe. I have tried my best. I haven’t been able to do as many SQLSaturdays this year after the financial difficulties wrought by the failure of SQLSaturday Edinburgh, and the problems that precipitated. Further, the Board have to declare precons, which is fine, in order to be transparent. However, it’s made me nervous of offering to do PASS precons because I am worried that I will be accused of financially profiting from the community in some way. Since I am nervous of the accusations, it means that I don’t do PASS precons anymore and this compounds my ability to travel. I often do precons for free in return for travel being paid, actually, to help the event do the success, but I’m aware of the perception.
So Wendy has understood that PASS has so much potential to grow outside of North America, and one of her key election missions is to support Global Growth. For me, it’s music to my ears and I’d like to have a friend on the Board right beside me, who prioritises it. I haven’t been able to do this by myself and I hope that Wendy might be more successful in highlighting it.
I need more support to work on Business Analytics as well. This is the second thing where I am first. Wendy’s been instrumental in delivering something that we will announce shortly but it’s good news. No spoilers here so you will have to wait!
What I learned from David Bowie
In business, sometimes you don’t want to be first. For Europe and BA, I was first, and being first isn’t easy. I need a ‘second’ and I think Wendy can help to break the back of some of the work that needs done in EMEA and in Business Analytics. I need another voice that will be heard, and two voices will carry further.
What is hard about being first
To be first is to be brave and a pioneer. Being first means that you have the burden of expectation, and that the target isn’t always clear.
It also means that people can withdraw from you and what you’re doing, because they are not sure if you are going to be successful. It’s easier to get behind the second person because it means that the first person has already absorbed the pain of the initial journey. It also means that there is someone to blame; everyone just blames the person that just left, right?
Seymour Cray, father of modern day supercomputers, is quoted as saying “I’m certainly not inventing vector processors. There are three kinds that I know of existing today. Those three were all pioneering processors. One of the problems of being a pioneer is you always make mistakes and I never, never want to be a pioneer. It’s always best to come second when you can look at the mistakes the pioneers made.” If my example serves as anything, it will be to show some of the mistakes and issues that have been clarified through the process, and can be picked up and resolved.
I’ve put this photo here. There are plenty of PASS official ones but I’ve borrowed it from Hope Foley’s blog. It’s a shame that Wendy’s not facing the camera, but this is Wendy the person; joining in, strongly participating in the community, and bringing wisdom, fun, joy and friendship along with her. This is always how I will think of her.
So I’ll vote for Wendy.
I wish the other candidates well, of course. I’d like to thank them for their courage in going forward. They have done a great thing in putting themselves forwards, and they are winners purely for that.