PASS Summit Virtual Speaker Idol 2020

Published On: 2020-07-22By:

It’s that time of year again. The PASS Summit speaker announcement was published yesterday. And that means that today is the kick-off for the PASS Summit Speaker Idol 2020 signups.


As the PASS Summit is going to be virtual this year, that means that the Speaker Idol competition for this year will also be online. This will come with its own set of logistical challenges as we’ll have people competing from different time-zones, as well as from all over the world, not to mention coordinating handoffs, Internet issues, etc. We’ll figure it all out and it’ll be just as great as it always has been.

Last year I wasn’t expecting to be at the PASS Summit and my good friend Hamish Watson was kind enough to take over the reins for the year, but I’m back (at least virtually) and I couldn’t be happier to be back.

The Format

The format for Speaker Idol this year will be very similar to all the prior years. There will be four rounds, one on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and two on Friday (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). The first three rounds will be the preliminary rounds, each with four contestants. The finals will be Friday Afternoon and will include the winners from each of the preliminary rounds as well as one wild card presenter who will be selected from the runners up from the three preliminary rounds.

Two people recording a pod cast.

Each contestant will give a 5-minute presentation on anything, preferably something technical. After the contestant gives their presentation, the judges will give the contestant their critiques and feedback. At the end of the panel, the judges will select a winner and runner up for that session. The winner will then go on to the finals, and runner up may be called to present again on Friday. Friday morning after the morning session, the judges will decide who the runner up will be, and they’ll either announce it at the Friday morning session, or they will meet after the session and select the runner up. I’ll then email the runner up and let them know that the judges want to see them present again.

The judges’ ruling is final, and the judges must select only one winner (this was a question that came up in the first year, and we only have one speaking slot in the PASS Summit 2021).

Am I Eligible for Speaker Idol?

The eligibility for the PASS Summit Speaker Idol is pretty straightforward.

  1. Are you going to be attending the PASS Virtual Summit 2020 (even if you haven’t registered for the PASS Summit yet)?
  2. Have you not yet been a speaker in a regular session or pre-con at PASS Summit or PASS BA Conference?
  3. Have you presented before at something else (SQL Saturday, User Group Meeting, Microsoft Ignite, SQL Bits, SQL Rally, etc.)?
  4. Can you attend whatever Speaker Idol session you are assigned to? (Due to Timezones when we assign speakers to sessions I’ll work with the speakers to make session assignments as best we can be based on your local time zone, but I can’t make any guarantees. But I will do my best.)

If your answers to these questions are Yes, then you are ready to be a contestant at Speaker Idol.

Members of the PASS Board, the PASS Executive Committee, employees of PASS, C&C, or sponsors of Speaker Idol are not eligible.

Computer Hardware

In order to present your session, as we are remote this year, you’ll need to provide a computer to present from; an internet connection that will support screen sharing, audio, and video (if you choose to use a camera); a microphone (if using a laptop the built on microphone should to be good enough); and a video camera is you want to share video. There’s is no requirement that you use video.

If you want to purchase a better microphone and/or camera (and I’m not suggesting that you do, we’ll happily work with what you have) I blogged about the setup that I have (it’s in section 3), which I’m very happy with.

The Prize

As the winner of the PASS Virtual Summit 2020, you’ll be the first known presenter at the PASS Summit 2021. Travel to the PASS Summit 2021 conference is not included.

Peter Kral wins the PASS Summit Speaker Idol 2016 competition
Picture “borrowed” from Jamie Wick’s website, with Jamie’s permission.

You’ll also have the bragging rights to say that you one what is probably the hardest speaking competition in IT.


If someone drops out of the competition before the PASS Virtual Summit starts, then a new contestant will be selected from the list of people that have entered. If someone drops out of the competition after the PASS Virtual Summit starts, then their position won’t be filled.

If the winner of one of the preliminary rounds can’t compete in the finals, then the runner up from that round will be moved to the finals and the judges will have the option of selecting either of the remaining contestants of that round for the wild card spot.

If a Speaker Idol judge isn’t able to attend one of the rounds their position will not be filled in.

How to Enter

Entry for the PASS Summit Speaker Idol competition is done by simply filling out this online form. It’ll take you a few minutes at most to fill out. That’s it, just fill out the form before August 31, 2020 September 7th, 2020 Stember 30th, 2020, at 11:59:59pm Pacific Time. That’s it, you’re registered.

So go and get registered as I’d love to see lots of new people entering this year, as travel isn’t a concern this year.

On September 1st, 2020 September 8th, 2020 October 1st, 2020 I’ll email the people who are selected for the contest. As soon as I have 12 people to our contestants for this year I’ll notify the people that weren’t selected for 2020.


P.S. Sorry that PASS Summit registration is required this year. It’s a requirement of the solution that is being used to host the PASS Summit, not a requirement from myself or from PASS. A ticket for the PASS Summit is not included with entry into the competition.

P.P.S. The registration deadline has been pushed back to September 7th, 2020 as noted above.

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Today is MVP Day, and it was a good day for some not so for others

Published On: 2019-07-01By:

Today is “MVP Day” when Microsoft MVPs find out if they’ve been awarded for another year as Microsoft MVPs.  For some people it was not that great of a day as they weren’t renewed as Microsoft MVPs today. For others, today there was a really good email in their inbox. I’m happy to say that all 5 of the folks at DCAC that were Microsoft MVPs yesterday are still Microsoft MVPs today.

Congrats to Joey, Monica, John and Meagan (and myself to make 5) on another year of being Microsoft MVPs.


The post Today is MVP Day, and it was a good day for some not so for others appeared first on SQL Server with Mr. Denny.

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Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter interview with Denny Cherry and Jen Stirrup

Published On: 2019-05-03By:

At Microsoft Ignite 2018, Jen caught up with community legend Denny Cherry to hear what Denny has to say on all things SQL Server and Azure!

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American Business Awards® Taps DCAC Winner in Multiple Technology Categories

Published On: 2019-05-02By:

OCEANSIDE, Calif., May 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting (DCAC) proudly announced that after evaluating more than 3,800 applicants, the American Business Awards® has tapped DCAC a winner in three of their most competitive categories:

  • Technical Innovation of the Year
  • Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year
  • Technical Professional of the Year

DCAC received a “Technical Innovation of the Year” award for their work designing a cloud-based database on behalf the Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The database enables real-time communication between EGPAF and 5,200 medical facilities in 15 African countries.

DCAC received a “Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year” award for their impressive portfolio of technology innovation in 2018, which included innovations for Fortune 500 companies, enterprise and small businesses, and nationally renowned non-profits.

A “Technical Professional of the Year” award was granted to globally renowned Microsoft MVP and DCAC Senior Consultant Joey D’Antoni, who took on the work of company founder Denny Cherry when he was placed on extended medical leave. In January and February of 2018 alone, D’Antoni flew 30,000 miles globally to ensure all DCAC client’s needs were met to the unparalleled standard of DCAC’s world-renowned reputation.

Founder Denny Cherry commented, “On behalf of DCAC, I’d like thank the American Business Awards® for all of this overwhelming amount of recognition, especially in the face of such impressive competition. We’d also like to share the “Technical Innovation of the Year” award with the Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, without whom this award wouldn’t be possible. Finally, I’d like to thank and congratulate my best friend and Senior Consultant, Joey D’Antoni for all he did when I was on medical leave. It’s one feat to be an expert in your field, it’s exponentially more difficult to act and do the work of two experts, and he did. Thank you all, we look forward to another great year at DCAC!”

DCAC received the Bronze in each category.

About Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting

Award-winning Microsoft Partner and Gold Platform certified Denny Cherry and Associates Consulting assist companies with reliably attaining IT goals such as Azure Migration, HA, scalability, SQL Server virtualization and acceleration, while finding ways to save on costs. With clients ranging from Fortune 50 corporations to small businesses, their commitment to each is the same: to provide a deft, high-speed IT environment that maximizes every aspect of their platform: from architecture, to infrastructure, to network.

SOURCE Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting
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Globally Recognized Expertise

As Microsoft MVP’s and Partners as well as VMware experts, we are summoned by companies all over the world to fine-tune and problem-solve the most difficult architecture, infrastructure and network challenges.

And sometimes we’re asked to share what we did, at events like Microsoft’s PASS Summit 2015.

Awards & Certifications

Microsoft Partner   Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting LLC BBB Business Review    Microsoft MVP    Microsoft Certified Master VMWare vExpert
INC 5000 Award for 2020    American Business Awards People's Choice    American Business Awards Gold Award    American Business Awards Silver Award    FT Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies 2020   
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