And now for something completely different…

In Monty Python’s Flying Circus, they would sometimes switch sketches with the line, “And now for something completely different”.  I’m reminded of that as I’m writing this, looking down at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on my way to my seventh PASS Summit, for as familiar as this conference is to me now, especially in its home venue of Seattle, this year will be completely different for a number of reasons.

Kingfisher TechnologiesFirst, I’m not attending this year’s Summit as an employee.  I’m overdue in announcing it, but about six weeks ago, I left my previous job as a database administrator for GreatAmerica Financial Services to strike out on my own as an independent consultant.  I am now proudly the founder and principal consultant of Kingfisher Technologies, a new consultancy based in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor.  My focus will remain on SQL Server, with our primary offerings being in the areas of performance, architecture, and security.  More details about our offerings will be on our company website, (as soon as we can get it finished).  It’s been a wild ride the last six weeks, and I’m looking forward to much more!

Second, I’ll also be speaking in Seattle for the first time!  I couldn’t be more excited that I have not one, but two, engagements this year.  On Monday, I’ll be speaking at Red Gate’s SQL in the City conference on the topic of challenges and opportunities for database source control. I’ve been a passionate advocate of this for a number of years now, and I’m thrilled to be able to share some of what I’ve learned about it with the attendees at that conference.  If you’ll be in Seattle on Monday and haven’t already registered for it, please do consider attending – the last SQL in the City I attended was a very fun event, and although it does have a distinctive Red Gate vibe to it (in a good way), they have a lot of good content.  It’s a great way to start out your week.

I was also selected this year to be one of the first-round contestants in the PASS Summit’s inaugural Speaker Idol competition!  Twelve of us were selected from the pool of applicants.  Each of us will give a five-minute presentation before a panel of judges on either Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, or Friday morning.  The winner from each of those rounds will give a second presentation at the finals on Friday afternoon, with the overall winner receiving a guaranteed speaking spot at next year’s Summit.  To say I’m honored to be among the twelve selected is an understatement!  If you can, come to the Speaker Idol session on Thursday evening (5:00p in Room 400) to support me – I plan to give an overview of disk performance for DBAs, and I could use a room full of friendly faces!

This is going to be an awesome week!  If you’re at Summit, please stop me in the hall and say “hi”.  I’d love to meet you!  I’ll also be in the Community Zone on Friday morning – a great place to meet other Summit people and find out more about your local chapter and SQL Saturday – and I may be around the “Consultants’ Corner” booth in the exhibit hall from time to time.  See you there!


Starting a blog is an intimidating venture, and frankly, I’ve been talking about it – and putting it off – for some time.  I’ve had good reasons for putting it off… really…

  • I’m a decent DBA, but there are so many others in the community that know so much more than I do.
  • There are a ton of great blogs in the SQL community already; no one’s going to be interested in reading one more.
  • I’m sure I won’t say anything that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before on other blogs.
  • I don’t really have time.
  • I have a young family that needs my attention. (OK, this is the one item on the list that really is a good reason.)

I’ve come to realize that nearly all of these “reasons” are nothing more than excuses.  Working with PASS for the last couple of years has taught me a few things about community: anyone can participate, everyone has something to contribute, and the conversation always has room for more voices.  Communicating with others, sharing your thoughts, is a big part of how we learn.  Sure, you’ll pick up some things by listening, but you can learn so much more by actually doing.

Besides, who am I doing this for, anyway?  Several people have pointed out in their blogs recently that a great reason, if not the best reason, to write a blog is for yourself – to organize your thoughts, to remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished, to give yourself a reference of thing you’ve learned.  When I made the decision that I was going to do this for myself, it became a lot easier to justify the time in my already busy schedule.  I would be ecstatic if someone else learns from something I write, but that shouldn’t be my only reason for doing it, because there’s no guarantee that will happen.

Brent Ozar (b|t) and Buck Woody (b|t) gave an excellent session at the PASS Summit last fall on presenting, which is something else I want to start doing.  (One thing at a time, Ed…)  One exchange in particular stuck with me, and I think it applies to blogging, as well.  I don’t remember their exact words, but it went something like this:

  1. Not everyone is going to like what you say.
  2. Most people who don’t like what you say aren’t going to show up.  Ignore them.
  3. The rest of the people who don’t like what you say will show up just to criticize you.  Ignore them, too.
  4. That just leaves the people who want to listen and learn, so shut up and do it.

Duly noted, sirs.  This is me, shutting up and doing it.