PASS Summit, Uncategorized

PASS Summit 2012 – Final Days Recap

Final day of Summit 2012 

This is the day it starts to get a bit sad.  Folks start heading back home so those I-probably-won’t-see-you-for-a-year-hugs start happening.  I get up and go grab some lighter fare at La Panier with Colin (blog|twitter) and Josh (blog|twitter).  After that head back and catch the PASS Board Q&A session.  Was glad I caught that after someone mentioned it to me.  It wasn’t on the schedule but it should have…a lot of great discussion!  The most interesting topic I thought was the BA Conference coming up in Chicago.  People asked if it was the path/direction for the Summit to split audiences.  They said that wasn’t the intent and it was more to reach out to a different audience and pull them into the community.  I was relieved to hear that.

How many members you think are on Twitter now?
How many members you think are on Twitter now?

From there I head to the Birds of a Feather lunch.  I helped represent a SQL Family table with the help of Colin.  I really love the conversations I had all week at those big round tables in the lunch room.  These are probably my favorite times at the conference.  I think we did well explaining how great it is to get involved in the community.

***

From there I go catch Wes Brown’s (blog|twitter) session “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My SAN”.  Wes is a super great guy and has just the best metaphors.  That and he is the SAN man.  I really enjoyed his session especially since how many times I have had the “oh it’s striped against all the disk and it lives in a magical wonderland” conversation.

The SAN man, Wes Brown
The SAN man, Wes Brown

After that was my family time session.  The 3 hour time difference made it hard to catch them at a good time.  It’s their bedtime by the time the last session is over.  So I have a video chat with them then catch up and get a jump on some of the goodbyes that start flowing.  After that I went over to catch Tim Ford’s (blog|twitter)  session.  I enjoy Tim’s sessions but this time I went more have expecting a train wreck.  I catch catching him the couple days before saying he was ripping up his whole session and kind of winging it on a different format.  He’s either full of it or works well on that just winging it nature.  The session was far from a train wreck.

Tim Ford for the last session of Summit
Tim Ford for the last session of Summit

After lingering around after the last session to say more goodbyes and catch the finale of the PASS TV, head to grab some sushi.  Went over to Japonessa with Jessica Moss (blog|twitter), Denny Cherry (blog|twitter), his wife Kris (twitter),  Colin , and Josh.  From there we head to the last night of Bush Garden.  Folks never really wanted to leave so stayed out late enough to require another late meal at 13 Coins.

Final Day in Seattle

I went down to the Daily Grill and grab some blueberry pancakes with a huge group.  We kept having pull tables together sessions.  I sit down and we all start having a really great discussion on what we loved and what could have stood some improvements at the Summit.  Luckily Scott Stauffer (blog|twitter) had his tablet so took a lot of notes.  Yeah no pressure on that blog post Scott 🙂  After this I then have to get to the train to the airport.  The wonderful and delightfully deranged Rob Volk (blog|twitter) walked me to the train.

***

So then I’m on the train and heading out and have that very movie moment thinking back on the week.  Thinking over all the great people and great times.  I’m not sure what song should be playing on that movie moment soundtrack but there’s definitely one of those slowish I’ll miss you type songs playing.  It almost aggravates me how sappy I have to get when I talk about these community events.  So the Summit is just like that to a power of 10 so it’s extra sappy.  So I can’t help it so warning for those squimish to sap.  It was such a wonderful week at Summit.  I feel truly blessed that I have found such a wonderful community of people.  I met so many new people this week that afraid it will get harder leaving each year.  Even so there is no doubt…wouldn’t miss it for the world.

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PASS Summit

PASS Summit 2012 – Day 1 & 2 Recap

There’s no way I can fit the whole Summit experience into one blog post so going to break into a few posts.  Here’s my recap of my first couple of days heading out to the loveliness that is the PASS Summit 2012.

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PASS Summit Day 1

I flew out on Monday afternoon.  Flights were on time.  I had a stop on the same airplane in Kansas City.  I was off in la la land when I hear my name.  I look up and it’s Kevin Kline (blog|twitter)!  Was very excited to have my first SQL person sighting!  So head to the train with Mr. Kline and chat his ear off on the the whole way until they kick us off the train.  They had an issue with a bus in the tunnel so gave us the boot.  It turned out to barely be a bump in the road as there was a bus right there waiting and took us the rest of the way to  Westlake station.  I then catch Ted Kruger (blog|twitter), Jes Borland (blog|twitter), and Colin Stasiuk (blog|twitter).  I was starved and figured could grab a sandwich to go since they were on their way to Bush Garden.  I thought wrong.  It was just a hair past 8:00 PM which is when sandwich shops close downtown.  Ted and I end up finding a Bartlett (pharmacy/convenience store).  So yeah, I totally ate convenience store turkey sandwich and Doritos at Bush Garden.  It was actually not bad and didn’t get sick so good job Bartlett Pharmacy.  I finished my sandwich on the curb of Bush Garden though, I never considered Bush Garden as a restaurant so didn’t dawn on me that it would be a health code violation to bring in outside food.  Food was accomplished and then on to the wonderful spectacle that is SQL karaoke.  It was great and added bonus of being the first place for many sightings of my SQL family.  Running off of adrenaline and good SQL mojo vibes went to the Tap House after that and shut the place down.

PASS Summit Day 2

I didn’t have too much going on Tuesday during the day other than the SQL Saturday organizer meeting.  That was really fantastic though!  You’ll probably remember I learned a lot doing my SQLSaturday (blog).  My scars from that always had me picking individual brains on what they did right/wrong for their SQLSaturdays but was wonderful to get a roomful of organizers sharing their experiences.  I got a lot of great information that I am taking back to Indianapolis with me.  Appreciate the organizers for setting up that meeting.  Thank you very much Kendal (blog|twitter), Karla (blog|twitter), and Niko (blog|twitter)!

Panel answering questions on organizing SQLSaturdays

Then after some relaxation and a video chat with the family I head to the first timer orientation.  It was a bit chaotic but when you have that many folks enter a room at the same time you’ll have that.  At first they have folks trying to find their dedicated alumni volunteer that had been communicating with them prior to the Summit.  I really like having someone assigned to first timers getting them info and being available for questions prior to the Summit.  Just not sure feasible to have them try to meet at the event and it’s really not a necessary portion.  Just have alumni available and have them go and find a table to sit and chat with whoever.  Once they gave up on that and just had folks sit down it was fine and we all had great conversation.  I got to talk about the SQL community and peer pressure them to join Twitter and check out #sqlhelp so yeah I had a good time.  I hope they did too.  I did hear later one of my first timers succumbed to the peer pressure and joined Twitter…win!  Thank you so very much to Sarah Strate (blog|twitter)!  She put in overtime getting alumni volunteers and planning a great event.

***

From there was the welcome reception.  By this time I’m really floating on air.  I can’t throw a rock and not hit one of my SQL peeps.  I was really glad I was in the far room to have the chance to catch the flashmob and some of the quiz bowl.  I think they should have had some of the far room action on the screens in the other room.  Plenty of networking down there but wondered if folks on the other side had any idea what was going on down there.  From there made the trek to the speaker and volunteer party at the Garage.  Thank you to PASS for hosting a great party!  Caught up with lots of folks there.  It felt like I was somewhat isolated on a different planet since it was election day and very different from my usual election day back home.  The election caught up with us all though in the area down by the Garage.  Folks in Seattle were out in the streets partying it up…big time!  Come to find out in Washington they passed gay marriage and legal marijuana that day.  I never talk politics or religion in any place remotely related to work so not going to do it here.  No matter what side of the fence you are on, I had to admit it was really great seeing people happy about the electoral process.  With all the piss and vinegar and BS involved in politics it was nice to see people happy and see the instant impact it made on a large group of people.  Running off of SQL happiness go go adrenaline juice I made it a late night that was finished off at the Tap House.

SQLSaturday

How great was this email? Confirmation of successful SQLSaturday

I have been wanting for awhile to share a really great email I received from someone after they attended the SQLSaturday in Indy.  I literally got a bit misty eyed reading this one.  I figured folks out there who are involved in the SQL community, who present and/or organize SQLSaturdays would really appreciate this as well.  You always hope that the events/presentations you do will reach people and help them.  I am always hopeful that it will give them the glimmer or spark of that passion that drives so many of us.  It was really great that I got confirmation that I was successful on that day.

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Original email:

Hope,

I wanted to let you know how amazing SQL Saturday was for me.

***

As you know I come from a smaller community, there are no SQL user groups there and very few SQL connections to be found (or so I thought). I gained my SQL knowledge by learning from my boss, in class, or by reading stuff from the internet. (Information overload) My job was less than 3 miles from my house. Needless to say, I lived and worked in a vacuum.

***

 I was introduced to PASS/IndyPASS and SQL Saturday. I joined, signed up and impatiently awaited my first SQL Saturday. I arrived at SQL Saturday not really knowing what to expect. I’ve attended numerous seminars but never any specifically related to SQL. I was impressed and overwhelmed. There were all these SQL people in one spot. They were real people; they were no longer abstract user ID’s, or online personas. They had varying levels of expertise, and were freely discussing anything and everything related to SQL. Being passionate about SQL was not only ok, it was encouraged and shared. There was even a SQL expert who is also a Tribal Fusion Dancer/Instructor! WOOHOO!! I didn’t have to explain my job as “DBA” was it own explanation. I knew that there were thousands of SQL peeps but seeing a bunch of them in the same building really put things in context for me. They were no longer just a component of a virtual world, they were tangible. I felt an instant connection with a building full of strangers. I assure you that doesn’t normally happen for me. It’s like I’ve been living in the wrong world.

***

I realized many things on Saturday; a) I’m a rookie DBA that has soooooooo much to learn about SQL. b) that my level of professional social networking skills are virtually non-existent. c) I’m definitely hooked and will do everything I can to attend IndyPASS and SQL Saturday events whenever finances allow. Yea, I got the bug.

MVP, Uncategorized

Wait what?! MVP?! Me?! Seriously?! Get out of town!!

Sitting at my desk in between meetings on Monday, September 17, 2012 and I get an email from Simon Tien of the Microsoft MVP program.  My heart skips a beat immediately and starting checking calendar and thinking to myself “it’s not October 1”.  I had gotten super great fantastic splendid email earlier from Simon telling me I had been nominated for the MVP award.  So that email created much screaming and happy dancing including a generous dose of the cabbage patch.  That nomination email said that I would know on October 1 so that was the reason I was doing a mental check of the date.  I read on and can’t believe my eyes…they wanted my address so they could send me my MVP award!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So after the closest thing I have ever come to that dramatic beauty pageant winning moment I sit there teary eyed re-reading the email over and over again to make sure I’m not reading something wrong.  I was completely shocked!  I knew I was headed down a path that could possibly put those lovely letters behind my name, not going to lie about that, but didn’t feel like I was up to that level yet.  And I had cornered many MVPs and discussed the possibilities and different aspects to the MVP process.  I just felt like I had a little further to go to get there.  I still don’t think I have come to terms with it really that I am actually a Microsoft MVP.  I think it will still take some time to sink in for sure.

***

Thinking back over the last couple years it’s pretty amazing.  Finding the SQL community and SQLSaturdays really changed me and the path of my career.  I would have never thought my path would have taken me here.  It’s just incredible to think that at the same time I find the part of my job that gets me hot in the belly passionate would also be the one to grant me a huge honor like the MVP.  I am constantly floored by the passion and good nature that goes on in the SQL community.  Seeing some of the differences with say the community or lack of for other unnamed database platforms *cough Oracle*, I feel really lucky I found my way here.  And the people I have met along the way who have helped encourage me and push me farther, I can never thank enough.  I have met so many of the most wonderful people who have become great friends and continue to meet great people with every event.

***

I remember at the dinner after one of my first technical presentations I sat with Jimmy May (blog|twitter), Kevin Kline (blog|twitter), and Brad McGehee (blog|twitter) and was still very unsure this technical speaking stuff was for me.  I remember saying “why would anyone want to listen to me when they have guys like you out there?”.  Everyone was so encouraging and supportive, especially Jimmy.  A bit of karma that he would be the one who later on would nominate me for the MVP.  Thank you so Jimmy!  Thank you for nomination and helping put me on this wonderful path.  I take every chance I can to pay this forward and trying to motivate anyone who will listen.  Also thank you to everyone who has helped motivate me, inspire me, and push me to be better technically, professionally, and just as a human being.  Thank you to a community of wonderful people where I have found so many great friends!  And of course, thank you to Microsoft for this huge honor!