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SQLSaturday #59 – Speaker Interview #11 with Steve Simon

SQLSaturday #59 – Speaker Interview #11 with Steve Simon 

Queue the track.  I can’t help hearing the theme song from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when I read Steve Simon’s interview below.  But I find his background extremely interesting on how he went from a geologist in South Africa, to proficient BI professional and active SQL community speaker.  I hope he doesn’t mind the analogy J 

Steve is currently an AVP with State Street Corporation in Boston. He has been involved with database design and analysis for over 20 years. Steve has presented papers at eight PASS Summits and one at PASS Europe 2010. He has just recently presented his PASS 2008 Summit presentation in Johannesburg South Africa. Steve has also presented 5 papers at the Information Builders' (IBI) International Technology Summits. He has also had 2 papers published in IBI Journal & is a regular Webinar presenter for IBI.  So, without further adieu, let’s see what S. Simon, has to say:


RP: Steve, please tell us a little about yourself, your background, your career and your involvement in the SQL Community.  


SS: Originally, I was a geologist working in Southern Africa. I entered IT in mid 1985 and have worked on most platforms including mainframes, VAX, and UNIX and windows boxes.   I have been actively working with SQL Server for the past 12 years and have been an active speaker within the Northeast, speaking at  user group meetings, code camps, SQL Saturday’s  and presentations at PASS North America and PASS Europe.


RP: What is your area of expertise?  How did you become a DBA/SQL Professional?


SS: Application Development and Business Intelligence


RP: What advice would you give your fellow colleagues who are trying to become more senior professionals?


SS:  Work at it and above all read and digest as much as you can. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. We all learn from our errors.


RP: As I see the question all the time, what do you tell folks who want to get more involved in the SQL Community?  


SS: No matter how new you are to SQL Server, you should not be afraid to present at your local user group. The most common comment that I receive is “what can I teach or show folks when I am new to the field”.  Working in “your” environment, more than likely you will find that you are doing things that other folks never thought of.  This is your jumping off point.


RP: What are 3 of your favorite features in SQL Server 2008/R2?


SS: I have not worked with R2, but I believe that the improvements to SSAS and SSRS are great.


RP:   Indeed, there are many useful and wonderful new features in R2 that would be of interest to you.  Our readers can check out What’s New in R2 for Reporting Services, as well as What’s New for Analysis Data Mining, and SSAS’s Multidimensional Database.


RP: What are you working on currently?


SS: Speaking Circuit.  I also work with Information Builders‘WebFOCUS and presented for them at their H/O in New York on Thursday October 14th.


RP:  So, sounds like you come down to New York, quite a bit.  We’re glad to have you come back for SQLSaturday in November 20, 2010. What are you looking forward to, or, what excites you the most about presenting at our SQLSaturday event in the capital of the world, NYC?


SS:  -Being able to pass knowledge and thoughts onto others.

  -To seed innovative ideas.

  -To learn from others

  -To see what other folks are doing with the product. This is a Gestalt effect.


RP:  Gesundheit! What are some of your other interests, hobbies, etc. when you’re not being a DBA/Engineer/BI professional?


SS: Classical music, bugging my wife (or so she says).


RP:  Funny, some consider bugging the wife a chore, rather than a hobby J.  Have you ever bugged your wife, while listening to classical music?


  SS: No comment.


RP:  In that case, why don’t you give us a preview of the topic and session you have planned for us at SQLSaturday#59


SS: Will be doing two sessions, one on “Handling data anomalies with data profiling tasks”, and “12 ways to write Poorly performing MDX queries.”

The first will be a hands-on presentation that will show the attendee how to revamp and revise our preload data validations, often removing many of our ‘early warning’ queries and replacing these with SSIS 2008 Data Profiling Tasks.  The latter is aimed at showing the attendee some of the pitfalls of poorly designed and poorly performing MDX queries and how many of the queries may be optimized to ensure that they are both efficient and effective.


RP:  I see that you have returned to Johannesburg South Africa in 08, to present at the PASS Summit there.  Nice!  So, whether it’s geology or SQL, it is clear you are a dedicated professional and community guy.  We appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us at all these events. 


When you come down, will you wear the trademark hat?  I’m not saying you need the whip, just the hat. Ok, cut the theme music already!


Steve, thank you for your time and tolerance for putting up with my questions and literary license J  Look forward to seeing you there!



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