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The Scary DBA

I have twenty+ years experience in IT. That time was spent in technical support, development and database administration. I work forRed Gate Software as a Product Evangelist. I write articles for publication at SQL Server Central, Simple-Talk, PASS Book Reviews and SQL Server Standard. I have published two books, ”Understanding SQL Server Execution Plans” and “SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled.” I’m one of the founding officers of the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group and its current president. I also work on part-time, short-term, off-site consulting contracts. In 2009 and 2010 I was awarded as a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. In the past I’ve been called rough, intimidating and scary. To which I usually reply, “Good.” You can contact me through grant -at- scarydba dot kom (unobfuscate as necessary).

SQL Saturday #67 Wrap-up

Just… Wow. What an event. What a great group of people. I’m just so lucky to be involved with fantastic individuals like these. Thanks for having me out to play everyone, I really appreciated it.

SQL Saturday #67 started for me with my second FreeCon (follow the link for details on the first one). Brent Ozar (blog|twitter) put together another great session where we spent a lot of time talking about blogs and blogging as well as swoops through other topics. We, by the way, is like a who’s who of great SQL Server people. I’m not going to post the list just in case everyone doesn’t want to be outed. However, I found the event extremely useful. I have a ton of notes and action items for myself and I really need to get to work on them. I think you’ll begin to see a few changes around here, and over at my other blog (I can’t resist the occasional shameless plug, please forgive me). I may have to put together a sseparate blog post, just on the Freecon.

After the FreeCon I went to the speaker dinner. It was hosted by SQL Sentry (thanks guys). There were several MVPs and speakers from all over the country (including a contingent from Cleveland, reversing my earlier trip). I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of local people, a few speaking for the first time. If you take nothing else away from my rambling, remember this: Yes, these events are about the exchange of knowledge and skills, but even more, it’s about people.

The day of the event I was presenting in the morning. Which meant that I didn’t attend any of the morning sessions because I have a hard time focusing when I have to present in an hour or two. Instead, I ran through my slides, getting ready for my presentation (details below) and shot a few videos. In the afternoon I had to present again for my vendor slot. Only two people showed up. Getting people into the vendor sessions is something that SQL Saturday events should try harder at, and scheduling them at the same time as other sessions, probably hurts the vendors. Oh, and could the two guys who were there get in touch. I lost your contact info. Sorry.

Finally, I was able to go to a session. I went to see Jess Schultz Borland (blog|twitter) and her talk on “Make Your Voice Heard.” She covered Twitter, blogging, Linked-In and forums, all as a means to build your presence on the internet. It was a great session. She’s an excellent speaker, very engaging, highly energetic (something I strive for in my sessions, but she leaves me in the dust on that), and clearly informed on the topic. She had construction paper and crayons as part of an interactive approach with the audience. It worked really well. Most everyone came out of there with one or two new contacts on Twitter (or an interest in joining Twitter). If you get the chance to see this one (or anything else she does), I’d recommend it.

The second session I attended was unfortunately the final session of the day. But, it was a great session on DMOs from none other than the Man, Tim Ford (blog|twitter). Tim has a delivery style that is very relaxed and conversational. Using it he just puts out reams and reams of info. You really do want to get to his sessions when he talks. I took a bunch of notes and came away with great info. Tim attracted quite a few other speakers, so when questions & comments came from the audience, there was good information there too. Definitely worth going to and a great capper to a great day.

There was an after-party. It did include some SQL Karaoke. But that’s all I’m going to tell you about that. If you didn’t go, you missed out.

My Session:

My session was packed (go here to see a short video of the room) with people sitting in the aisles and around the edges. There were approximately 80 people and I received about 62 feedback forms (thank you, everyone). Here are the results and comments. The ratings were simple. Did the session meet, not meet, or exceed your expectations. Rate the quality of the session, 1-5. Then there were comments. Here are my percentages:

Met Expectations:

12 blank
1 Did Not Exceed – 2% (more on this)
21 Met – 41%
29 Exceeded – 57%

Rating:

Blank: 3 – 5%
1: 0
2: 0
3: 5 – 8%
4: 16 – 25%
5: 39 – 62%

I’m very happy with the results. I quite happy that a large number of people thought I met expectations. I wouldn’t want there to be, even as many as I have, on Exceeded expectations. Because then it means that expectations of me were low indeed. Met is fine. The one person that wasn’t happy, I’ll talk about in a moment. Ratings on a scale like this are hard to judge, but clearly a majority of the people were happy. That’s good. Here is a selection of comments and some of my commentary about that comment:

“It would have been nice to know this was high-level rather than low level. Demos didn’t work too well.” I’ll take the hit on this one. I could have been more clear in the abstract, but it does say “introduce the query optimizer.” It doesn’t say anywhere, “deep dive,” “detailed,” or “low level.” Sorry. This is also the “Did Not Exceed” rating. I could have been a bit more clear, but it does show the importance of reading the abstract to understand what’s going on. If I’m talking about the optimizer and statistics and constraints and indexes, all in one hour… seriously, how detailed could it get? So while I’m sorry I didn’t reach one guy, I don’t think there’s a darn thing I could do for him beyond a little more clarification in the description.

“Sidekick in the corner was distracting” Actually this is my favorite comment. Tom LaRock (blog|twitter) was sitting in the corner at the front because there just wasn’t any room. He did make a few comments, but not that many. I didn’t see an issue with it, and still don’t. I’m just excited because, now, Tom is my sidekick. However, it is important to be aware that banter with the audience doe upset people. But, no, again this isn’t anything I’m taking action on beyond keeping myself aware. And of course starting Tom in the sidekick training program.

“Very good session. Please hide “Object Explorer” in SSMS for better code views” Crud. I usually do, but my head appears to have been elsewhere on this one. Thanks for the feedback. Something to correct going forward.

“Great information on the optimizer. Got some resources for further research”

“Very engaging and fun to listen to”

“Obvious enthusiasm & knowledge. Lots of pointers to useful things.” It’s like I paid this person. “Useful” is one of my target words for my brand, so I love seeing it in feedback. There’s a small indication I’m doing something right.

“Very informative.” Again, a key word. Your check is in the mail.

It was a great event. I’m happy I got to attend. Thanks to Wendy Pastrick (blog|twitter) and all her volunteers.

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