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Roundup: Un-SQL #001 – Branding

Hi-ho all, and a wonderful Un-SQL event it’s been!  We had at least twenty-six entries!! First, the recap:

While T-SQL Tuesday is “…the SQL Server blogosphere’s first recurring, revolving blog party….on the chosen [SQL-related] topic, “UN-SQL Friday is a completely intermittent blog party about something SQL-adjacent. (This, by the way, sort of sums up the theme of a lot of what we do on the DBAs at Midnight webshow, but I digress.)

Your mission: To write about branding.

Second, my absolute favorite sound byte OF ALL TIME, EVAR:

My good friends Sean and Jen, the Midnight DBAs, have decided to blatantly copy me.

Un-SQL Friday is like T-SQL Tuesday, only it’s not about SQL topics, it’s not going to happen on a regular basis, it’s not a revolving event, and it’s not organized by me. So in short, they’ve created a chaotic, disorganized, and thoroughly downmarket twist on what I’ve done. How cool is that?

-From Adam Machanic’s contribution, Don’t Be a Port in the Storm

Adam has achieved new levels of #awesomesauce in my book.

And third, your roundup.  Note that a few pingbacks may not have worked; if I missed your article, please write me or leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to add it.

The Roundup

First to appear on my list was earlybird Eric Wisdahl, with UnSQL 001 – Personal / Professional Branding | Destination: Change. He discusses how he came to realize he needed a more unified brand, and offers some tips. Notable quote: “I hadn’t really thought about the fact that the information that was out there was often a mixed signal.”

*A close second was Un-SQL Friday — Shock-n-Roll, from hubby and MidnightDBA extraordinaire Sean McCown. I asked him to write down “what we had talked about with Nic at PASS, “and he did that and more. This is a MidnightDBA manifesto. Memorable quote: “I don’t care to mince words when reporting on [crappy software] because I always figured other DBAs want to know what the real scoop is.”  Call me biased, but this post is one of my favorites.  (See also Sean’s follow up, One More Thing.)

Datachick Karen Lopez was next, declaring the First Rule of Branding: Grab it! It’s good advice, because a consistent web presence is key. “By having a common name and joining late, I missed out on having a common brand for me personally.”

Matt Velic gets triple points for designing his own personal Un-SQL logo, AND our now-official Un-SQL logo, and then going back unasked to clean it up for me.  His blog UnSQL Friday 1: Branding talks about his brand, and his plan.  “I’m “that SQL Cruise guy.” You know, “the one with the video.” And while I am proud of the work that I do at the Foundation, and I am proud of that video entry, I do want to be known for more.”

*My contribution shows up next: Branding, my ass! (Un-SQL Friday 001)  I wrote about our brand, of course; and the concept of individual and moniker brands (with examples! and pictures! and a lolcat!); and how organizations are pairing their company brand with individual brands, to great effect. “The REASON we’ve been thinking about branding is that…the subject has come up roughly twelve gazilliondy times, often with MidnightDBA as the focus.”

Side note: As I’m writing this post, on Sunday afternoon, I just got notice of another contribution. A-w-e-s-o-m-e.)

Thomas LaRock wrote the brief Un-SQL Friday: Branding, about purposeful branding. “… you need to sit down and think about the brand you want to market.”

*I specifically asked Adam Machanic to write a blog for this event, and I’m so glad I did, and that he did.  His post, Un-SQL Friday: Don’t Be a Port in the Storm, gives us a lot to think over. He is also the first to point out: “Everyone’s goals are different …I do not believe that everyone should bother putting in the work required to get their name on the radar. For many people the reward is simply not worth the investment.” If you only read one of the branding blogs, read mine. If you read three, be sure that Adam’s is one of them.

Andy Galbraith continues the party with Branding for Dummies, and a couple of key branding points. “I don’t really consider that I have a brand, other than being yet *another* Andy…”

In UnSQL: Branding, Andy Leonard charmingly talks over his own brand (motto: “I Am Here To Help™”), injected with some startlingly good parenting advice: “Mom emphasized our individual strengths. She differentiated her four sons based on our strengths…first, we felt good about each other; second, we did not feel threatened by each other.”  Get to know Andy; he’s a good guy.

Troy Gallant’s Un-SQL Friday 001 – Branding & Bunny Murder talks over what one’s brand says about them. I have to admit, like a couple of others, that I didn’t recognize “The Grateful DBA” as a tribute to The Grateful Dead”…I thought he was just a happy kind of guy. “So, what does your brand say about you?”

Our very own Nic Cain (freshly knighted by the MidnightDBAs) wrote UnSQL Friday #1: Branding, which chronicles the discovery of his accidental brand.  “I was introduced …as the guy with the bush baby picture on twitter. It seems that even without deciding upon a brand I had one anyway.”

Pat Wright, who I (and probably many) tend to think of as The Photographer, writes his branding to do list in his post: Branding Me? “I’ll have follow up posts that I can use to detail these items out and show progress.” I look forward to reading them, Photog….ah, I mean, Pat.

K. Brian Kelley presents an opposing point of view in I Don’t Worry about My Brand. ” I could improve on the self-marketing, but I think I’ve done better spending that time on developing my skills, making friends, and just doing what I do.”

In Un-SQL Friday : Building a Brand, Aaron Bertrand tells us his story as a 1840′s gold rush pioneer.  No, I’m sorry, that’s not true…but the truth is just as interesting: “I sold the aspfaq.com property…I received a wire transfer larger than any consulting project I’d handled to that point – and to this day.”

Next up, Andy Lohn‘s entry Un-SQL Friday #001 – Branding “is more of a promise than my thoughts and ideas on it.  My promise is that I’ve got to do a better job at branding.”  Attaboy, Andy. Start by reading a bunch of these posts!

Oscar Zamora is his own brand, says he in I am my own brand. “I met many people at the SQL Pass Summit this year, and they recognized me just because of my Twitter name. ”

*Rob Farley wrote One other thing: Why ‘LobsterPot’?  And I’m going to put him in for some kind of marketing medal, for he hath seized this opportunity to talk up his consulting company.  This is real admiration, folks…I like an opportunist.  He talks in detail about the thought process behind the name and logo for LobsterPot, and about separating his personal brand from the company. I’m going to call this one a must-read, along with Adam’s (and mine, and Sean’s).  Double points, Rob, for using the Un-SQL logo.

Andie Letourneau – a personal favorite MidnightDBA Groupie, and all-around eclectic Wonder Woman – explores the idea of her brand.  “I’m still working on building my “Brand” in the SQL server commmunity. I’m not really known yet as the one who knows <cool SQL thing that no one else is expert at>…”

Mike Walsh wrote Brand Meet Person, a very humble examination of his own non-brand brand. “Perhaps the question could even be phrased as “Whose brand are you working harder for?””

Rafael Salas wrote Personal Branding by Accident (bonus points for using the logo!) about his accidental branding. “…pick things you like – and that are legal – that can be easily aligned with your professional interests.”

Brent Ozar’s blog is the harsh one: Un-SQL Friday: Branding – Tough Love Edition. In response to the Un-SQL Branding blogs he says, in essence, you’re doing it wrong.  “I read the responses unfold, and I’m not going to name names, but I saw a heck of a lot of really, really bad advice – and nobody referenced a book.”  I won’t say here (yet) whether I agree or disagree, but the branding advice he gives – to read a book – is always in good standing with me.  

“Honorary” SQL Geek Sarah Sjolander presents Personal Branding – make people know who you are, wherein  she ponders branding: “What it all comes down to, is questions. What are your passions? What are your goals? How do you want people to see you? How can you best represent who you are without feeling like a fraud?”

Jorge “SQLChicken” Segarra graces us with Un-SQL Friday: Branding…gazillionty points, Jorge, for not just a mention, but an actual PICTURE of Clinton and Stacy from What Not to Wear.  Chicken talks up his own brand, and the good and bad associated with brands.  “…what it basically comes down to is common sense. If you’re blogging from an employer’s blog, remember you can’t just spout off whatever you want to say no matter how badly you want to.”

SQL Agent Man Tim Ford wrote a very clever and funny blog on brands in the SQL community: Un-SQL Friday-001 Branding. “…no matter what we think, SQL ain’t sexy. It’s hairy (Sean McCown). It’s inky (Jeremiah Peschka and Crys Manson). It’s prickly and wants you off its lawn (Buck Woody)….”

David Stein presents Branding Leaves a Mark.  He shares a few thoughts – “There’s a reason Hemmingway didn’t write Choose Your Own Adventure Books and I shouldn’t be modeling my career after them. I’ve made progress, but I’ve been doing so in a random, unfocused way.” – and promises to show us his branding plan in the weeks to come.  

Tim Mitchell wrote Un-SQL Friday: Personal Branding – Don’t Bother. “I’m to play devil’s advocate here and tell you why you shouldn’t bother with branding.”  But why, Tim? [I read.] Ohhhhh….


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