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An Analogy is like a Tree….

For years, I’ve been trying to express how everything ties into everything else. A big part of understanding any given thing is relating that thing to other things like it. So, a big part of learning is analogy.

This is been on my mind lately because I’ve been listening to some podcasts regularly, and been surprised at how much what they’re saying ties into what I do. The Nerdist podcast talks about life in LA and being a stand up comic , and that still relates to me…to databases and teaching and work. Same with Paul and Storm… talking about travel and food and being musicians.

Of course there’s a basic principle – that we’re all human, and so we think about and react to disparate experiences similarly. But it’s so ubiquitous…  Chess is like Kenpo. Kenpo is like databases. Databases are like screenplays. Which are like wine. Which are like relationships. Which is like jobhunting. And on and on and on.  The trick is knowing the subject matter well enough to know which patterns apply.

In line with the theme of this post, I don’t necessarily have a single point. But I do have a few observances:

You can’t go wrong by pursuing your interests (always excepting obsession).

- Ask Grant Fritchey (GFritchey), Mladen Prajdic (mladenprajdic), and Sean McCown (MidnightDBA) about what martial arts has taught them about troubleshooting.

- Ask Jes Borland (grrl_geek), Allen Kinsel (sqlinsaneo), and Steve Jones (way0utwest) what running has taught them about persistence.

- Ask Steve Smith (SteveSmithSQL) and Gary (wnylibrarian) about database concepts in libraries. And so on…

Part of the value in teaching and mentoring is being able to tailor analogies to your specific audience. This is a limitation of books: It’s aimed at a wide enough audience that you can’t say “Oh, you’re into flying light aircraft? Then let me tell you how DMVs are like the altimiter…”

So tell me about your non-database experience that’s tied into your SQL work! 

Happy days,
Jen McCown
http://www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen

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