With the year 2012 now in the rear view mirror, and while I’m still in the midst of my holiday vacation (two whole weeks! Feels very strange…) , I thought I’d take stock of my tasks and accomplishments of the past year.
I must sound like a broken record when I say this, but I feel incredibly honored that I get to spend so much time in the community sharing what I’ve learned. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to and speak at dozens of different events, and each time it feels like a homecoming. To get to meet and get to know all of the great people I’ve encountered, to be allowed to share with them the humble bits of knowledge I’ve accumulated in my decade or so of working in this business makes it feel less like work and more like an award. A big thanks to everyone in the SQL Server community!
In 2012, I got the opportunity to present 10 talks at six different events in four states:
- SQL Saturday Houston (2 sessions)
- SQL Rally in Dallas
- SQL Saturday Oklahoma City
- SQL Saturday Dallas – BI Edition (one session plus a full-day precon)
- SQL Saturday Oregon (Portland)
- SQL PASS Summit in Seattle (two general sessions plus a full-day precon)
Doing face-to-face presentations is still my favorite way of sharing knowledge, because it allows me direct and immediate feedback from the audience.
On that topic, the Dallas event was the first time I’d delivered a full day of content without a copresenter. With an audience of about 30 people, I presented “Real World SSIS: A Survival Guide”, which was seven hours of realistic lessons I’ve learned in ten or so years of working in this field. I really enjoyed the experience – the audience was very receptive, and seemed to get a lot out of our time together. I’m planning to do this presentation again sometime in 2013.
I also finalized a two-year book project this year. Along with SQL community rock stars Andy Leonard, Michelle Ufford, Jessica Moss, and Matt Masson, I wrote and published a book entitled SSIS Design Patterns. When Andy and I first started talking about this book two years ago, I never imagined that it would be so much work – or so rewarding. This was the first significant book project I had taken on (I wrote one chapter for the MVP Deep Dives v2 book in 2011, but that was a small contribution compared to the time investment in the design patterns book) and it was an enlightening experience. Though it was a lot of work, I’m already thinking about my next book project.
I also blogged a little – very little. When I look back at my blog archive, I’m disappointed in myself that I’ve reduced so significantly the amount of technical blog posts I publish. Where I used to write several blog posts a month (sometimes several per week), I’m averaging less than one technical post a month now. There’s really no excuse for this – I’m good at writing, I enjoy it, and I just need to make that a priority. Same thing with technical forum participation. I used to participate a lot by answering questions in technical forums, which I’ve all but stopped now. I don’t think it’s an accident that the amount of forum participation and the number of blog posts decreased at about the same rate – I got a lot of blog ideas from answering questions on the forums. If I increase forum participation, I expect that I’ll have more than enough ideas and motivation to get back in the groove of blogging.
While I spent a lot of time investing in teaching others, I don’t think I did a great job of deepening my own knowledge this year. Although there is an implicit self-learning component of any teaching endeavor (after all, the teacher should be knowledgeable enough about the topic that he/she isn’t stumped by trivial questions), I didn’t spent a lot of time purposefully learning new things just for the sake of knowledge.
And on to 2013
So it’s been a busy year, no doubt. Moving on to 2013, I’ve got a few things planned and a few goals I want to meet:
- Speak at an international conference. I’ve submitted to speak at SQLBits in Nottingham, UK, and I hope to be able to present one or more topics at that event. This is the best-known SQL conference outside of the United States, and has a reputation for treating speakers and attendees well. (Shameless plug – there’s still time to vote for my sessions! You can sign up for a free account and vote on the SQLBits website.)
- Blog real technical content at least twice a month. Of the 20 blog posts I published last year, at least half of them were nontechnical in nature (where I’m going, where I’ve been, etc.). I’m going to plan for two technical blog posts per month.
- Stay involved in social media. I’m not aiming for specific metrics here, but this year I throttled back how much time I spent using social media. Though I don’t have the aim to keep my nose glued to Twitter, it is my belief that social media is a key component to keeping in touch with what’s going on in the industry.
- Define work boundaries. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent when I’ve been “sorta working.” You know, that place where you’re trying to work but aren’t really concentrating due to distraction from kids/TV/life in general. Multitasking has diminishing returns, so I’m going to do better at defining when I’m working and when I’m not.
- Start writing my next book. I’m planning at least two new books, one technical and one nontechnical, and I’m going to start at least one of them this year.
- Continue speaking. Other than SQLBits, I’ve not yet submitted to any conferences, but I’m planning to hit at least one event per quarter (hopefully more).