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Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell is a business intelligence consultant, author, trainer, and SQL Server MVP with over a decade of experience. Tim is the principal of Tyleris Data Solutions and is a Linchpin People teammate. Tim has spoken at international, regional, and local venues including the SQL PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Connections, SQL Saturday events, and various user groups and webcasts. He is a board member at the North Texas SQL Server User Group in the Dallas area. Tim is coauthor of the book SSIS Design Patterns, and is a contributing author on MVP Deep Dives 2. You can visit his website and blog at TimMitchell.net or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Tim_Mitchell.

Key Change

piano I love music.  In fact, I like to think that I’m a student of music – although anyone who has heard me sing karaoke would agree that I’m far from having mastered it.  I’ve got a taste in music that is as diverse as anyone I know.  I enjoy tunes from multiple genres spanning decades of time, and I often blend seemingly incongruent styles together in a single listening session.  But equaling my enjoyment of the music itself is the appreciation for the technical components involved – the cadence, the symmetry, the melding together of disparate sounds in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Music is made up of both art and science, and certainly has the ability to inspire emotion in people.

One of my favorite technical elements of music is the key change.  The dramatic shift that comes along with a key change in the middle of the song can give the listener the feeling that things have just taken off, that the song has stepped up to a new level.  Indulge me if you will and take a ride back to the 1980s, where we’ll listen to one of the most recognizable artists from that decade: Genesis.  Jump over to YouTube and listen to Invisible Touch.  Take 4 minutes and listen to the whole thing, or if you’re in a rush, jump forward to about the 2:45 mark.  (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

Welcome back.  Did you hear what happened at about the 3:07 mark?  A sudden change of key in the song took it up by one full note.  The words didn’t change.  The rhythm or song speed didn’t change.  The song was great before the key change, and was great after the key change, but that relatively small change in key really added something, didn’t it?  Although not every melody would be appropriate for a dramatic key change such as this, it fit very well with the flow of this song.

So what does this have to do with data?  Nothing really, but it does have a lot to do with me.  Today, I’m announcing that I’m making a key change in my career.

It’s so hard to say goodbye

Before I share with you the details of my key change, I’ve got to say a few words about the family I’ve been a part of for the last 3+ years.  I came to Artis Consulting in February of 2010, after having a chance encounter with a friend of a friend at the SQL PASS Summit in 2009 (here’s my blog post about that networking success story).  At the time, I thought I was simply taking a new job – a great job to be sure, but just a job nonetheless.  Very quickly, I realized that this was more than just a job.  The first thing that wowed me was the level of technical excellence, professionalism, and collaboration that existed through the small company.  I had worked with sharp people in the past, but never before had I encountered such a concentration of exceptional individuals like I found at Artis.  Everyone watched out for everyone else.  Everyone shared his/her knowledge – there was no hoarding of information.  Everyone truly cared about the company and its clients, and expressed this not just in word but in deed.

But the culture of technical excellence and professionalism was not what made this more than just a job.  It was the people – the human beings that made up this small company.  Everyone knew each other, and we knew most of the families of our colleagues as well.  We enjoyed spending time with each other outside of work.  We laughed together during the fun times, consoled and encouraged each other during the trying times, and in general everyone took an interest in the lives of their colleagues.  Just like a real family.  I’ve come to know the people of Artis, and have built many friendships that I firmly believe will carry far beyond my time here.

Without a doubt, I am leaving the best job I’ve ever had – quite possibly the best full time job I’ll ever have.  It was the most difficult career decision I’ve ever had to make, and was incredibly emotional for me during and after the decision to move on.  But nothing lasts forever, and despite the fact that I’m leaving a part of my family behind, I am confident that this key change is the right move for me.

The final countdown

I hinted earlier this week that I had a big announcement to make.  Technically, I have two big announcements, although they are closely related.

Here I go again on my own

My first big announcement:  As of today, I am departing the ranks of full time employee, embarking on a career as an independent business intelligence consultant and trainer.  This has been a dream of mine for years, one that I managed to continually put off for various reasons.  After spending a great deal of time evaluating my long term goals, analyzing the current business intelligence market, and talking to other professionals who have made the move out of full time work, I decided that there’s no better time than now to make this move.

tyleris copy I’m incredibly excited about the possibilities that come along with the freedom of being independent.  I’m still in business intelligence, but now I’m focusing mostly on the data pipeline: integration, ETL, data quality, and reporting.  Just as exciting is the fact that I’m going to offer training as well, which is something that I am very passionate about but until now has been something I did only in my spare time.  My new independent consulting firm, Tyleris Data Solutions, officially launches today, and I’ll start with my first engagement on Monday.

As I mentioned, I delayed the decision to go independent for a while, due in no small part to my concern about being a lone soldier.  At Artis, if I got stuck on a problem or needed a second opinion on a design pattern, I had a network of people who were more than willing to lend a hand, ear, or other appendage.  But as an independent consultant, you’re out there on your own, a solitary rainmaker with no reinforcements.  This as much as anything was a factor in my hesitation to take the leap.  However, my #SQLFamily came through on this one to help allay my concerns about leaving behind my peer network.  For the last 6 months or so, I’ve been chatting off and on with my friends Andy Leonard and Brian Moran, both of whom I met through my activities in the community (and have I mentioned recently how important networking is to your career?).  After talking with both of these guys, they convinced me that I could have the best of both worlds: the freedom of being an independent consultant as well as a network of peers to provide mutual support.

The boys of summer

Linchpin After much deliberation and lots of talks with Brian and Andy, I’ve decided to lock arms with these very smart and professional individuals.  I’m happy to announce that I’m now a Linchpin People Teammate!  I’m joining the Linchpin team to add to their already strong data integration practice, and will immediately get to work on a complex ETL project with a couple of other team members.  Although I’ll still maintain my status as an independent consultant, I’ll get to work on some pretty cool stuff with these guys.  I believe this association with Linchpin People should strengthen all of us.

I’ve known the guys from Linchpin for a while.  Andy and I go back several years, having written a book and done several precon training events together.  I’ve not known Brian as long, but he and I became fast friends when we met at a PASS Summit a couple of years ago; in fact, I remember telling him just after we met that we’d eventually be doing something together.  Mike Walsh and I have known each other for several years, both virtually and in real life.  Several of the other Linchpin team members are friends of mine, and I have nothing but respect for the entire crew.  I am excited and proud to be associated with this fine group of folks.

Don’t worry, be happy

This change was an emotional one for me.  I went through the whole range – excitement, fear, sadness, optimism…  Change is rarely easy, but I’m confident that I’ve made a good decision.  Much like a key change in a song, I loved what I was doing before, and I expect that I’ll continue to love it after this change – I’m just taking it up a few notes.

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