Originally Posted on August 28, 2010 by Tom Strike
SQL Server Saturday – Nashville Edition
It was a dark and stormy night…ok, it was actually a sunny Saturday morning in Nashville, TN but I’ve always wanted to write that. Nashville has always been one of my favorite cities because of the history, music and BBQ, mostly the BBQ, and mostly the BBQ at Jack’s on Trinity Lane
I had signed up late and wasn’t sure I was actually going to be let in the door. I saw the Tweet that said I was number 299 but no confirmation email came. I figured the worst case scenario was that they wouldn’t let me in the door, but if I got in that far, at least I could stand in back and be as quiet and invisible as a man my size can be, (which might surprise you), and learn as much as I could.
Let me say first that I’m not a DBA yet, I only take care of one SQL Server 2005 Instance and I’ve been assisting my friend Stacy Hein for the last few months, he’s a senior DBA Consultant specializing in troubleshooting, performance and integration with SharePoint. I’m a Desktop Support Tech right now, but my company is getting to the point where they aren’t going to be able to do without a DBA; and I intend to put myself in a position where I’m the most logical choice. Not being a DBA yet I chose my sessions based on them being listed as for beginners, and preferably focusing on professional development.
As I walked in the door the first thing I noticed was the atmosphere, I’m an introverted person by nature and as Thomas LaRock points out in his book, DBA Survivor: Becoming a Rck Star DBA, “The defining trait of an introvert is sometimes said to be that: An introvert draws energy from being alone, and expends energy to engage in social situations.” I’ve found that to be very true, but the energy in the building inspired and energized me. And I got more inspired and energized as the day went on.
Session 1: Thomas LaRock – DBA Survivor
The first session I attended was performed, and yes, I mean performed, by Thomas LaRock. He was obviously having so much fun doing this that he carried the rest of us along with him in his enthusiasm. I have a picture of Brent Ozar as my desktop wallpaper on the laptop that I use for studying SQL, you can find it here, to remind me to always have fun and enjoy what I’m doing, but Thomas LaRock inspires me in the same way. His energy and knowledge, as well as his firm belief that anyone can achieve what he’s achieved if they want it enough, and work hard and prepare for it, and then keep their eyes open for the opportunities, seem to be the defining characteristics of people like Tom and Brent.
Most of Tom’s talk was in his book, DBA Survivor: Become a Rock Star DBA but there was more of a free style to his talk and while answering questions he was able to cover a lot of ground. I’m hoping to attend his “What are you waiting for” talk in Kansas City at SQLSAT#53, but I might need to go to Elko, NV for a VOIP install.
Two of the more amusing things during the presentation were a t-shirt on one of his slides that said “I’m like you, only smarter”, and the real meaning of DBA: Default Blame Acceptor.” If you get a chance, attend one of his sessions, and definitely buy his book. (No, I don’t get a percentage).
Session 2: Stuart Ainsworth – The Social DBA: Resources for Career Building
Stuart was another in a long list of excellent speakers, in fact, I don’t think there were any speakers that weren’t truly impressive in every way, each of them was extremely knowledgeable and very willing to share their knowledge, and Stuart’s talk was specifically on “why” you should be a social DBA and “how” you can be one, sharing your knowledge and experiences with your colleagues.
One of the things he stresses right from the beginning is sharing not only your successes, but also your failures with the community. He gives a long list of blogs and tools to use, websites like SQL ServerPedia and SQL Server Central; as well as tools such as Twitter, Simple Talk, SQL Prettifier and Google Analytics.
I just looked at the length of this blog post and I’m going to do a disservice to both the presenters at SQLSAT#51 and the readers of this blog by becoming much less verbose. For more information on Stuart and his excellent presentation go to his site at Go Gumbo And by the way, it was either Tom or Stuart, IIRC, who claimed to be both smarter and better looking than Brent Ozar but I don’t believe them. Although, has anyone noticed how much Brent looks like the poker player, Antonio Esfandiari?
Session 3: Jason Strate – Are You Following Your Own Best Practices?
Jason’s talk was a great session on, what else, best practices. By this time my fingers were getting tired and I can’t read some of my notes, So I’m just adding a link to his site and will fill in the rest when I attend his session at SQLSAT#50. I was able to read my own writing for the first talk after lunch, and then it went down hill quickly again.
Session 4: Jeremiah Peschke – Taking Control of Your Career
Jeremiah was possibly the most interesting looking of the presenters. I didn’t expect someone in shorts and short-sleeves with both arms and both legs covered in tattoos to be such a thoughtful and concise speaker. What I wrote down first and re-read on a regular basis is:
1. Set Goals
2. Track Achievements
3. Self Promotion
The Nashville SQL Server User Group did a fantastic job putting together this event together and I’ll be back for every SQL Server Saturday that they put together. Thanks to all the volunteers and speakers who made this event such a wonderful and productive time!