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Why I’m Disappointed in the PASS Election Process

A little time has passed since we found out PASS didn’t allow Steve Jones (Blog@Way0utwest) on the ballot for the Board of Directors election, and I’ve heard a lot from friends of mine on both sides.  There’s a lot of passionate disagreement when somebody who’s done all this can’t make the cut:

  • Steve Jones helped build SQLSaturday as a regional event, something PASS had failed at repeatedly
  • He runs SQLServerCentral, the biggest SQL Server community online (blows the doors off SQLPass.org in more ways than I can count)
  • He’s led the way by blogging and recording webcasts several times a week for years

Steve leads by example, full stop.  It seems incomprehensible that a man this community-oriented can’t make the PASS Ballot, but let’s take a step back.  Let’s pretend this wasn’t a community election at all, but a database outage.  Let’s put this discussion in a different light, an imaginary conversation between a database administrator and the boss:

Boss: “I just got a call from the users.  They’re screaming because one of their favorite databases is down.”

DBA: “Yes, but five other databases are up.”

Boss: “What?!?”

DBA: “They’re great databases, and I think you’ll find they’re – ”

Boss: “So?  The one they want is down.  What’s the story?  Is it corrupt?”

DBA: “No.”

Boss: “Well, what happened?  Was it some kind of accident?”

DBA: “We followed a process.  Here’s a copy of it.”

Boss: “Where’d you get this?”

DBA: “From the board over there.  It’s been posted for a long time.  You could have said something before we followed it.”

Boss: “What?  And you just followed it word for word?  Didn’t you stop to check it or ask for help from others in the community?”

DBA: “The team got together and discussed it quite a bit privately, but we couldn’t change the process.”

Boss: “You couldn’t change something?  You?  Last week a vendor tried to get you to install software using the SA account, and you flat out told them no, even though it was a part of their written process.  Why did you follow this one?”

DBA: “I can’t tell you that due to security and privacy reasons, but let’s just say that database wasn’t the right fit for us.  We really believe that database should not have been part of the organization.”

Boss: “Wait – didn’t we have a problem around this time last year when you followed a process?”

DBA: “Yes, but let’s focus on all the improvements I’ve made.  And I’m here voluntarily, you know.”

See how ridiculous this sounds?

If wanting Steve Jones to bring transparent communications to PASS is wrong, I don’t want to be right.  I’m trying to see both sides, but I just don’t get it.  I have personally asked Steve repeatedly to run for the Board because he has a solid track record of doing things that PASS needs to do – not just talking about them, but doing them.  I went so far as to tell a Board member, “If you don’t believe in Steve’s ability to lead the community, it’s not Steve’s problem – it’s yours.”  I really wanted PASS to learn and grow with Steve’s help.  I am so bummed out that PASS chose not to let Steve on the ballot, and I care a lot about this issue.  The only way to express my passion is with a 1980s music video:

Underemployed Developers: Meet Project Phoenix

A few months back, Microsoft gave MVPs a few MSDN Ultimate subscriptions to pass on to community members, no strings attached.  I quietly gave mine to a few deserving folks who I thought could be future MVPs, but Arnie Rowland (Blog@ArnieRowland) had a better idea.

Arnie’s Project Phoenix encourages developers to propose a software project for a non-profit agency, school, or church.  Non-profits can also submit their own proposals, and Arnie will hook up developers with those projects.

Phoenix and Question Mark

Phoenix and Question Mark

Every week, Arnie will select one developer & project to get a bunch of cool benefits including:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscription
  • Pluralsight On-Demand .NET Training Library for 3 months
  • 3 APress books of the winner’s choice
  • 3 O’Reilly ebooks of the winner’s choice
  • ComponentOne Studio Enterprise
  • 2 Microsoft certification exams
  • Quest Toad for SQL Server
  • Plus some developers will be awarded tools from DBSophic, DevExpress, RedGate, and more.

Working with a nonprofit is a great way for you to get experience, references, and community exposure when you’re struggling to get to the next rung of your career.  Nonprofits really appreciate your help, and they need every bit of tech savvy they can get.  I applaud Arnie’s vision to connect nonprofits, developers, and vendors to create something that benefits everybody.  Arnie, you’re an inspiration to all of us.

If you know an unemployed or underemployed developer, encourage them to visit the Project Phoenix page and volunteer.

Help me stop a jerk from abusing #SQLHelp

Aaron Nelson (Blog@SQLVariant) had an excellent idea about a year ago.  Anytime someone needed help with a SQL Server question, they could include the phrase #SQLHelp in the tweet.  Community members set up a search for that term in their Twitter tool, and whenever the questions came in, we would answer.  Here’s instructions on how to use #SQLHelp.

It’s been a raving success!  It’s one of my favorite things about the SQL Server community.

And then somebody started peeing in the pool.

The Twitter account @SQLPASSPR isn’t really what it seems.  It’s a fake account that’s trying to shine the light on what the anonymous person thinks is bad goings-on at PASS.  Ironically, even though they’re trying to expose something, they’re trying to do it anonymously.  They don’t have the guts to come forward under their own name.

Even worse, they’re spamming the #SQLHelp hash tag, so now they’re interfering with community members trying to help each other.  I had absolutely no problem with them until they started messing with our #SQLHelp tag.

I need your help to make them stop. If you’re on Twitter, go to @SQLPASSPR’s Twitter page, click the gear icon, and click Report SQLPASSPR for spam:

Reporting SQLPASSPR for spam

Reporting SQLPASSPR for spam

If enough of us do this, they’ll get suspended.  I wish I didn’t have to do this, because I really don’t want to shut them down completely – if they want to talk politics, that’s completely okay – but I can’t have it polluting the #SQLHelp tag.

If you know who’s doing this, talk some sense into them.  When word gets out who it is, they’re sinking their own career by polluting #SQLHelp.  If they want to burn bridges with PASS, that’s one thing, but actively trashing a community institution is something else together.

If you’re the one doing this, you’re doing it wrong. You let your anger about PASS blur your common sense and good judgment.  Write up a blog post or a web site with your message, make it easy for community members to send the link to each other, and let social media work for you – instead of against you.

Things I’ve Been Reading Lately

Tired of reading about the PASS elections?  Here’s some links to clear your head:

SQL Server Links

Inside the Optimiser: Constructing a Plan – Paul White is writing some of the best SQL Server blog posts I’ve read in a long, long time. The guy is just on fire.  This four-part series is gold.

Does Join Order Matter – Microsoft’s Conor Cunningham is *the* guy when it comes to execution plans, and he says no.

Hit and Miss – Gail Shaw covers how to use Profiler to watch procedure cache hits and misses.

Finding Key Lookups in Cached Execution Plans – the procedure cache stores execution plans in memory, and you can search the XML of these plans to find interesting performance tuning opportunities.  Kendal Van Dyke explains how.

The Cost of SQL Azure Indexes – Azure charges by the month, by how much you store.  That means every index you add costs you real money, and you can determine exactly how much.

SQL Server 2008 Diagnostic Queries – Glenn “DMV-a-Day” Berry shares a script that’s like my Blitz server takeover script, but even more advanced.  Love it!

New Sysinternals Tool: RAMMap – does what it shows on the label, so it might help you track down where your memory is going.

Virtualization and Cloud Links

Change Your Hyper-V Guest CD Inside the Guest – Love this tool idea from Simon Sabin.

VMware vSphere 4.1 out – vCritical says vSphere is the best virtualization platform available and gives reasons why. The docs in the “In-Depth Virtualization Platform Comparisons” are helpful.

vSphere on NetApp Best Practices – updated document on how to manage your virtual machine storage.

Amazon CloudFront default root object – Amazon S3 is a file hosting service for the cloud, and CloudFront is their geographically load balanced caching system to make visitors everywhere load your site faster. Now you can host an entire static HTML site inside CloudFront by specifying a default root object like index.html. If you’re going to build the next Trololo, this is how you host it.

The Junk Drawer

Hiding Computer Cables in Rain Gutters – for a clean and cheap home office design.

How Did Your Life Change After FU Money? – Hacker News asked what really happens after you become rich.  The comments are really insightful – at first, people commented that they wished they didn’t have to shop, do laundry, clean the house, etc, and then others pointed out that those services are available right now really inexpensively.  How much money do you really need to be happy?

Apple’s New iTV Will Change Everything! – I’m not buyin’ it (again) just yet.  We rented a HD movie last night through our Apple TV, which I do love, but Comcast’s craptastic up/down bandwidth failed out halfway through the movie.  Us geeks will tolerate that every now and then.  My family won’t.  And for the record, it was Babies, and you should watch it. Adorable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVYszQrKo9g

Three Sites You Should Be Reading

Hacker News – like Digg or Slashdot used to be before they got popular and sucked.  Hacker News is user-moderated stories that focus on topics that interest me personally.

Sniff Petrol – British humor about the car business, mostly focused on F1.  Example from last week: “General Motors this week applied for permission to hold a garage sale in order to raise the money it needs to support itself.”

Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) – whenever I’m down and I need a laugh, I search for my favorite movie and read the quotes.  Last week I was reading up on my favorite Grosse Point Blank quotes.  They’re a little unsafe for work if you’re not the swearing kind.

PASS Board of Directors Election 2010 #passvotes

The Professional Association for SQL Server holds annual elections for the Board of Directors.  The Board decides things like:

  • Where to hold the annual PASS Summit – for the last couple of years, it’s been in Seattle, and the Board decided to keep it in Seattle for another few years.  I blogged about my frustrations with the PASS Summit location here.
  • Whether PASS should start a new magazine – in 2009, with magazine businesses failing left and right, PASS decided to launch an online magazine.  You probably didn’t hear about it because the content was locked behind a walled garden, far away from search engines.  Volunteers gave their time and PASS gave its money to get this thing off the ground only to give up and close it down a few issues later.  Is a lack of volunteer resources really a problem?  Given that the SQL Server Standard page hasn’t even been updated to reflect that it’s closed, so I’d say yes.  I blogged about my frustrations with the hidden SQL Server Standard content here.
  • How PASS HQ should help chapters – I launched the Virtualization Virtual Chapter last year, became the first virtual chapter to get funding directly from sponsors, and busted my hump to get it to work.  I became completely disenchanted when the PASS Board contact for virtual chapters couldn’t be bothered to phone into their own scheduled meetings for virtual chapter leaders.  I didn’t blog about this because I hoped it would get better, and in a sense it did – they stopped having the meetings, sending a clear signal about the worth of chapters.
  • Launching PASS’s own social network, the PASSport – apparently because PASS could do a better job at LinkedIn, FaceBook, or Twitter, they put resources into launching PASSport, a social networking program.  Meanwhile, the community launched the #sqlhelp tag on Twitter with zero resources and accomplished much more.
  • Starting blog syndication – I couldn’t speak out against this when I was Editor-in-Chief of SQLServerPedia because I would have sounded like I was bashing competition, but I was convinced there was no way this would succeed.  Managing a blog syndication tool is seriously hard work, not just something you slap together in code and walk away from, and I knew this would be another one of those shiny objects that distracted PASS momentarily.  Today, with all of the killer blog content out there, the PASS syndicated feed is averaging 1-3 posts PER MONTH.  SQLServerPedia syndicates more good content per day.

I mention those things in particular because they’ve been hot-button issues for me.  I’ve watched PASS do these things, and I just shook my head.  I didn’t understand why the Board would make decisions like this, and I looked forward to election time so we could set things straight.  I felt that the existing leadership was making some gambles that just didn’t make sense in the year 2010.

I couldn’t wait for election time so I could help make a real difference in how the Board operates.

Meet the Board of Director Candidates

So let’s meet the candidates in alphabetical order:

Here’s where it starts to suck for me: all of these guys are good guys.  I can’t wave my hands and say, “WE CAN’T ELECT THIS GUY, HE’S AN IDIOT!  HE’S NEVER DONE ANYTHING FOR THE COMMUNITY!”  All of these guys have a long history of volunteering for the community, doing good work at the local and regional level.  I respect their accomplishments and their technical knowledge.

And it gets worse – this isn’t even everyone who tossed their hat in the ring!  The PASS Nomination Committee filtered out a longer list of candidates to whittle it down to five, and along the way, Steve Jones (Blog@Way0utwest) didn’t make the cut.  Stuart Ainsworth (Blog@StuartA) served on the Nomination Committee and blogged about why Steve didn’t make the ballot.  I applaud Stuart’s honesty and transparency, and there’s a great discussion going on in the blog comments there.  That means there’s two things I’m fired up about – Steve not making the ballot (because I would personally endorse Steve’s candidacy in a heartbeat), and picking the right candidates.

Who I’m Voting For

The things that matter most to me are:

  • Dedication to communication – a proven history of letting us know what they’re up to via blogs and Twitter, because I want to know what PASS is up to
  • Dedication to transparency – anybody who says the word “privacy” in relation to a community organization immediately gets a big -1 in my book
  • Moving the Summit around to let more people experience this killer event
  • Using existing community tools, not reinventing new ones thereby saving PASS resources for things that really matter
  • Not focusing on meaningless metrics because membership numbers are meaningless to me – I want quality, not quantity
  • Not implementing a certification program because these are hellaciously expensive to build, and would bankrupt PASS
  • A willingness to rock the boat because I respect people who stand up for what they believe in, even if that opinion isn’t popular

Because these things matter to me, I’m voting for Allen Kinsel, Andy Warren, and Geoff Hiten – but that doesn’t mean Douglas or Mark aren’t worth votes.  They’re great guys.  It just doesn’t mean my priorities line up a particular way.

Who You Should Vote For

You shouldn’t just vote for Allen, Andy, and Geoff because I said so.  You should ask questions about what’s important to you, and hear what the candidates and other people have to say.

Here’s how: go to the discussion forums at elections.sqlpass.org and start asking questions.  You have to be logged in to post – click Login at the top of the page.  I’ve helped by starting out several threads including:

You can start new threads asking your own question, and you can discuss your thoughts in other people’s question threads too.  I’ll edit my question posts to point to specific candidates’ answers to make it easier to navigate the forum replies, because I bet these will get active pretty quickly.

Guess Who Got My Old Job at Quest?

Today, I’m thrilled to see that my very good friend Jeremiah Peschka is the newest community guy at Quest Software.  (They’re going to say he has a “new” job, not “my” job, but that’s because the Quest folks are very smart and they tailor the job to fit the person, not the other way around.)  Note that I’m not getting paid to write this – I’m not affiliated with Quest anymore, but I’m covering this because I believe it’s more evidence that the job market is continuing to change in a way that will affect you – yes, you.

Jeremiah’s new job is important to you for two reasons.  First, you should be my friend, because my friends get cool jobs.  No, wait, not really – people who blog, tweet, and volunteer for PASS get cool jobs. These things don’t cost money – they make money.  I’m almost ashamed to say this again because I keep repeating it, but I feel so passionately about it, so here it comes: blog, tweet, and present if you want a better job.

Second, Quest is signaling that they’re still committed to giving back to the community.  After I left, it would have been all too easy for the bean counters to say, “We poured all this investment into Brent and he left us anyway.  We won’t do that again.” Instead, they hired another community guy, indicating that they must have gotten some ROI out of me, and they want to repeat the experiment again.  Companies can make money by having a credible presence in the community, and that’s where you come in.  The SQL Server community has a great reputation for being lively, helpful, and open.  Vendors get involved by sponsoring events and encouraging their staff to give back:

  • Quest Software – Jeremiah Peschka, Kevin Kline
  • Red Gate – Brad McGehee, Steve Jones
  • Confio – Tom LaRock
  • SQLskills – me

But there’s more companies servicing the SQL Server market – more software vendors, consulting companies, hosting companies, and service providers.  Quick – can you name five of them?  No?  Maybe it takes you a few minutes to think of more names?  Wonder why?  Maybe because they’re not as involved with the community.

Over time, more companies are going to notice that giving back to the community results in higher revenues.  When they do, they’ll want to hire active community members to represent them.  You should be ready for them by having an active online presence with a great reputation that they’ll see as worth an investment.

Look Ma, No Cars

Look Ma, No Cars

In 1960, architect Morris Lapidus redesigned Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.  He closed off the street entirely, turning it into one of America’s first pedestrian malls.  When he was asked why he closed the street, his answer was simple:

Cars don’t buy things.  People do.

Today, in the age of global corporations, we’ve forgotten this again.  Marketing efforts have been focused on bland corporate magazines that supposedly encourage company executives to make decisions.  This worked for a while, but now there’s a better way.  Social media – the tools that connect one person to other very similar people all over the world – are bringing us back to Lapidus.

Companies don’t buy things.  People do.

Even at the largest companies, buying decisions are made by people, and people want to deal with other people they trust.  In the past, big company decisions were made in country clubs, golf courses, and expensive dinners.  Today and tomorrow, these decisions are made right here – in blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook, where one person (you) builds a relationship with someone else (me), watching how that person treats others and conducts their business.  I show you what I do, and I show you how I do it.  As a result, every dollar I make is because someone read my blog or watched my webcasts and said, “I need Brent’s help, and I know I can trust him.” I switched into consulting because I could make more money directly – bringing in business to my own bank account instead of a company’s – but notice that Quest knew they had to keep building these personal community relationships.

The Referral Engine

The Referral Engine

Ten years ago, the Cluetrain Manifesto stated that markets are conversations.  Companies need people to have these conversations with customers to create sales.  In a perfect world, products would be built in a way that encourages customers to have these conversations with each other – for example, good multiplayer games build in social networking tools that let you invite your friends to play along.  Customers become salespeople. Today this idea has gathered mainstream support, and new books like The Referral Engine by John Jantsch explain the practical mechanics of pulling it off.  (Great book for consultants, by the way.)

SQL Server software, on the other hand, doesn’t have any social networking built in, so no matter how much you like a particular product, there’s no easy way to get your friends involved and spread the word.  Sound ridiculous?  Well, on SQLCruise, one of our games was a Hairy Execution Plan Contest, and it got me thinking.  Wouldn’t it be cool to have an SSMS tool that let you instantly post execution plans to Twitter?  You could show off the scariest plans you’d ever seen, show your before-and-aft tuning results with pride, or just ask for help easier.  All work is social, and in making it social, we start conversations and open doors to sales.  Consultants could jump in and say, “I’ve got some free time – I’ll connect in and help you fix that for $X.”. You could see the consultant’s reputation via their social media scores (blog volume, tweet history, StackOverflow score, etc) and know immediately if they’re trustworthy.

The job you really want doesn’t exist yet, but it will, and you have to prepare now to get it. Three to five years from now, every company will be closely involved with the community to build up their online relationships.  We’ll have more of these social tools that grease the wheels of commerce, letting individuals jump straight into conversations and make money.  You have a limited window of opportunity to get in and blaze a trail.  No matter what you’re doing for a living today, get out there and start building your online presence.  Companies are going to want your help reaching and teaching other people just like you, and your online presence will be worth a premium in their rush to start conversations.

Or think of it this way – nobody stays in a job forever, so wouldn’t you like to be the one to get Jeremiah’s job when he moves on?

Stop Using Twifficiency, You Bozos

Every few minutes, I see somebody tweet something about their Twifficiency score.  Now, I don’t have a problem with shallow people who want to compare their metrics with others – okay, maybe I do – but let’s take a step back for a second and look at what’s happening when you use that tool.

When you first visit Twifficiency.com, notice the warning at the bottom of the page:

Twifficiency Warning

Twifficiency Warning

The warning states, “Twifficiency will tweet your score on your behalf. Do not use this app if you do not consent to this.”

They’re not going to give you another warning – they are going to tweet for you.  This will piss off your followers because the rest of us truly don’t care about your Twifficiency score.  We may not even care that much about you, and posting vain metrics is a surefire way to get us to care less about you.

Next up, when you click that “Calculate my Twifficiency” button, read the warning Twitter gives you:

Twitter Warning

Twitter Warning

This gives Twifficiency.com the right to do things with your account, like post messages, follow people, change your profile, you name it.

Are you really comfortable letting a complete stranger do absolutely anything to your Twitter account just to get a meaningless metric?

Because if so, I’d like you to send me your Twitter login info, and I’ll be happy to give you a really cool random number.

When I see a Twifficiency tweet from someone, my first thought is, “They don’t take their own data seriously – there’s no way I’d hire them and let them touch my company’s data.”

GTD: Why Things Have Been Quiet Around Here

A few months ago, I had The Idea.  I wanted to conduct SQL Server training on a cruise ship.  I emailed a few buddies and offered to start a company called SQLCruise with them, and out of three friends, only one could say yes.  I don’t have anything against the two who said no.  I knew exactly how they felt – one of them came to me a few months earlier, had a killer idea for a company, and I had to say no because I didn’t have the time myself.  I said no to all kinds of things lately, including writing blog entries, because with the job change, I just didn’t have the time for the last several weeks.

But what does “having the time” really mean?  We’re all overworked – how can anybody have the time for anything new?

I use a system that means at any given moment, I am completely comfortable that I am doing exactly the right thing for that moment.  It also means that anything I’m NOT doing can be safely ignored.  It just doesn’t matter, because it’s not #1 right now, and I can only do one thing right now.

The Other Good Book

The Other Good Book

David Allen’s task management philosophy is detailed in his book, Getting Things Done.  It’s a deceivingly simple set of guidelines that, if followed, will let you feel completely at peace with your task choices.  I hate bullshit self-improvement books.  I don’t listen to hypnotism tapes.  I don’t attend cheerleading seminars.  But GTD – I just can’t imagine being successful without it in my life.

Right now, as I read this, I’m sitting on an airplane, blogging, and I know its exactly the right thing for me to do.  I’m disconnected from the web, so I pulled up my Disconnected-Work task list and started chugging through tasks.  I reviewed a client’s performance data, wrote a blog post about my experience running SQLCruise, and then started this here post about priorities and choices.  When I land and get to a hotel with Internet access, I’ll switch contexts and hit my Connected-Work task list.

At around 5PM, when I’m not on the road, i leave my home office and my tasks behind.  I walk Ernie (our dog), get the house ready for Erika’s return from work, and leave the workday problems behind.  I’ll still check email from my ozone when we’re not doing anything, and I’ll respond to quick questions, but I won’t do work.

And I won’t care.

I won’t stress out about things I have coming tomorrow, won’t get worried about what a client’s server is doing, won’t work late trying to “get ahead” – because there’s no such thing.  As a knowledge worker, I’m going to be behind for the rest of my life.  The better I am at accomplishing stuff, the more work people will give me.  At 5PM, I have to change contexts because I won’t ever be caught up in my home life either.  There’s always more things I should be doing at home, or just flat out relaxing.  I don’t want to feel guilty while I’m just hanging out with Erika, watching Project Runway or taking the dog to the park.  There’s nothing wrong with these lazy habits.

Relaxing keeps you fresh.  Relaxing means you have spare capacity – and if you suddenly need to sprint to accomplish something important, you can work harder for a while to take advantage of opportunities.

When opportunities (or more often, assignments) come up, I make two decisions.  I put them in a context (a to-do list organized by where I’ll do the task, like at work, at home, out shopping, at budget time, etc) and assign them a priority.  My priorities are High, Medium, or none, and I only put something in High or Medium if I think I’ll accomplish it within the next 1-3 weeks.  If I won’t finish it that fast, then I’m not going to bother picking an exact order.  Instead, I go back into my task list every Friday to see which tasks need to be deleted or reassigned to someone else. Some tasks just never get done, and eventually get deleted when they’re no longer relevant.

While Tim and I were organizing SQLCruise, I had a task list with a SQLCruise context.  I worked on those tasks between waking up and going to work, and then during my lunch hour.  In a perfect world, I would have accomplished every task on the list before we set sail, but this isn’t a perfect world. (I got paid to take a cruise, so it’s close to a perfect world, though.). Here’s what my task list looked like after the cruise:

To Doos

To Doos

Even today, there’s still plenty of work that would have improved the quality of the cruise for the attendees, the sponsors, or myself.  I just couldn’t do it in time – and that’s okay.  I’m at peace with that.  (Thankfully, some of them even took care of themselves – the Hilton Garden Inn found my laundry and shipped it to me, and we got class photos on formal night.)  The only way I could have pulled off every task was to let work intrude into my time with Erika & Ernie, to work less, or to sleep less.  I already let my work intrude into Erika’s time during the lead-up to the cruise, and my relationship with Erika suffered.  If I’d have worked any more, I probably would have lost her!  As a knowledge worker, I have to be comfortable with letting tasks go undone – or losing touch with the people I love.

Getting Things Done in Key West

Getting Things Done in Key West

Contexts and priorities are important because they let you wall off portions of your life.  When you get the opportunity to do something cool, you have to know where it ranks in relation to everything else you’ve already said yes to, including your family.  I know that at 5:30PM, there is nothing more important than me greeting Erika at the door and giving her my undivided attention to find out how her day went.

Inside a context, when I say yes to something and prioritize it, I need to know that it’s the most important thing I can be doing at that moment in time.  That’s where GTD’s bigger philosophies like 50,000 foot lists come into play.  For more about how it works, check out David Allen’s book Getting Things Done.

That’s why some of my close friends said no to SQLCruise – they had already made big-picture choices and commitments to balance their work and life.  I could never be upset with people who say no to things – I applaud that word no, and it’s the key to keeping yourself and your loved ones happy.  I told my blog no for a while, and I’m looking forward to ramping back up.

SQLCruise 2010: Comments from the Cruisers

SQLCruise 2010 Class Photo

SQLCruise 2010 Class Photo

Here’s what attendees have been saying about the cruise:

“For me personally, I love the ‘impromptu’ sessions that both Brent Ozar and Tim Ford provided to all of us during the cruise.  From the sit around on our ‘SQL deck’ and talk about memory pressure to a serious conversation about how to put together presentation of some health check finding during breakfast at some restaurant at Key West.   Those two guys were there for us before, during and after the session.   There’s no packing my laptop bag and move to a different room since I have to catch a different session, or not having time for Q&A session.   On top of that, I was surrounded by other SQL professionals that manage different environment, have different expertise and the discussions about shop were constant and amazingly awesome.   Yes, there were boat drinks and some karaoke and dancing, but overall, this is the best technical training I ever attend.” – Yanni Smith, Till The Next SQL Cruise

“I have been back on dry land for a couple of days now but I already miss the amazing group that set sail to Cozumel Mexico with me, almost one week ago. I connected with so many people in that short time, SQL and nonSQL alike. Everyone was friendly and inspiring and I feel as if I have formed some very deep friendships in so short a time.”Crys Manson, SQL Cruise I Miss You!

“At 5 PM all the cruisers met on the back deck and Brent and Tim did their “Why We’re Here” session.  My favorite point of Brent’s was when he told us that he is at a point in his career where he is very happy and really wants to help other people develop their careers. I love this. It is one of the best examples of what the SQL community is all about.  Between blogs, forums, #sqlhelp on Twitter and the free webinars and training sessions, there is no shortage of shared knowledge.”Erin Stellato, SQLCruise Day 1

“To sum it up, I would say SQL Cruise was honestly the most fun-filled, action-packed, gut-busting training/vacation I have ever had the pleasure of attending.  Between the sessions and hanging out with some of the most fun people (spouses, friends, partners, and monkeys included), I can’t think of another time when I learned a lot and had a ton of fun doing so.”Rebecca Mitchell, Flip-Flops and Hawaiian Shirts

We did it! Tim and I busted our humps over the last few months to pull this off, and we’re still pinching ourselves that the whole thing worked.  We’re getting feedback from our SQLCruise alumni now to build the next ones, and I’m so excited for what the future holds.

SQLCruise Sponsored Netbook Winners

SQLCruise Sponsored Netbook Winners

I can’t thank our sponsors enough.  None of this would have been possible without these companies’ dedication to helping the community:

If you’d like to read more about how the cruise went, check out my SQLCruise 2010 Recap and the Top Ten Things Tim Ford Learned Last Week.

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