It’s pretty cool to look at a blog post and see, “Last updated: 21 years ago.”
When I first started blogging over two decades ago, it wasn’t a business. I just did it because I enjoyed writing, sharing, and being part of an online community. It was a fun outlet, a way to contribute something in my spare time, and a method to record my life in a way that might enable me to look back later and see what I’d been doing years ago.
For example, 20 years ago:
- I built a computer for my car, and gazed wistfully at Ferraris
- Bought pantyhose to build my own aquarium filters
- Published articles in the biggest computer user group’s magazine
- Wrote my own RSS feed
By 15 years ago, I had already started to focus mostly on SQL Server:
- Explained Amazon Web Services offerings for a sample client
- New StackOverflow database server coming, and log shipping it to Amazon S3
- Talked about how fancy new SSDs were the “world’s fastest storage”
- Still shared random pictures, like my dog wearing two coats
By 10 years ago, BrentOzar.com was a full-fledged business. The blog posts not only targeted tech exclusively, but the post titles were now aware of the importance of search engine optimization:
- 7 Things Developers Should Know About SQL Server
- SQL Server Table Partitioning Tutorial – including videos, because we’d learned the importance of video training
- We launched our first in-person class in Atlanta
- sp_Blitz was a popular thing, although at the time it was still copyrighted and closed-source
- The company grew to the point where we held corporate retreats
By 5 years ago, we were deeply focused on technical SQL Server issues, but also covered technologies relevant to the DBA space:
- We did industry salary surveys, and started asking tough questions about the data
- We were working on getting sp_Blitz to work with the fancy new Managed Instances preview
- We explained why DBAs might want to learn DevOps
- We were building SQL ConstantCare® on AWS Lambda
Over the last few years, during the pandemic and up to today, I focused a lot of the blog content on live streams & recorded videos.
I wanted to give people a community where they could see a friendly face – even when the world wasn’t open for business, and faces were covered with masks. Database work is often lonely because so many of us are the only person in our company who does what we do, and the pandemic and remote work only made those things tougher. Many of the data professionals I know are struggling with burnout and loneliness.
Those of us who’ve been lucky enough to be around other people again, whether it’s work-related stuff or friends, have started to recover. Free regional in-person events like SQL Saturdays and Data Saturdays are starting to come back to life, and big ones like SQLBits and the PASS Summit offer hope that we’ll be able to do family reunions on a more regular basis again.
However, the data community is like a river: you can never step in the same river twice. Not only have the places and ways we meet up changed, but the members of the community have changed, too. Over a decade, many of us transition to different adjacent technologies, different lines of work, or switch to management.
I took December-February off to step back and think about what I personally wanted to do next, too. Was it time for me to transition? Had I done everything there was to do in Microsoft’s relational database engine, and was it time to move on? (I certainly don’t know everything in Microsoft’s data stack altogether – the product list is huge, as is the depth of each product.)
I came to the conclusion that it was time to go back to the start, and take a fresh look at Azure SQL DB and SQL Server. The products are still widely used, and every day, more people start using them for the first time. I’m not aiming to teach new things to folks who’ve read the blog for the last 20 years – but rather, teach things in fun, friendly new ways, helping people solve database problems faster.