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PASS Summit and My SQL Family

Those who read this blog know that I’ve always been into the PASS Community, particularly about attending the PASS Summit. This is my third and I hope never to miss one.

I’ve written articles about why it’s worth paying your own way, how going is like finding a golden ticket and even like going on vacation. Many people, including my “real” family don’t really understand why I love my SQL Family (#sqlfamily) so much.

Changes and The Future

I’m particularly geeked about this one because so much has changed in the past year. I’ve lost almost 100 pounds and feel so much better now. Also I’ve switched jobs and am now working as a corporate employee on a huge data warehousing project which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Last night I went to dinner with most of the authors of SQL Server 2012 Integration Design Patterns, shared a few tidbits of the project, and they agreed that it was something special. More on the book and my current project to come in a future article.

A Scare Brings Focus

Anyway, a few recent things really brought me back to why I am so committed to this community. I thought that I had lost the blog a few weeks ago. One of my readers notified me that my site was down and I had no idea how long it had been down. My provider did not respond immediately to my email and when they did the response was something like, “It’s down? Oh, I’d better check that out.”

Because it’s a hosted site, my backup/restore options are limited, and I had never performed a disaster recovery test of the blog. To be honest, I wouldn’t know how to. I was surprised at my visceral reaction when I thought I had lost it, even though I’ve been neglecting the blog for the past year. It turned out that the problem wasn’t data loss, but rather a Denial of Service Attack which my provider was unaware of. Anyway, everything turned out alright, but it reminded me of how important the blog and SQL Community are to me and I intend to make it a priority in the future.

My Calling

Another reminder came after the latest SQL Saturday for the North Texas SQL Server User Group. For those who don’t know, I recently gave a precon for SQL Saturday Dallas. It went extremely well because I really love presenting, and I eagerly read all of the Session Evaluations I received. I don’t think that your average attendee realizes how much we care about what they have to say and I love pouring over the comments to find ways to improve. One attendee said something which really touched me and made me re-focus on my community involvement.

“It can be easily seen that David has found his calling in life. He is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about Data Warehousing. I only wish we had more time for a deeper dive on some topics…”

Well, this person really nailed it. I have found my calling and love presenting, blogging, and volunteering in the PASS Community. I am fascinated by Data Warehousing, Integration, and Analytics. There’s something special about sharing knowledge with your fellow database pros (and friends) which feels so good that it’s worth all of the effort.

Last night at dinner, Tim Mitchell (Blog/Twitter) summed up the feeling very well. He’s a rabid Rangers baseball fan and therefore used a baseball metaphor. I’m paraphrasing but he likened his precon experience to the feeling when a hush comes over a crowd, the batter makes solid contact with the ball, the “crack of the bat” echos through the stadium, and it’s a home run. You just know when you hit it out of the park, and it’s one of the best feelings ever.

When I’m at the top of my game, this is exactly how it feels. When you are connected to the audience, you can feel that they are learning, are entertained, and most importantly you’ve made a difference. You know that they’ll take what you’ve taught and go back to their jobs to make things better.

Join the SQL Family #SQLFamily

Well, I hope you’ll forgive my rambling. It’s 4am as I write this, and I don’t adjust well to timezone changes. The official conference starts tomorrow and I can barely contain my excitement. It’s great seeing all of my friends again, some of whom I haven’t seen since last year. If you see me out and about, and manage to recognize me since I’ve lost almost 100 lbs, please stop me even if we’ve never met before.

I’ve already met some folks who I’m sure will become part of my #SQLFamily, and am always looking to connect with more.

If you’re not here, then make plans for next year. You cannot beat the networking and educational experience you get at a PASS Summit.

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