Category Archives: MVP

MVP/SQLPASS Summit Wrapup From a Non-Attendee

(Or “How I Sort of Attended PASS This Year After All and It Wasn’t as Horrible as it Might Have Been”) Wow, my experience at this year’s MVP Summit and PASS Summit was not at all what I had expected it to be for me just weeks ago when I was planning my trip . Life intervened, and as my blog post last week here explained , the short of it is that I was unable to attend either summit for less than fun reasons. As a shut in who has always stayed in connection with the SQL community, particularly at…(read more)

Why I am not going to PASS this year

This is going to be one of my toughest non-technical posts ever. And the reason it will be difficult will have an ancillary relationship to the Lortabs I have been taking for the last two days. It has everything to do with me being at home while the 2014 PASS Summit is going on. Previously, the only Summit I had missed was the first one in Chicago. I had just changed jobs, so they wouldn’t pay my way yet. They did send me to the Summit in London that directly followed, which wasn’t a bad trade since…(read more)

Microsoft MVP Award Renewal 2013

There is a day of the year in which an MVP is “expiring” and in that day he hopes to receive the renewal notification email for this important professional recognition. The MVP Award Program is the way used by Microsoft to say “Thanks for your commitment”… thanks for sharing your technical knowledge with others, thanks for helping others in the worldwide technical communities.

Today is the expiration day of my MVP Award, but is also the renewal day because I have received the long awaited email “Congratulations 2013 Microsoft MVP!” I begin in this way my fourth year in the MVP Award Program for SQL Server. It is an honor for me to be part of this magic group of people that every day share their technical knowledge with others, with passion!

In the past, someone asked me “How can I becoming an MVP?” or “What did you do for becoming an MVP?” My answer was: “Learn a technology very well and keep the pace because it will change quickly; help others about using this technology, not for money but only for a Thanks and put passion in all of this!”. This is my point of view of the page Becoming an MVP.

Thanks very much to all of you; I will do my best to bring in a responsible way this great recognition!

Congrats to new MVPs and to all MVPs renewed:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2013/10/01/new-and-renewed-mvps-announced.aspx

Countdown to PASS Summit Series: Make it Happen at The Summit

It’s closer and closer we get to the official start of PASS Summit 2012, and our celebratory countdown continues! Today, we have more advice for you on what you need to get out of PASS Summit from SQL Server community members Rob Farley and John Sansom. 

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FEATURED MVP ROB FARLEY

Rob_Farley Rob Farley runs LobsterPot Solutions, a Gold Partner SQL Server and Business Intelligence consultancy in Adelaide, Australia. He presents regularly at PASS chapters and conferences such as TechEd Australia, SQL PASS, and SQLBits (UK), and heads up the Adelaide SQL Server User Group. He is an MCT and has been a SQL Server MVP since 2006. Rob has helped create several of the MCP exams, wrote two chapters for the book SQL Server MVP Deep Dives (Manning, 2009) and one for SQL Server MVP Deep Dives 2, Volume 2 (Manning, 2011). He is currently a Director of SQLPASS.

I’m probably not the typical PASS attendee, but the thing that I’m looking forward to the most from this year’s PASS Summit is people realising where the real benefit of the PASS Summit lies.

I should point out – I’ve only been to two PASS Summits. My first was as recent as 2010. I gave two presentations plus a lightning talk that year, only to take the next step and deliver a precon in 2011 (oh, and I sang during a keynote). I was on the board as an advisor during last year’s Summit, and this year I will be attending my first PASS Summit as a full director.

So, you see, I’ve never been a real first-timer at PASS. My experience of getting into the SQL Server community came through local channels.

I went to TechEd Australia as a regular delegate in 1999 – that’s when I was a proper first-timer. A colleague and I flew up to Brisbane for the event, where we worked out which sessions we’d each go to, based on what we wanted to learn from the event. There was a lot of information, and I made a lot of notes. I see a lot of people doing the same at conferences today – people who haven’t realised yet.

In 2000, I moved back to the UK for a couple of years, and didn’t go to many local events. I didn’t even consider myself a SQL guy back then, but the company I worked for was involved in some of the other local communities – back then it was things like Commerce Server and Content Management Server. I didn’t attend the meetings that were going on, and I definitely didn’t see it as valuable. I would’ve jumped at the chance of going to the larger conferences, though and I did attend an event that Bill Gates was speaking at in early 2002 (I think). It wasn’t anything like the PASS Summit though.

A few years later I found myself living in Adelaide, attending an event at the Hilton Hotel (the one in Adelaide, not the local pub in Hilton), where someone invited me to the .Net user group. I asked the guy I reported to about going along, and found I could use company time for it. Like all drugs, the first hits are often free.

Fairly soon I realised that the benefit of the local community wasn’t in the presentations that were being given, but in the network of people that were there. The presentations didn’t actually thrill me that much, and it wasn’t long before I offered to give presentations myself, ones that even got noticed by people at Microsoft. This was both in the .Net world and the SQL world – and I was also starting to appreciate that I had a lot more to offer the SQL community than the .Net one.

When I was just attending events for the content, I really wasn’t benefitting much from the whole experience. I could probably skip the talk, look at its title, do some research through the blogosphere, and learn just as much, at my own pace, with lots of varying perspectives – even seeing demos of things on YouTube and the like. Well, maybe I couldn’t do that so much back nearly ten years ago, but certainly these days. (Of course, there’s the time aspect – if you go to an event, you’re actually setting time aside to learn. That’s great. But for me, it’s not quite enough.)

But when I shifted my focus, I started getting so much more out of them. In doing this, I saw three differences.

1. By being more interested in the people that are at events more than the technical aspects of the presentations, you start to hear what’s actually important about the technology, rather than basic technical details.

2. By becoming a presenter, you value presentations differently, and even learn more from them. You start to consider factors such as what made the presenter choose a particular demo over another, and how you would present that point yourself. And you don’t see the other presenters as being so aloof.

3. By understanding that the technical details of a talk are all things you can pick up later through your own research, your energy at an event can go into building relationships. You meet the presenters, get to know them, and they become part of your network.

In 2005, I attended my second major event – another TechEd Australia. I was mainly just a delegate, but I had also been told by the guy who ran the SQL Server user group to catch up with a few particular people there (a few weeks later he asked me to take over the group, but that’s a different story). The conversations I had at 2005 were therefore very different to the ones from 1999.

By 2006 I had become an MCT, and proctored Hands-On Labs at TechEd Australia, which I also did in 2007 and 2008. I presented sessions in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and felt like part of the establishment at the event. I was definitely getting a lot more out of it that I had done in the past.

2006 had also seen me get the MVP award. This meant I could go to the MVP Summit, which I did in both 2007 and 2008. There I was just a delegate, but in hindsight, I found that the focus of the events was on building relationships – both with other MVPs and with Microsoft staff. It was at these events that I met many people in the global SQL community for the first time.

In 2009 and 2010 I travelled to the UK for two SQLBits conferences, where I gave precon seminars and regular presentations. I had met some of the MVPs at the MVP Summits I’d been to, but got the chance to meet many other people as well.

You see, in today’s world, you can find out technical information very easily. What you can’t do so easily is form the kinds of relationships that give you allies in solving problems that aren’t so straight forward.

So what I want “first-timers” to realise (regardless of how many PASS Summits they’ve been to) is this:

The thing you need to do at these things is to get to know the people behind the profiles. Find out what interests them outside the data world (and potentially within it), and you’ll come away with so much more than if you wanted to learn about the technology.

And the thing that I personally enjoy about events like the Summit is seeing people wake up to this tip and making it all happen.

FEATURED SQL SERVER DBA  JOHN SANSOM

John_Sansom John Sansom (@SQLBrit) is a Technology Lead with the database team at Expedia, Inc. providing consulting services and support for one of the world’s largest SQL Server environments. Awarded the Microsoft Community Contributor Award (MCC) John can be found regularly blogging about Being a DBA and Professional Development over at http://www.johnsansom.com

Jadba is a diligent, hard working chap with a passion for technology. A typical DBA, he’s all about ensuring the availability and performance of the environments in his care. He enjoys working with a variety of data technology but his favoured weapon of choice is SQL Server. A studious and ambitious fellow, he taps into the vibrant SQL community to learn and grow as best he can. Regularly reading the latest blogs and white papers, attending webinars and even the odd local User Group event. Jadba has invested in his own professional development to become quite the proficient DBA.

Like many Data Professionals it’s always been an ambition of his to attend the most prestigious of all SQL Server community events, the PASS Summit. For the opportunity to learn from the very best, to finally meet with international community peers of many a year in person and to feel like a true member of the #sqlfamily. To attend the Summit seems a distant dream to Jadba, so far out of reach both physically and financially.

At least that was the case, until recently. Frustrated and no longer content to accept missing out on the sidelines, it was time to take action into his own hands. You see earlier in the year he made a commitment to himself that this time there were to be no excuses, no matter what. He was going to attend the PASS Summit 2012!

I am of course talking from my own personal experience and not just another DBA (Jadba). Having worked as a data professional here in London for over ten years, to travel to the PASS Summit has long been an ambition of mine. The desire to attend has been on my radar for so long now but there’s always been an obstacle to contend, be it financial or logistical, that’s kept me from my goal. If I’m being honest, perhaps I’ve been too easily swayed and should have acted sooner. No matter, armed with some sage advice I made a public commitment to finally get to PASS. Don’t make the same mistake that I did by procrastinating. I encourage you to act without hesitation, to take control and make the investment in your own career.

Don’t settle for being simply just another DBA. You can read heaps more about Professional Development for the DBA over on my blog. Make the investment in yourself and I’ll see you at the Summit.

Countdown to PASS Summit Series: A Network of Experience & More to Bring Home

We can feel the excitement building as the Summit approaches! Here today, to help us with the final countdown and to get you ready for the rewarding week ahead are two of our SQL Server MVPs, Chris Shaw and Steve Novoselac, to share some wise words on what you can expect to get out of PASS Summit 2012 in Seattle, Washington. 

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FEATURED MVP:  CHRIS SHAW

Chris_ShawChris Shaw, a former United States Marine, started his database career in 1993.  He is an Microsoft MVP Award Recipient the author of Pro SQL Server Practices 2012, which was released in October.  Chris currently consults for Xtivia, and can be reached at Chris@SQLShaw.com.

I try to go to the PASS Summit each year, and I think over the last 10 years I have only missed a couple of them.   Recently at the local Users Group meeting, I was asked why someone should go to the PASS Summit.  It didn’t take long for me to start talking about all the reasons I go, but at the top of the list:

This is the best opportunity I have to sit and talk SQL with other professionals who have different experiences than I do.

At work, I don’t always have the opportunity to utilize all the things that SQL Server can do, so when a situation arises and I am asked to complete a project with SQL Server, I sometimes lack the experience in actually doing it.  I may have the knowledge on how to do it and the resources to find out to implement it, but without the experience, I believe you are more likely to miss some of the obstacles that you might encounter along the way.  I also believe that you might be more concerned about some of the challenges that may not exist, so speaking to others who have had different experiences can be very rewarding.

TJay Belt a close friend of mine was asked in an interview why he was the better candidate for a position.  The answer was along the lines of, “When you hire me, you get me and my network of SQL Server Professionals with all of their experience as well”. 

For more insight from Chris on why you should be excited about PASS Summit 2012, read Chris’ Big Data blog post, where he discusses another highlight of PASS Summit 2012, David DeWitt’s session, Big Data Meets SQL Server.

 

FEATURED MVP:  STEVE NOVOSELAC

 Steve_Novoselac Steve Novoselac (@scaleovenstove) is the Business Intelligence and Software Development manager at Trek Bicycle Corporation, as well as on the Board of Directors of MADPASS, the Madison, WI PASS Chapter. Steve can be found blogging at http://blog.stevienova.com and http://stevenovoselac.com.

Very soon, I will be landing in Seattle for the annual PASS Summit. This will be my third Summit, though I wish I could say that I had been to them all because the experience is one you don’t want to miss.

After consecutively attending the last few Summits, I can attest to the fact that it is a great thing. When asked "What is the one thing you look forward to at the Summit?", I really don’t have to think about the answer.

What keeps bringing me back is not so much things at the Summit, but what I bring back. Usually around the last few months of the year, I start feeling like I’m in a rut with things, and it just so happens that the Summit lands smack dab in the middle of that. I go to the Summit, plug into as many new and exciting things as I can get my hands on, and the juices start flowing. By the end of the week, my head is filled with so many ideas on how our team could implement "this" or think about how the business could use "that" — it really is invigorating.

I have always tried to get at least one other team member, if not more (myself and two others are attending this year) to attend the Summit so we can get more info, cover more bases and look from multiple angles. We try to talk to as many people we can, including presenters, MVP’s and Microsoft Employees. We try to hit the big sessions and the not-so-big sessions (where all the stuff that is going to be huge a couple of years from now is being talked about!). We try to make it to events throughout the week and check out as much as we can of the entire experience. (We also don’t forget to try some Pacific Northwest cuisine and beer!) But the best thing for me about the Summit, is taking things we learned back to the office and actually executing on them.

The Summit is the one time of year that we can forget about what we are working on day to day and start to learn and experience things to make not only our careers interesting, but help the business we work for become more productive and successful by using the solutions we will put in place –w ithout a doubt, many of these solutions come from the ideas sparked at the sessions and discussions at the Summit.

I hope to see you there!