How Can I Become a Microsoft MVP?

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Many IT professionals haven't heard of the Microsoft MVP accolade, but those who have know that it carries a lot of prestige. I have been a Microsoft MVP since the 2003-2004 award year. Unfortunately, I never wrote down a detailed set of advice for perhaps my most frequently asked question ... how can I become a Microsoft MVP? To me, the Most Valuable Professional designation is a recognition of an independent individual's contribution to the wider community in support of a specific Microsoft technology. Note the emphasis on community, not technology. Tech is certainly a huge part of the … [Read more...]

Surprising but True: the Basics are Still Difficult

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SURPRISING BUT TRUE: THE BASICS ARE STILL DIFFICULT I always look forward to new research from Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., publishers of this magazine and other great products for data professionals. The latest report which you should read is "SQL Server Transformation: Toward Agility & Resiliency 2017; PASS Database Management Survey." READ MORE... Originally Posted April 07, 2017 … [Read more...]

Advice to New Bloggers

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PREAMBLE If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I travel and speak quite a lot. A frequent question I'm asked at these events is "I want to start blogging, but don't know where to start. What do you recommend?" This is a such a common and natural question as to be almost existential at it's root. In most every context where we move from the known to the unknown, from taking that first international trip to learning how to swim, we might first begin by saying "I'm uncertain. Where do I start?" Success in any of these situations can be distilled down to a single word - … [Read more...]

Three Wishes from SQLPASS.org in 2015

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When I walked into the welcome reception at the 2014 PASS Summit in Seattle last year, I have to tell you that I was a little verklempt. I had a moment of "My baby has all grown up!" The event was so packed with people, so well executed, and so flashy. Thomas LaRock (b | t), the current president, and the rest of the board of directors have simply done a fantastic job growing and leading the organization. Comparing the 2014 Summit to the original 1999 Summit in the conference space of the Chicago Sheraton that cold September was quite a bit like seeing your little daughter coming down the … [Read more...]

T-SQL Tuesday #59: My Hero!

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This month's edition of T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by Tracy McKibben (T|B). I was challenged by Aaron Bertrand (T|B) to participate in this T-SQL Tuesday. I instantly knew what and who I wanted to write about, but my schedule being what it is prevented me from writing the blog entry until straight up at midnight. Since this installment of T-SQL Tuesday happens to fall on Ada Lovelace Day, Tracy tells us that our mission – should we choose to accept it – is as follows: Ada Lovelace has been an inspiration to many. In keeping with my blog theme, let’s call her a hero. We all have our … [Read more...]

MacGyver Moments

In case you haven't heard, your MacGyver Moments are those times when you improvised an excellent solution to a problem using non-traditional materials, techniques, or tools - like the time I repaired my flux capacitor using bailing wire, chewing gum, the tears of Glenn Beck, and the sweat of a master ninja. Necessity is the Mutha of Invention Believe it or not, I've got a long history of doing things MacGyver style.  To begin with, I grew up without two nickels to rub together.  That means you have to improvise - a lot. Once I hit teenage years, I was constantly tinkering with all … [Read more...]

Writing and Delivering a Successful Full-Day Technology Seminar

I was recently chatting with the current President of PASS, Thomas LaRock (Twitter | Blog), and Pieter Vanhove (Twitter | Blog), a prominent SQL Server consultant and expert in Belgium, about how I go about building and presenting a full-day technical seminar. In the SQL Server world, we tend to call these "pre-cons", as in pre-conference seminar, because they're typically offered as paid add-ons occurring prior to a full technical conference. We call them that even when they come at the end of the conference and, heck, when there's no conference at all. Kevin and Kendal Van Dyke … [Read more...]

What Does a Good Mentor Do for You?

These would be good mentors - me plus Adam Machanic, and Klaus Aschenbrenner Not long ago, John Sansom (Twitter | Blog) kicked off a SQL Community Project #DBAJumpStart by asking 20 successful and experienced SQL Server professionals this exact question: "If you could give a DBA just one piece of advice, what would it be?" I wrote up my Advice for the Aspiring DBA post here, while John collected the entire set of responses here within the DBA JumpStart collection. Part of my advice, indeed of several of the contributors, was to find and build a strong mentor-protege relationship.  But what … [Read more...]

You’re Leading in More Ways Than You Realize

The following is an excerpt from Kevin and Joe Webb's (Blog | Twitter) monthly IT Pro eNewsletter.   You're Leading in More Ways Than You Realize It's that time of year again. The sights and sounds of modern-day gladiators clashing on the gridiron field. If you're a football fan, there is no better time of year. In football, the quarterback is the de facto leader of the offense of team. Late in the game it is to him that the team looks to snatch a last minute come-from-behind victory from certain defeat. That's a lot of weight to put on one man's shoulders. Yet the … [Read more...]

What’s the Hidden Issue in the Recent PASS Bylaw Changes?

The 2004 PASS Board of Directors On December 19, 2013, the PASS board of directors (BoD) proposed a small and targeted set of bylaw changes in response to CA relinquishing the BoD seats they were entitled to as a Founding Partner in the professional association. How Did CA Get Involved with PASS? You might be wondering "How did a company that doesn't seem to make a lot of SQL Server tools get a seat on the board of this huge, international SQL Server professional association?" It's a bit of a shaggy-dog story, so I'll sum it up quickly. Back in the late 1990's, there was a large and … [Read more...]