I didn’t like him at first
That’s right. I was not happy with my hero when I first met him, but maybe I should start from the beginning. It was a dark and stormy fall day…what am I saying. I live in Southern California. It was a beautiful day in Los Angels and Red Gate was hosting their first American SQL in The City. The day was Oct 28th, 2011. I have been a Red Gate addict for a while and I was very excited about attending the events. (It’s free after all.)
I listened to presentations all day from speakers I didn’t know (yet). You see, I was not involved in the SQL Community yet. (That would take another year to happen.) The day was winding down and there was a presentation by this guy named Grant Fritchey (b|t). He was speaking about performance tuning, execution plans, and other things I didn’t understand at that time. Then he brought up User Defined Functions, which I was in love with. And he told me how bad they were, and my jaw dropped. I was not happy that he just told me my favorite toy was not good for the performance of my queries.
Even though he just delivered me some bad news, he caught my attention. You see, Grant is an amazing speaker. He gets excited about what most of the human race considers boring. He engages the audience. And he loves questions.
Fast forward a few months
While I wasn’t happy with what Grant told me, he piqued my interest. Grant had a book that I found called SQL Server Execution Plans. I read that book cover to cover, and then I started using what I learned. Within a few months, I was the go to person at work for query tuning. I was able to tune a 12 minute query down to acceptable performance because of what I had learned from Grant’s book and I was rewarded for my great work. You see, I had learned about PASS Summit by then, and Grant had a pre-con…and I wanted to be in that class. Since I had done an outstanding job that summer improving the performance of quite a few lagging queries, my manager let me go to my first PASS Summit and it changed my career.
One of the goals I had for Summit, was to meet a list of people I had created. Some were speakers and some were people I had gotten to know on Twitter. Grant, of course, was at the top of the list… and I had met him within an hour of my plane landing in Seattle. You see, Red Gate had another SQL in the City event. This time on Monday of the week of Summit. (They do this year too.) I wasn’t able to attend the entire event, but I did make it to Grant’s session.
I won’t bore you with the details of that whole week, but needless stay that any time I had a question and Grant was free, I was able to talk to him. Why? Because that is the kind of guy he is. He loves helping people.
Not so scary after all
While it sounds like I just have a big “geek crush” on the guy, that isn’t the case…any more. Here is a short list why I call Grant Fritchey my Hero
- Fabulous Presenter: Grant is a fantastic presenter. He is engaging, he loves questions, and he has no problem admitting that he doesn’t know everything.
- Great author: Let’s admit it. Technical books make better monitor stands than interesting reading. Technical books can be so monotonous, but not Grant’s books. You can here Grant in his books. His sense of humor comes out between the lines.
- Giver at heart: As mentioned earlier, he loves to help people. You can send him a question through his blog, and he’ll reply. He is constantly speaking at events and conferences, sharing his knowledge in the SQL Family style.
- He gives it his all: Grant doesn’t do anything half way. He is prepared when he speaks. He is prepared when he runs for office. And he is prepared when he agrees to be a mentor.
- My mentor: At the beginning of 2013, I wanted to have a mentor. I even blogged about it here. I got the courage up and I sent Grant an email, asking if he would mentor me…and he said yes. I was shocked and honored to find out that I was the first person he had “officially” mentored. He mentored me all throughout 2013.
- Frank: Grant is not scary, but he doesn’t sugar coat his answers. I love this about him. It means that I can trust his opinion, whether they are about SQL or about my abilities, and especially about the things I still need to work on.
Shout out to Grant
Thanks Grant, for lifting me up and telling me that I can accomplish things I thought were outside my reach. Thanks for being a fabulous role model as a speaker and community leader. Thanks for being my hero and my friend.
Thanks for all the fish
Thanks also go out to Tracy McKibben for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party.