Tag Archive for SQL Saturday

Year in Review for 2015 and Future Goals for 2016

AdobeStock_96432559This has been another spectacular year in the SQL world. Unfortunately, I can’t find my list of goals, so I’ll have to wing it. I can say, that I have had some unexpected surprises this year.

 

Level up!
  1. I have two favorite activities in the SQL world. One of which is speaking. This year I presented 14 times to over 1300 people. I spoke at two conferences, one of which was my second year at PASS Summit in Seattle. I spoke at 6 user groups, one of which was presented remotely in Australia. I also spoke at 5 SQL Saturday’s and once for Pragmatic Works.
  2. My second favorite activity is writing. This year, I started writing for SQL Server Central. I wrote two articles for them, which had more than 20K views. I have my third post scheduled for Jan 4th/5th, so keep your eyes open for it. I also had 17 blog posts on my website. My metrics for the year were off the wall. An 82 % increase in sessions, a 403 % increase in session duration, a 97 % increase in page views (that’s 23K page views!), and my favorite, 52% increase in Users, which yields 9.5K users. Thanks viewers!
  3. I created my meet and greet list for PASS Summit and I was able to meet most of the people on my list. Some of them I knew through conversing on Twitter, like Pinal Dave. I (finally) had an opportunity to give Buck Woody a big hug too. I also met some people that I didn’t know: Wawrick Rudd, Mellisa Lord, Michael Upton, Denis Horner, and many more.
  4. This is my second year co-leading our local BI user group with Rob Hatton.
  5. I had the honor of being part of the Friends of Red Gate program again. This is my third year.
  6. My husband granted me my wish for our 20th wedding anniversary of going on my second SQL Cruise in the Caribbean AND he went with me on it. When I mentioned I had been on a SQL Cruise in my interview for my current job, they thought I was kidding. If you have never heard of SQL Cruise, I highly recommend checking it out. There is no where else you can get 6 amazing instructors for 30 students. Those speakers are trapped on a ship with you, so you can actually spend time with them over drinks or dinner asking them any question you want. I had that opportunity with Jes Borland, Grant Fritchey, Kevin Kline, David Klee, Tim Ford, and Amy Ford.
I have some new goals for 2016 as well
  1. I was hoping to speak at least once a month again, but after looking at 2014 and 2015 it will be easy to speak an average of twice a month. I have a goal of of 9 SQL Saturdays. Hopefully, I will get another opportunity to speak at PASS Summit. And I plan on speaking over the inter-webs as many times as I can. Here are some of the speaking engagements, I already have planned.
    1. SQL Saturday 461 in Austin, TX, Janurary 30th, 2016.
    2. Pragmatic Works on Feburary 9th.
    3. Profession Development Virtual Chapter in March.
    4. SQL Saturday 497 in Huntington Beach, CA April 02, 2016.
    5. DBA Fundamentals Downunder Virtual Chapter in May.
    6. All the others will slowly appear on my Speaking Engagements page.
  2. I plan to continue writing for my own blog and for SQL Server Central with a goal of one post each month for each site. That is a lofty goal for me since almost all my writing is done on Sunday’s, in a little coffee shop with my daughter. (I also spend that time writing abstracts.) Wish me luck!
  3. I’ve enjoyed speaking on SSRS, but I’m going to change it up. I’ll continue speaking on writing better SQL, but I’m also going to take up another SQL subject. Stay tuned!
  4. I’ll continue co-leading our local BI user group.
  5. I plan on mentoring one of my colleagues, Ly Nguyen. He has a goal of becoming a DBA or a Database Developer. I’m super excited about this, since he is eager to learn.
  6. This next year, I want to spend more time on forums, helping others.
  7. Hopefully, I’ll be part of Friends of Red Gate for another year.
Stretch goals

I think it’s a good idea to have some stretch goals to help push yourself past your comfort zone. Here is mine.

  1. Create a full day session to present. This seems so overwhelming, but I was a Microsoft Trainer for two years at the beginning of my career, so I know it’s possible.
  2. Speak (physically) in another country. My Australian friends, have been pushing encouraging me to speak in Melbourn, AU. I’m not sure if it will be possible, since my oldest daughter will be attending college next year, and most of my speaking money will be redirected to her tuition. If I accomplish the first of my stretch goals, then this might be possible.
  3. Writing another book. This is a big commitment of time. The good news is, my family is willing to support me in this endeavor. This is great, since they would hardly see me, except at dinner, until the project was completed.
I want to thank…

There is no way I could accomplish what I do without the support of friends and family. Here is this year’s shout out.

  1. My husband is definitely number one on this list. Whenever I have a really bad week, or I get bummed out about something, his first question is, “When is your next SQL Saturday”? Also, he is encouraging me to speak and write until my heart’s content.
  2. I always say, my first language is SQL and my second language is English. Luckily I have my daughter Victoria to help with my grammar and spelling. She is now one of my official editors and will continue to be my editor through college.
  3. Ben McNamara is my second editor. While Victoria can catch my English mistakes, Ben can catch the technical ones. He is also one of my touchstones when I get nervous about speaking or am taking criticism personally.
  4. Jes Borland, Chris Yates, Julie Koesmarno, and Nghi Nguyen are my other touchstones in my life. They are great at keeping me grounded.
  5. Steve Jones asked me to write for SQL Server Central and I was very honored. He also has the most relaxed manner that I wish I had. I can learn how to be more laid back from him, since I see him at SQL Saturdays and at Summit.
  6. I want to thank you, my readers and those that attend my presentations. Without you, I wouldn’t be having any fun.
Now it’s your turn.

My question to you is, what are your technical goals for 2016? Do you have some achievable goals and some stretch goals? Here are some ideas.

  • Start a blog. Most people start writing a blog for themselves, to remember how to do something in the future.
  • Start speaking. This can be very scary, but there is always someone out there who needs to know what you know. It can be as simple as rewriting a cursor or as complex as setting up replications.
  • Mentoring. Speaking might be too scary, so instead take someone under wing. Not only can you mentor them in a technical capacity, but you can also mentor them in how to deal with different parts of a team or how to gather requirements.
  • Volunteering: Every organization that is run by volunteers, needs more volunteers. You can help out at your local SQL Saturday or at PASS Summit to name a couple of places. (I volunteered at Summit this year. I directed people to the WIT lunch or to the normal lunch. I had a blast!) You can also volunteer at local community centers that have programming classes for kids. We need to help encourage the next generation.

My Eleven Day PASS Summit 15 Experience

“STUEWE!” This is how I knew PASS Summit was about to begin. I was walking to the Friday night SQL Saturday Portland speaker dinner, prior to PASS Summit, when I heard my name being called, well, yelled. Since it was already dark, it took a minute to spot the black SUV with Mike Fal hanging out the window waving at me.

But wait, that is not when my Eleven Day Summit Experience started.

Day One – Thursday

It actually started on Thursday before Summit at LAX. I was there bright and early to pick up two of my Australian friends, Martin Cairney and Ben McNamara, who would be traveling with me to Portland and then on to Seattle. Despite the 14 hour flight, they wanted to go see the Endeavor space shuttle at the California Science Center in LA.

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Day Two – Friday

Friday was spent flying to Portland where we would be attending SQL Saturday Portland. We stayed in an Air B & B house. This is a great way to save some money for lodging and to feel like you’re at home. There is always a coffee machine with decent coffee and the best…no rambunctious kids on the floor above you. WIN!

Friday night, we attended a wonderful speaker dinner (This is when Mike Fal yelled my name out a window of an SUV). Speaker dinners are always fun to attend. You get to catch up with friends and make new ones. Portland is always a bit special, because it’s full of speakers from around the world who made a little extra time to speak at a community event before PASS Summit.

After dinner, we found an amazing restaurant. It had the most scrumptious gluten free bread. I think it was made of clouds.

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Day Three – Saturday

Saturday was spent at one of my favorite SQL Saturdays. Ok, I’ll be honest. ALL SQL Saturdays are my favorite. It’s a great time to do a little extra networking, get to see SQL Family, and meet new people in the community. I also love speaking and that is what I did in Portland. I spoke on SSRS.

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I was able to attend several wonderful sessions. My favorite was given by Julie Koesmarno and Cindy Gross: Moving beyond Unconscious Bias. I really liked their approach to this topic. Throughout the presentation, they strongly emphasized that we are all good people.

They spoke about how everyone categorizes everything in our lives, but sometimes we have a bias in our categorization, an unconscious bias that we are unaware of. They told us about a study by Harvard called the Implicit Association test, which tests how we categorize various topics. Julie and Cindy then showed us a video of Allen Alda taking the Harvard test. I strongly recommend learning about unconscious bias.

No Portland trip is complete without going to my two favorite places in the evening. We put our names in for our two hour wait at the Multnomah Whiskey Library, and then we headed over to Cassidy’s. They have great food and AMAZING bacon. I ordered enough bacon for all sixteen of us. (And there was much rejoicing). Afterwards we went to the Whiskey Library, where I was finally able to try some Scapa Scotch. I really liked it (Thanks for the recommendation Grant!).2015 PASS Summit13

Day Four – Sunday

One of the cheapest ways to get from Portland to Seattle is the train. When we bought our tickets, they were around $25. Little did we know it would be an unexpectedly amazing day. My friend, Ted Stathakis, was really looking forward to this day too. He loves trains; neither of us realized how amazing it would be.

Last year, there were only five of us on the train. Martin Cairney and I spent the majority of the trip troubleshooting a problem with my VM. Not this time. This time it was completely non-technical. There were sixteen of us in our car, and two who (foolishly) purchased tickets in a nicer car. Why do I say foolishly? Well, we were having so much fun, that they spent the majority of the trip in our car…eating our Voodoo Donuts. Next time, I think they will buy the general tickets. Next time, I’m also going to try getting the WHOLE car too. So if you want to ride with us, keep an eye out for a post from me in the summer.

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For more details on the fun we had, go look up the twitter handle #SQLTrain.

Day Five – Monday

Monday was a red day. Red Gate day that is. Red Gate puts on a free event called SQL in the City. They have put it on each year on the Monday before the PASS Summit for several years now. They bring quite a few people from the UK to talk about their tools, and they have amazing presentation. This year, they went with a common theme: Continuous Integration. I participated in the Lightening Talks. I spoke on how to use their DLM Dashboard. This is a great tool that keeps an eye on the databases you connect to the DLM dashboard. You can monitor who modified the database and which scripts they ran on the database. Did I mention this is a free tool?

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Monday night is the annual Networking dinner put on by Steve Jones and Andy Warren. This is a “must attend” event. Why? It’s all about networking and integrating 1st timers into the community. This year, a bunch of us crammed into a booth with four 1st timers. At least two were from Europe. I enjoyed getting to know them and they enjoyed being introduced to all the people that came by our table to say hi.

Note: Remember, networking isn’t just about talking tech. It’s about building relationships so that you can ask technical questions in the future. If you need ideas on how to meet people, take a look at my blog post, Top Ten Ways To Create Your Meet and Greet List For Summit.

Day Six – Tuesday

Tuesday was a relaxing day before the busyness of Summit. I started the day off with breakfast with Chris Yates. This is a rare pleasure. Chris and I met through the SQL Community on Twitter. We now blog together occasionally and I speak at the SQL Saturday in his hometown.

Before I took time to prep for my Wednesday morning presentation, my apartment mates and I went to the Starbucks where they roast all of their coffee beans. I had my first french press, and, I must say, I’m hooked. 2015 PASS Summit2-001

After I was done with my presentation preparation, it was time for the opening event for PASS Summit. This is a whirlwind event. I feel like a butterfly, fluttering from conversation to conversation. This year, I felt like a match maker too. I had three people from my company attending with me. I haven’t had that happen since the mid 90s! I enjoyed introducing them to a number of people.

I also did something different. I went looking for the lone 1st timers. The wallflowers who don’t know who to talk to. I found one. He was eating by himself near a wall, watching everyone by himself. I went up to him, introduced myself, and got to know him. I then asked if there was someone he wanted to meet. He wanted to meet Pinal Dave from India. Pinal and I know of each other, but we’ve never had the pleasure of shaking each other’s hands. So that’s what we did. Luckily, Pinal was standing nearby. Pinal and I finally shook hands, and I introduced him to the 1st timer. That made me very happy. Win!

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Day Seven – Wednesday

This was my day <deep breaths inserted here>. I was first up to bat <deep breaths inserted here>. I’m nervous as I walk to my room. I see my room and I get calmer. I climb up on the stage and I get calmer. I get my laptop set up and I’m ready to go. Boom.

As you’ve probably noticed, I really believe in networking. My class filled up with plenty of time to spare before the presentation, so I did the same thing I did last year. I had everyone stand up and introduce themselves to their neighbors. I stood on stage with a huge grin on my face, then I stepped off stage and introduced myself to people in the front row.

200 hundred people came to hear my presentation on Sophisticated Techniques in SSRS. I enjoyed every minute of the session. We did have a couple of exciting moments in class though. There was a laptop on the table (not mine) that started beeping. I thoroughly enjoyed slamming nicely shutting the laptop lid. There was also a crash of dishes behind me in the hallway. I said “Opa!” in my head and kept on presenting.

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With my presentation done, I was able to enjoy classes the rest of the conference.

One class I took was not found in a classroom, but on the edge of a planter on the ground floor. I started talking with this guy (sorry I can’t recall his name, but he was awesome). He was telling me how he had submitted his session, but wasn’t selected. After he told me his topic, I told him I would have taken his class. His presentation was right up my alley. So he asked if I would like to see it. I said yes and we had a wonderful one-on-one discussion, complete with demos on his laptop. Right there. On the edge of a planter. It was my favorite class. THAT is one the many special things about PASS Summit.

One of the things I was really happy about this year was the change in how special diets were handled. In the past, they have always messed up my meals. I have a lot of food sensitivities, so I understand it’s difficult to accommodate my diet, but I still need to eat. This year, they had our names on our meals, and they had the more common special requests handled in the regular food line. (Thank you)

Day Eight – Thursday

I was invited again to live-blog the keynote on Thursday. You can see my comments here. I was very sad to hear that this would be the last keynote for PASS Summit given by David DeWitt and Rimma Nehme. I’m happy that I’ve been able to see two of their keynotes.

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Before lunch, I thoroughly enjoyed directing people to lunch (I’ll tell you a secret. I think I enjoyed twirling my sign a little too much. Open-mouthed smile).

Thursday is the Women In Technology Day (WIT). WIT puts on a great lunch, and I was in the perfect place to direct people to the regular lunch and the WIT lunch. One of the traditions of WIT day is for men and women to wear kilts. This tradition was started by Grant Fritchey many years ago. This was my fourth year participating.

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Day Nine – Friday

Friday is full of sessions and bitter sweet goodbyes. Now, I don’t want you to think I only had fun this week. I did attend sessions. I have proof. I also took notes.

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… And I had fun.

 

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Summit is not complete without at least one night hanging out with Jason Strate at Bush Garden participating in SQL Karaoke. I was super happy to make it there multiple times this year. Last year, I wasn’t able to go at all due to all the commitments I had at Summit.

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Day Ten – Saturday

Saturday was a vacation day. I spent the day with my Australian friends. These are friends that I’ve made through Summit. I even worked with a some of them for a few months. In the evening, Julie Koesmarno and I threw a dinner party for a few of our friends who were still in town. We were even able to invite some friends we met this year.

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Day Eleven – Sunday

Sunday I had to come back to reality on my flight home. While I had an amazing time in Seattle speaking, learning, networking, and reconnecting, I was happy to see my family and they were happy to see me.

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Summit 2014 Experience Or My Week With the Aussies

Summit may officially only have three daysfive days if you count the two pre-con days, but my “Summit 2014 Experience ” this year was two weeks long. How can that be? Well, I hung out with my favorite Aussies.

(I will apologize right here. This is a looong post. I created a timeline for those that want the short version.)PASSSummit2014Experience

JulieAndMickeyAtFrys#SQLAussieFamily comes to visit

Some of you may know that I’m really close friends with Julie Koesmarano and she lives way too far away. So I asked her to come visit a week before Summit. That is when my “Summit 2014 Experience” officially started, when Julie arrived on my doorstop. After she settled in, we headed out to lunch, and then shopping at Fry’s for adapters. By Thursday (before Summit) two more Aussies came to visit, Martin Cairney and Ben McNamara.I hadn’t met Ben before, so he gets to be the official first networking opportunity of my “Summit 2014 Experience”. He’s also the one I spent the most time with during Summit. The next day we hopped on a plane heading to Portland and their SQL Saturday.

Portlandia

I’m born and raised in California. We drive everywhere. Aussies, on the other hand, do things differently, and I loved it. We didn’t stay in a hotel. We used Airbnb and stayed in an old Victorian parsonage. It was wonderful. We could have taken a taxi to the house we rented, but instead we took our suitcases on a tour of Portland via the light rail, the street cars, and our feet. We even picked our dinner location based on walking distance from our house. So much fun.

Since I don’t want to leave any of my “flat mates” out, we were joined late Friday night by the lovely Heidi Hastings, straight from Australia.

SQL Saturday #337 – Portland

I love SQL Saturdays. Attendees get to learn for free, I get to teach about the things I love, I get to meet new people, and to top it all off, I get to see and hug all my SQL Family. At this SQL Saturday, I gave my presentation called: Changing Your Habits to Improve the Performance of Your T-SQL.

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I found my favorite moments to be in the bathroom. I know, you’re scratching your head, but it’s true. While I was heading out of the restroom, I was stopped by one of the other speakers. She introduced herself to me and told me how she has been reading this very blog for the last two years and she has enjoyed watching me grow. Wow, that touched me. I’ve never been told that before. It made my day.

Believe it or not, my Aussie friends and I were the very LAST people to leave the event. Mostly because we needed to wait for a taxi and we waited to the last minute to call one. Once our taxi arrived, we headed for dinner. Someone had found a restaurant/bar that had whiskey called The Library. WOW! If you like whiskey, and you’re in Portland, you need to go there. They had ladders to get to the top shelves!

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IMG_3202Make sure you get reservations though. We had to wait 1.5 hours! Which we did at a wonderful restaurant called Cassidy’s. The food and company were wonderful. They even let me order a plate of bacon as an appetizer.

All aboard!

Sunday we needed to get to Seattle, so Neil Hambly joined our little Aussie Posse and we took a ride north on the train. This was a very relaxing train ride for Ben, Heidi, and Neil. Martin and I spent most of the time trouble shooting some domain controller issues on my laptop. In the end, Martin prevailed, and we all left the train happy. (And there was much rejoicing.)

TrainStation

 

IMG_3205Red Gate had a speaker dinner that night, just as I arrived into town at a wonderful restaurant called Tango’s. I have NINE different foods that I can’t eat. Annabel (from Red Gate), gave the chef my list of allergies, and they made me a custom meal. It was SO delightfully delicious. Here is a picture of what I considered my desert. A salad with fruit and BACON! Yum!

SQL in the City

IMG_3210Monday was spent with my favorite vendor, Red Gate. They put on an amazing free event called SQL in the City. I was honored to be a speaker for the 2nd year in a row. This year I had two presentations. I gave a lightning talk at the end of the day called: Finding the delta with SQL Compare and backups. I also gave a full session in the middle of the day called: Customize your faux test data with SQL Data Generator. I was very pleased with this presentation. I showcased a tool that isn’t talked about very often and demoed the new features that have been implemented over the last year or so, including the ability to use Python to better customize the faux test data. It was quite a bit of fun to present.

While I was wondering networking, I ran into John. The two of us participated in the First Timer’s dinner that was put on in 2012. He told me that he had been reading my blog ever since then and that he enjoyed watching me grow from a first timer at Summit to a First Timer Speaker at Summit.

Has Summit started yet?

No, Summit hasn’t officially started yet, but networking has. After networking throughout the day at SQL in the City, I had dinner with a couple of friends on our way to the beloved Tap House, whereI did more hugging and networking.

SSIS Pre-con and Mickey

Every day of this amazing “Summit 2014 Experience”, I was giving back to the SQL community. Either through speaking at an event or doing some other volunteer duty. But TuesdayTuesday was for me. I took a pre-con from Brian Knight and Devin Knight called: SSIS: Problem, Design, Solution. They are amazing presenters to watch, and I enjoyed the content I learned.

That evening I ran around with my head cut off trying to say hi (and hug) everyone I knew. I’m pretty sure I was still saying hi (and still hugging) people on Thursday that I hadn’t seen in a year. In fact, there are a couple of people I missed completely. That’s not too surprising, there were only 5000 people wandering around.

IMG_3221It was really fun getting to meet some of my Twitter friends whom I hadn’t met in person yet, like Andre Ranieri, Anil Mahadev, Annette Allen, and Adam Machanic. Now I have voices to go with the faces. (hhmmmMy data is skewed. All the people I listed have a first name that starts with “A”.)

Woot! First Day of the Summit

I started the day off at the Bloggers Table at the first Keynote. This was very exciting. You see, I was invited to live blog the keynote. I’m no Brent Ozar when it comes to live blogging, but I had a great time and I had at least one reader following the live blog.

After Julie and I had breakfast, I prepped for my very first Summit session, which was scheduled for Thursday. I’m so glad that I prepped mid Wednesday, because I was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Which brings me to the last session of the day and the first session that I was able to attend. I took Mladen Prajdic’s  class called: SQL Server and Application Security for Developers. Anyone who has to write any inline SQL, should take his class. It was great.

I’ll just tell you right now. I networked EVERY single night. Why? Well, I got laid off right before I left for Summit. If you are going to get laid off, do it right before Summit, because it is the absolute BEST place to get the word out. I came home with several potential opportunities. I even gave up taking classes so that I could make deeper connections in the SQL community.

JessAndMickeyTHE BIG DAY

I was bummed to miss the Keynote on Thursday, but I don’t sit still well before a big presentation. I thought it was more important to have a good breakfast.

Since I was up first for the day, I went to my classroom forty minutes earlyand there were people already there! It gets better! I asked the room proctor if she could tell me how many people attended my session after it ended. She thought I was someone else, and started telling me about how many attendees they expected for my session. She told me that there were 232 people who added my session to their schedule and that I was on the “overflow watch list”. (Yeah, that made me a tad nervous.) That is a big class! Do you want to hear the best part??? I ended up with THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE attendees in my session. That’s 35% more than expected. There were only 12 empty seats. That’s more people than the number of students in my youngest daughter’s elementary school! Did I mention this was the FIRST time I was speaking at PASS Summit?

While those numbers still blow my mind, it wasn’t my favorite part of my session. Not even close. There were two other much more exciting events that happened in my session. The first, was the attendees themselves. They were engaged. They were so engaging that I ran a bit over. I felt bad about that, but my class was so interactive and I love that. The second happened during the six minutes prior to the session starting.

BenAndMickeyI was completely ready to start and didn’t know what to do with myself. There was a very low murmur in the room, but I could see many people just sitting there waiting for the session to start. So I turned my mic on and announced, “My favorite thing about Summit is the Networking. I want everyone of you to turn to the person on your left and the person on your right and introduce yourself. I will then know you have networked with at least two people today.”and the room exploded in conversation. I even introduced myself to two people in the front row. I then waited for my session to start with a huge grin on my face. I even had to quiet the room down when I started. Man that was awesome.

My Thursday is not done yet

I didn’t get to attend any sessions this day, because I was busy doing other things. I attended the Women in Technology lunch. I hung out in the community zone for an hour. And I was asked to live blog a Q & A session with the Executive Board. This was a way for the bloggers to ask questions of the Executive Board and blog about them before the Q & A session that was held on Friday. I was honored to be asked to participate. I really have a lot of respect for our Executive Board. It’s not easy pleasing the entire world of SQL professionals.

That evening I was invited to a special dinner put on by Red Gate for their Friends of Red Gate members. I’m mentioning it here, because of where we had dinner. We ate at a special restaurant called FareStart. This amazing restaurant helps the homeless get back on their feet by training them, housing them, and feeding them. All proceeds from the restaurant go back into the program. The chef and main waiting staff are all volunteers and there is even a waiting list to work there. I encourage you to follow the link and read about the restaurant. (This restaurant was also great about my food allergies. I had an AMAZING meal.)

ChrisJulieAndMickeyAnother great thing happened at the Friends of Red Gate dinner. I was able to introduce Chris Yates to Julie Koesmarano. The three of us, plus Jeffrey Verheul from The Netherlands all blog together under the hashtag, #SQLCoop. This was the first time that Chris and Julie had met in person. It’s the little things, like introductions, that make me happy.

And you know what I did after dinner. I networked… and celebrated this amazing day.

Friday already?

I actually was able to attend classes all day on Friday. I was quite happy about that. I was even able to attend Martin Cairney’s session called:Thinking Out of the Box: Manage SQL Server Using Built-in Tools . He had the very last session of summit and it was wonderful.

At lunch I lead one of the Birds of a Feather lunch tables in the discussion of Data Models. Our table was pretty full and we had a great discussion about someone’s data model challenges.

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Summit may officially end at 5:15 PM on Friday, but the “Summit 2014 Experience” doesn’t end until you’re buckled into the seat of an airplane, train, or car. (Hopefully, not a straight jacket.)

Two of my Aussie “flat mates” and I snuck off to a wonderful Lebanese restaurant for dinner. The food was great, but I could have done without the steep hills to get there. I guess it is a requirement to walk up and back down at least one steep hill while you are in Seattle. After dinner we went to a birthday party and finally ended up at… the Tap House where I continued to network.

Bittersweet

My “Summit 2014 Experience” started with the Aussies and ended with the Aussies. We all went out to breakfast one last time at the Daily Grill. It was a great breakfast, but still sad that I probably wouldn’t see these wonderful people for another year.

 

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Thanks for all the fish

I wish I could give a shout out to all the SQL Family members I spent time with, but there are far too many of you. I do want to thank everyone for being part of a fabulous community. It is a rarity in the computer programming world and we are all very fortunate to be part of it.

Where in the SQL World is Mickey Stuewe

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PASSFlagI’m in countdown mode right now. Countdown to Halloween. Not because I get to dress up this Friday, but because I’m leaving for my favorite time of yearPASS Summit. This will be my first year speaking at Summit, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

JulieAndMickeyMentorsOne of the most amazing things about Summit is the networking opportunities. These opportunities have the potential to start lifelong friendships. And that is where my post really needs to start, with my friend Julie Koesmarno. Julie and I were at most of the same events at my first Summit, but we didn’t get to know each other until after the Summit. Now she has flown in from Australia to spend a week at my place before we head out to Summit together. Thursday, two more Australian friends will be joining us here in Orange County before we fly up to Oregon together on Friday for SQL Saturday in Portland, where I’ll be presenting my Changing Your Habits to Improve the Performance of Your T-SQL session and taking as many classes as I can.

Sunday we’ll be taking a leisurely ride on a train up to Seattle. It will be the last day of relaxation before the madness of Summit related activities start.

SiTCMickeyMonday I will be spending the day hanging out with my favorite tool company, Red Gate. They are putting on a free one day conference called SQL in the City. This is an amazing day to network, eat great food, see amazing presentations, and end the day English style with a pint of beer. You heard me correctly. Red Gate is a British Company, and they always end SQL in the City with a pint of beer. The beer bottles have customized labels. Last year’s said “Query Hoptimizer”.

This year I have two presentations at SQL in the City. My first presentation is called Customize your faux test data with SQL Data Generator and focuses on how to generate test data. My second presentation is a lightning talk. I’ll be presenting on called Finding the delta with SQL Compare and backups.

Monday night I will be attending Andy Warren and Steve Jone’s networking party. (I hope to see you all there.) This is a great way to start off on the right foot at the Summit. You get to sit down to share a meal and network. I was introduced to many new people the first time I went, and yes, I remember quite a few of them. Tuesday is all about me. Ok, almost all about me. I signed up for an all-day precon on the topic of SSIS. I do have to step out in the afternoon to attend a chapter leader’s meeting though.

Then the even hits with Summit’s opening night event followed closely with several other events that I will be attending. (Sleeping has been rescheduled for later in November.)

On Wednesday, I’ve been invited to be at the bloggers table for the Day 1 Keynote. I’m very excited about this. So, if you are unable to be at the Summit this year and you want to know what is going on during the first Keynote presentation Wednesday morning at 8:15 am, then come hang out on my blog. It will automatically update until 9:45 am. Stay tuned to my Twitter feed as well, I might “practice” by live blogging one of the sessions on Saturday or Monday too.

PASS_Summit_2013_WIT-2Thursday is my big day. I will be presenting for the fourth time in a week, but it will be my very first time speaking at the PASS Summit. My presentation is entitled Techniques for Dynamic SSRS Reports. The presentation will be held in room 2AB at 10:45 am. Since it is Thursday, I’ll most likely be presenting in my Kilt. Many attendees wear kilts to celebrate Women In Technology (WIT). After I’m done with my presentation, I’ll be running over to the WIT lunch. The event has sold out, so I hope I can find a seat. Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE will be giving a keynote at the event. Thursday afternoon at 3:30 to 4:30 you’ll find me hanging out at the community center. (I hope you come by and say hi.) I’ll be there to network, answer questions about community, SQL, SSRS, and whatever else comes up. (All questions I can’t answer will be forwarded to Grant Fritchey since he has nothing to do until January when his first term on the PASS board starts.)

WendyMartinMickeyJuliePaulThursday night I hope to celebrate by singing SQLKaroake style at Busch Gardens, but you never know where I’ll end up. The evenings at the Summit are like being caught in a strong current. You never know where the evening will take you. The point is to enjoy the ride and meet new people.

Friday I’ll be getting my final learning on and attending the Birds of a Feather lunch. This is an event where you can sit with others to talk about specific SQL related topics. So, bring your questions and share a meal with like minded individuals.

Saturday I’ll be heading back to Orange County to give hugs to my family and my puppy before I crash and catch up on all my sleep.

T-SQL Tuesday #57 – SQL Family to the Rescue of a Local Community

My good friend Jeffrey Verheul(b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. The party was started by Adam Machanic (b|t) in December of 2009. This month’s invitation is on the topic of SQL Family and Community.

I was very happy to see this topic this month since I just had an amazing SQL Family kind of day a week ago and this is the perfect venue to share it.

The Community

The beginning of this year I took a leap of faith and started a local PASS chapter focusing on BI in Irvine, CA. It’s called BIG PASS Community. I’ve been slowly growing the group steadily each month. I have a hand full of people who come every month and we usually have 1 or 2 new people as well. A couple of months ago, I was approached by a SQL Family member, Rob Hatton, who was a recent transplant from Florida. He wanted to help with my new community, so now we are co-leaders.

Before each meeting, we eat dinner together in the kitchen at our venue so that we can get to know each other better and network. Not only is our venue really nice, but Rosalyn, who is a Sales Rep there and stays late for us, is a wonderful hostess. She helps promote our meetings and helps take care of little details. We’re really blessed to have her.

The phone rang on a Friday afternoon

Rosalyn often calls me before our meetings to find out who our latest speaker is and if they will be presenting locally or not, so I wasn’t surprised to receive a phone call from her. This time she had some bad news for us. She had decided to leave the company to pursue a new opportunity, but she couldn’t find another person to host us in the evenings at their facility. We were now without a venue.

I was really worried about loosing our venue since I’ve seen other user groups unable to meet for months until a new location was found. Our group also doesn’t have any financial resources to pay for a venue either. What was a girl to do?

Twenty-four hours

I spoke with my co-leader about the situation and we developed a plan. We would change the next meeting to a networking event at a restaurant. That would allow us to still have a meeting and give us a month to find a new venue. I sent out emails late Sunday night to our community members letting them know what had happened and the new schedule for our next meeting.

Monday morning I received an email from David, who is one of our community members, “We have a classroom at work. Do you want me to see if we can use it?” I replied, “YES!” He kept updating me throughout the day with his progress on getting approval. Then I received an email from another community member named Ted. “We can use our classroom at work. We also have a nice break room for our dinners together.” We now had a venueand a potential backup venue.

This is a perfect example of the heart of SQL Family. They step in when someone needs help and lend a hand.

Building relationships

I want to share with you how I met each of the people I mentioned above.

In the spring of 2013 I was at the after party at the Orange County SQL Saturday. One of my friends wanted to introduce me to someone who recently moved near me. His name was Rob Hatton. I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know him and his lovely wife Barb better that night. We then crossed paths at two other SQL Saturdays over the last year.

Last year, at PASS Summit I helped host the Southern California User Group tables at lunch. I wanted to connect with more people in my area. We had several new people join us for lunch who weren’t aware of the local user groups. Two of those people were David and his co-worker James. We had a great time getting to know each other at lunch and was delighted to see them at many of the evening events where I had the opportunity to speak with them further. When I started the BIG PASS Community user group, they started attending it as well.

This past April was the local SQL Saturday event in Orange County. That was where I met Ted. He attended both of my morning presentation. We crossed paths again at lunch, where we had time to network further. I was able to tell him about the local user groups and encourage him to attend them. I was really happy to see him at the June meeting.

Why am I sharing this with you? Wellto show you how integrated our community is. To show you how the roots travel far. SQL Family connections don’t all start in a classroom or on twitter. They start at lunch tables, Karaoke bars, and walking between presentations.

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks go out to Jeffrey Verheul for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. He is one my favorite SQL Family members who I met through my T-SQL Tuesday participation. While seven time zones and a large ocean separate us, technology has allowed us to be friends, co-bloggers, and SQL Family members.

Foreign Key Constraints: Friend or Frenemy?

This month has been wild and crazy for me. I’m still in Louisville, Kentucky after a very successful SQL Saturday yesterday (#286). While I’ve been in Louisville, SQL Server Pro magazine published my first article with them. I talk about all the problems that can be caused if you don’t have Foreign Key Constraints in your database. So grab some coffee and your favorite e-reader and enjoy my article: Foreign Key Constraints: Friend or Frenemy?

Catching Up With Mickey

IMG_0555I can’t believe the year is almost half way through. I keep trying to slow the days down, but it just isn’t working. This year I’ve already accomplished so much, and I still have a long list before the year ends. Here is a recap and some events to look forward too!

January

I started the year off with a bang by starting a brand new Business Intelligence chapter in Irvine called Business Intelligence Group, A PASS Community (AKA BIG PASS Community). We consistently have 15 people every month and I’m really happy to announce that I have speakers lined up for the rest of the year! (Yippee!)

I also had the opportunity to participate in Pragmatic Work’s Training on the T’s. This is a free webinar series they have every Tuesday and Thursday.  I was able to present my Scalable SSRS Reports Achieved Through the Powerful Tablix presentation. You can still go to their website and view it.

I also had the honor of presenting remotely to the LA SQL UG for their 10th anniversary!

February

This month was spent writing abstracts for the year…and still understanding my new user group. I was also being courted for what became my new job. You can read about it here.

March

March was extra special. I had the opportunity to present at the Silicon Valley SQL Saturday. It was extra special, because it marked my 1 year anniversary for speaking in the SQL community. I also had my largest class to date! 97 people! Here was my favorite tweet of the day too. (Thanks Glenn!)

April

This month was full of meetings for our local Huntington Beach SQL Saturday that I helped host at the end of April. It was great having SQL Family come out to my neck of the woods beach.

May

I didn’t speak anywhere this month, but I did spend time every weekend writing. (Actually, I write every month.) I really enjoy participating in the T-SQL Tuesday Blog Parties, writing for myself, and participating in #SQLCoOp with my friends Julie, Chris, and Jeffrey.

June

And here we are in June, where I decided I would do EVERYTHING. I’m writing, speaking, leading, writing, and participating in #SQLHangout. Oh, and I’m getting my first dog. (More on her in a moment.)

My friend Boris Hristov (b|t|f), from Bulgaria, invited me to participate in an “episode” of SQL Hangout. We hung out in our two countries with 10 time zones between us and chatted about data types. You might not think this is an exciting topic, but it is a cornerstone to all databases. We came up with some great reasons why all database professionals should care about the data types of every field in their tables. So grab some popcorn or a glass of whiskey and hang out with us for half an hour.

 

You can find out about up and coming SQL Hangouts by following #SQLHangout on twitter, and you can find the full list of recorded SQL Hangouts here.

This month, I’ve also been blessed with a co-leader for my (now our) BI user group. His name is Rob Hatton, and I’m really happy he asked to lead the group with me.

I also had the opportunity this month to drive out to Riverside to speak with the Inland Empire User Group. This is the third time they’ve had me present, but the first time I’ve actually presented in person. Riverside is not a quick drive from where I live, but my boss, Steven was happy to be a carpool buddy for me. It ended up being a perfect presentation for him to hear, since it was on source controlling your SQL scripts with Red Gates’ SQL Source Control.

Now we get to look into the future…

2014-06-15 22.26.14Well, not to far into the future. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m heading out to Kentucky for a week. One of the events on my vacation will be speaking at SQL Saturday #286, Louisville. I’m really looking forward to the event since I enjoyed it so much last year. My husband and I are also going whiskey tasting with friends, we’ll hopefully be visiting the Corvette factory, and we’ll be picking up this adorable Labradoodle puppy who we’ve named Lucy. She will be 10 weeks old, and I can’t wait to hold her.

Here is a list of other events that I’ll be speaking at this year. You can also go to my 2014 Speaking Engagements page for an updated list through out the rest of the year.

I’ve applied to a few other events, but the accepted speaker lists have not been sent out for those events yet.

I’ll also be attending PASS Summit 2014 in Seattle in Nov this year. I hope to see all of you there.

T-SQL Tuesday #51- Don’t Crap Out While Betting On Table Functions

My good friend Jason Brimhall (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. The party was started by Adam Machanic (b|t) in December of 2009. As a compliment to the upcoming debut of the Las Vegas SQL Saturday, Jason has taken up a betting theme. He wants to know our stories of when we bet it all on a risky solution and won or lost.

Instead of telling you about the past, I want to help you win big at the table today. I really don’t want you to crap out while betting on the wrong table functions.

Snake Eyes

There are two types of table functions Multi-line Table Functions and In-Line Table Functions. There is a huge difference between the two of them.

Multi-line table functions sound great. You write as much code as you need in them and they will return all the data in a table variable. This is where the weighted dice rolls snake eyes every single time. You see, the statistics for a table variable always, always says there is only one row in the table being returned. It doesn’t matter if there are a hundred, a thousand, or a million rows. The statistics will say one. Which means the optimizer has a good chance of loosing when it picks the execution plan for that query.

Let’s Take a Look at the Bets

For my example, I have a simple query that returns 43 rows out of a Tally table. Notice that the index estimates 43 rows will be returned, which is great, because that is exactly on the money!

TSQLTuesday51_1

 

If we put that same query inside of a multi-line table function, we get an estimated number of rows of 1 (snake eyes!).

 

TSQLTuesday51_2

 

TSQLTuesday51_3

 

Double Down

An in-line table function will return the same result set, but there are some limitations on its construction. The entire query within the in-line table function needs to be done in only one statement.

Note: You can get very creative with Common Table Expressions (CTE) if need be.

There are two benefits to using an in-line Table Function. One, is that the Estimated Number of Rows will be accurate (or as accurate as the statistics on the table), and two, the “inside” of the in-line table function is not masked in the Execution Plan. It is plopped right into the middle of the calling query. (Yes, “plopped” is a technical term. )

 

TSQLTuesday51_4

 

TSQLTuesday51_5 

Last Call

SoRemember to double down on in-line table functions and don’t crap out on the snake eyes of the multi-line table function.

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks go out to Jason Brimhall for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. Please visit his website at http://jasonbrimhall.info/, or better yet come to Las Vegas for their SQL Saturday and thank him in person.

Reflections in the 2013 Mirror

2013Reflections-lake2013 was a wild ride. I had set up my goals in December of 2012 and surpassed some of them half way through the year. I hope that I continue reaching my goals in 2014. If I do, it will be another amazing year.

Here are the goals I had and how I measured up.

Being Mentored

I knew I wanted to be mentored, I even wrote a post about it here. I had no idea how valuable it would turn out to be. After I wrote my post, one of my friends convinced me to ask Grant Fritchey (b|t) if he would mentor me. I really like his speaking style and the topics he speaks on. So, I held my breathe, sent him an email, and he said yes. I couldn’t believe it.

We Skyped all through 2013. Our meetings were very valuable for me. You see, like many people, my confidence isn’t that high, but Grant believes in me. He encouraged me to go after my goals. He critiqued my abstracts and even my first speaking event. This was definitely an achieved goal.

Speaking

This goal I blew out of the water. My goal was to speak at 5 events. I picked this number because there are 5 SQL Saturdays in California where I live. I ended up speaking at 15 different events. I exceeded my goal by 300%! Here is the full list of 2013 events and here is a summary of the events:

  • 6 User Group Meetings
  • 5 SQL Saturdays
  • 3 Women in Technology panels (I moderated 2 at SQL Saturday’s I was already attending, so I didn’t count them in the total count)
  • 2 Red Gate events (You can view one of my sessions here.)
  • 1 Conference (Dev Connections)

I’ve already listed the SQL Saturday’s I plan to apply for. The conferences will be added as I’m accepted as well as the user group meetings. Here is the list of 2014 events so far.

Blogging

My blogging goals were only half met. The first part of my goal was to write on my personal blog (this one) at least once a month. Since I like to participate in the T-SQL Tuesday Blog Parties, I knew this was most likely achievable. The other half of my goal was to write once a month for mssqltips.com. I did not reach this goal at all because there just wasn’t enough time. I was only able to submit one tip this year.

For my person blog, I exceeded my expectations. Since this was my first full year having a blog, I compared the first half of the year with the second half of he year. In that time, I doubled my page views. I had 40 posts for the year, 18 of which were in December, 8 of which were for the T-SQl Blog Party, and 1 was an incredibly fun (and funny) story based on the pictures that Pat Wright (b|t) took at PASS Summit.

Here are the 3 posts that had the most hits this year:

Obtaining a New Job

It took six months of carefully identifying exactly what I wanted to do and going through interviews and talking to recruiters, but this past July I finally took a leap into a new job and I’m glad I did. I miss my former colleagues, but I’ve acquired some pretty cool new ones too.

Friends of Red Gate (ForG)

Red Gate has my absolute favorite tools. They also have some amazing people working for them. This year had the privledge of being part of their Friends of Red Gate program. This program conects various proffesionals who are power users of their products with developers and project managers at Red Gate. We get to disucss new features and how to improve existing features. It’s a wonderful program and I think their product is better for having the program.

Unexpected Surprises

Those were my goals for 2013, but I had some surprises along the way that have shaped me this year and are worth mentioning.

Jan 2013 SQL CruiseSQL Cruise

In December of 2012 I won a trip (the registration) on Tim Ford’s (b|t) SQL Cruise from SQL Sentry. The cruise was for a week in the Caribbean. Three wonderful days at sea listening to amazing speakers like Kevin Kline (b|t) and Allen White(b|t). And three wonderful days in port. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and recommend it to ALL of you.

Authoring

Half way through the year, Marlon Ribunal (b|t) approached me and asked if I wanted to help finish the book he was writing on reporting services. I was very honored that he asked me and I said yes. Marlon and I had our book published this past October. It’s called SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Blueprints.

I also had the honor of being included in an ebook by Red Gate called 45 Database Performance tips for Developers. I’m very honored to be included in this endeavor with Grant Fritchey (b|t), Jonathan Allen (aka Father Jack) (b|t), Phil Factor (b|t), K. Brian Kelly (b|t), Ike Ellis (b|t), and Louis Davidson (b|t).

Volunteering

I was so impressed with the first SQL Saturday that I ever attended, that I agreed to help out with two local SQL Saturdays (Huntington Beach and San Diego). Since I enjoyed the planning and running around with my head cut off, I’ve agreed to help out again this next year.

I also help the Women In Technology virtual chapter (WIT). I had the honor of moderating three panels this past year, one of which was at PASS Summit in front of 600+ people. You can view the event here.

One of my most proud moments occurred this month, but it really started in September. (You can read the back story here.) I created an event for Jason Strate (b|t) and Bradley Ball (b|t) so that they could speak in Orange County. I had no idea if one person would show up or 100. QuickStart Intelligence hosted the event and they helped find attendees by calling all of their former students. Between my contacts, QuickStart’s former students, and Jason and Bradley’s reputations I was able to get 48 people sign up and around 30 people attend the event. I also found a sponsor for the pizza so it didn’t cost me or any of the attendee’s a dime. I call that a win!

Nominations

I thought that my 2013 SQL year was at a close once December hit, but I was wrong. Red Gate put out a call for nominations for their new Tribal Awards and I was nominated for Best New Community Voice. I wrote about it here. All that I can say about this one, is that I’m pleasantly surprised and that I’m secretly hoping that Koen from Belgium wins.

2013CheersThank You

I want to thank all of you for reading my posts this year, for the comments that you leave, and for coming back time and time again. Cheers to you!

Where am I going now?

So what does 2014 hold for me? You’ll have to wait for my next post. (Evil grin inserted here.)

Fall Speaking Engagements

A year ago I had no intentions of speaking this year. I didn’t think I was mentally ready for public speaking once again. Boy was I wrong. Not only was I ready, but I’ve become addicted to speaking at various SQL Events. I even found a SQL Saturday to speak at on my family vacation in Louisville, Kentucky. Between September and October I will be speaking at 5 venues and moderating two Women in Technology (WIT) panels. That will be a total of 8 sessions. Here is a bit about each of them.

SQL Saturday #249 takes place in San Diego, CA on Saturday, September 20th. This year, instead of a pre-con the day before , Red Gate will be hosting a half day called SQL in the City Seminar.

Dev Connections takes place in Las Vegas, NV between September 30th and October 4th at Mandalay Bay. I’m very excited about my two brand new presentations.

SQL in the City takes place in three different cities in October. I will be speaking at two of them. I’ll be in Pasadena, CA on October 9th and I’ll be in Charlotte, NC on October 14th the week of the PASS Summit.

PASS Summit takes place in Charlotte, NC between October 15th and 18th. This is the most amazing conference for the SQL community. While I’m not speaking at it this year, I am participating in other ways including being a buddy to a new attendee or two.

SQL Saturday #237 also takes place in Charlotte, NC on Saturday October 19th.

  • This is my last SQL Saturday of the year and it is the “BI Edition”, so I had to do my session, Scalable SSRS Reports Achieved Through the Powerful Tablix.

I’m looking forward to these sessions and to meeting new people as well as reconnecting with my old friends. I hope to find you in my sessions and that you have the time to introduce yourself. I really enjoy meeting new people and sharing the knowledge that I have.

SQL on my friends.

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