Tag Archive for Summit 2013

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.

Once Upon a Time, In A PASS Summit Far Away

Once upon a time, in a PASS Summit far away, there was a princess named Buttercup. When she turned twenty something her father introduced her to SQL Society in grand style. There were many sessions that she had to attend and many parties. Everyone loved her.


One night there was a wonderful party full of singing and dancing. Everyone was having such a swell time.


Princess Buttercup had heard about the party. Her father had forbidden her to go because it was well known that SQL Hippo was known to hang out there. Princess Buttercup didn’t listen to her father though. She set up some Powershell scripts to make it look like she was doing homework and headed out. When she arrived at the party she met three suspicious looking attendees. They were asking her all sorts of database questions.


After a few hours had passed, Tim heard the three attendees talking about princess Buttercup, so he went looking for her. He couldn’t find her anywhere and became concerned. He tried to get everyone’s attention and said, “Hey everyone! Where’s princess Buttercup? Has anyone seen her? Maybe the notorious Oracle gang has made off with her! We should send someone out to find her!”


At that very moment, the notorious Scary DBA himself entered the party. He sauntered over to Tim, looked down at him, and said, “I’ll go search for her!”


And without another word he jumped into his really cool car to head out!


Tim ran after him, and yelled, “WAIT!” you have to get your eyes checked first so that you don’t miss any clues”


So, before the Scary DBA could head out in his really cool car, he stopped to get his eyes checked by Dr. Emmett Brown. He told the Scary DBA, “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… You’re gonna see some serious shit.” Then he put his hand on the Scary DBA’s shoulder and told him, “So if you don’t want to go blind, keep it under 88 miles per hour son.”


The next morning, the Scary DBA headed out looking for clues, and he found some scribbled on the sidewalk. He knew they would lead him to the infamous SQL Gator.

SummitStory2013_-008SummitStory2013_-008 SummitStory2013_-008

EdThe Scary DBA followed the clues to a little bar in UpTown where SQL Gator was known to linger on Sunday nights. He wasn’t disappointed either. In the very back of the bar, he found SQL Gator. With a great big knowing grin on his face, SQL Gator said, “I hear you’ve been looking for GrantPrincess Buttercup.”

The Scary DBA replied, “Why yes I am. Do you know anything? I’m not leaving until you spill the beans.”

SQL Gator chuckled and took a sip of his drink. “Your execution plans might be the fastest in town, but this is my town and you don’t scare me. “ He paused for a moment. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll help you out this once, because I like Princess Buttercup.“ SQL Gator looked behind him to make sure he wasn’t being watched and whispered, “Go see the Quiz Bowl council. They’re overseen by The SQL Agent Man and Dr SQL. Maybe they can point you in the right direction.”

The Scary DBA looked SQL Gator in the eye and said, “You better not be leading me astray, or I’ll sic my parameter sniffing dogs on you.”

The Scary DBA jumped into his really cool car and headed over to the see the council. It took two hours, but he was finally brought before them.


They told him in order to finish his quest, he would have to find the Knights who say Ni.


After many nights of searching, he stumbled upon a great battle and watched with much interest from above. The battle seemed to stand still at times, but finally it came to a gruesome conclusion.


He walked down to the battleground searching for the survivors of the Knights Who Say Ni. The Scary DBA came across seven knights in kilts and asked, “Are you the Knights Who Say Ni?”

Knight one replied, “We are now no longer the Knights who say Ni.” Knight two hastily added, “NI.” The other knights shushed him. Knight one ignored his brethren and in a strong voice announced, “ We are now the Knights who say… “Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG. Zoom-Boing. Z’nourrwringmm.”


The Scary DBA was very confused and started to get frustrated when he was approached by a Jedi Microsoft Certified Master. The Jedi whispered in a haunting voice, “These are not the kilts you are looking for.”


“Look to the east where the SQL Sisters live. They lured princess Buttercup away from the party with promises of chocolate and faster queries.” Then he vanished.


It took some time, but the Scary DBA was able to track down the kidnappers. He cornered them in the community zone and had them arrested.


The Scary DBA was so pleased to see that Princess Buttercup had not been harmed. Princess Buttercup had him kneel before her and she dubbed him Sir Knight of the Red Gate.


That night there was much rejoicing at the return of their beloved princess Buttercup.


The End


No Database Developers were injured in the making of this tale. 99% of the pictures were taken by Pat Wright. Please visit his website for the originals and other great pictures.

PASS Summit 2013 in Summary

PASSFlagMy second PASS Summit concluded a week ago. It was just as amazing as my first, but also completely different. It’s like trying to compare an orange and a mandarin. The differences weren’t just related to the different locations. The differences came with how many people I already knew, even if I only knew them as a twitter friend. Last year I knew less than 10 people at the beginning of the conference. This year I knew over a 100 people personally before the conference started and by the end of the conference I had at the very least doubled that.

Side note: Please don’t be bummed if I don’t list your name below. If I listed everyone I met at Summit, this post would look like the book of Numbers in the Bible (and be just as exciting). I enjoyed my time with everyone, but can only mention a few.
Summit BuddyMelissaAndMickey

My absolute favorite part of PASS Summit is meeting people and networking with them. With 5000 people attending Summit this year and 1400 of which were First Timers, I had ample supply of new people to meet. Last year, I participated in the First Timer’s program as a First-Timer. Joe Fleming (t), my “Summit buddy” really helped me get my bearings before attending the Summit and helped with questions that I had throughout the Summit. I so strongly believe in this program, that I signed up to be a “Summit Buddy” myself this year. I’m so glad that I did, because it let me start networking before I even arrived in Charlotte. I was assigned five First-Timers and immediately started sending them emails on how to prepare for Summit. I also had them send a bit of information to our little first-timers team including a picture so that we would be able to recognize each other all week. Along the way, I even picked up two others.

I did find it difficult for us to coordinate meeting each other as a group though. Mostly due to my various volunteer duties and meetings that were during the prime time to meet. While the whole group couldn’t meet, I did run into half my group throughout the week, and was able to hang out with David Maxwell (b|t) and Melissa Chen at various events. Melissa even shared with me that she loved the emails I sent her so she shared them with her team at work who were attending Summit, but didn’t have a “Summit Buddy”. (Loved that!)

Side note: I do think we need a different name than Summit Buddy. I think Summit Mentor, or SQL Big Sister and SQL Big Brother sound a bit better.
SushiNightExisting Relationships

PASS Summit is a wonderful place to spend more time with SQL Family. The downside is there is not enough time to spend quality time with EVERYONE. So, I decided before Summit that since there was no way I can see and talk to everyone, that I would try my best and leave it at that.

This year I really enjoyed meeting all my Twitter friends. You know, the ones you have been talking to for months, but have no idea what their real names are and half the time you don’t even know what they look like because they have a coffee cup for a “mug shot”… Speaking of Father Jack (b|t), I really enjoyed getting to hang out with him all week with all of our Australian friends. It’s funny how some “in person” time can alter a relationship and make it more meaningful. I also enjoyed spending time with Richie Rump (b|t) and tweeting with him during the Keynote speeches on the first day.
This year I found myself hanging out more with my international SQL Family members, than I did last year. I shared many meals and drinks and had wonderful conversations with Julie Koesmarno (b|t), Martin Cairney (t), Father Jack (b|t), Rob Farley (b|t), Scott Stauffer (b|t), and Mladen Prajdic (b|t) . I miss them all terribly. I also enjoyed my time with Maria Zakourdaev (b|t) from Isreal. I remembered having breakfast with her last year on Friday morning and she was so quiet. This year it was like watching a flower bloom. I can’t wait to see her again next year.


One of MANY favorite memories in Charlotte was getting to spend some time with my mentor Grant Fritchey (b|t). We rarely get to see each other since we have three time zones between us and are usually with a large crowd of people when we are at the same event. I enjoyed having dinner with him and a few friends Monday night after SQL in the City, getting to say “hi” here and there all week, and finally getting a whole, uninterrupted hour of his time on Friday for us to talk shop.

New Relationships

I don’t want you to think I spent the whole week just hanging out with people I knew. I purposefully found people I didn’t know and introduced myself. I now have many new friends on my SQL Family list. Here are some of the highlights.

· I was introduced to Paul White (b|t) and had the pleasure of talking to him about SQL Sentry Plan Explorer.

· Someone introduced me to Ola Hallengren (b). We enjoyed a couple of different conversation, but our first conversation was at a Karaoke bar and it was about the song Mickey by Toni Basil which was also sung by Swedish popular music singer Carola Häggkvist. (Tim, put that in the Quizbowl next year!)


· I actually met Bradley Ball (b|t) and Ben DeBow (t) two weeks before Summit. All three of us presented at Dev Connections in Las Vegas with several other amazing speakers, but at Summit I got to attend both of their sessions and spend some extra time getting to know them.

· I also enjoyed several great conversations with JK Wood (b|t), Jamey Johnston (t), and Wayne Sheffield (b|t) just to name a few of the amazing people I met.


I will admit, I was bummed we were going to be in Charlotte this year, but looking back, I’m glad we were there. I still miss Seattle and can’t wait to go back next year, but there were some great advantages to Charlotte. It was easy to find dinner fairly close to the evening events and I only needed a taxi on one night. The down side was the places to eat were more expensive, and their scotch selection was dismal… Except at The Black Finnthey have Oban (pronounced “Oh-bin”).

I did absolutely love the two places I went to for SQL Karaoke, especially since they had room to dance. I even danced with my good friend, and fellow SQL Cruiser Neil Hambry (b|t).

Getting InvolvedJulieAndMickeyMentors

You may have noticed that I’m an extrovert and I doesn’t sit still. This year I was asked by Tim Ford (b|t), to be on a team with Julie Koesmarno (b|t) in the Quizbowl. We paired up with Mike Donnelly (b|t). We had such a great time, even when we were down by -1700 points and Tim put me on a time out for answering a question (very) badly. The good news is, we bounced back laughing all way and ended up coming in second place which won Mike a gift card.

I also enjoyed being a Summit Buddy, which I wrote about above. I plan on doing that again next year.

I didn’t stop there either, I volunteered in the Community Zone on Friday which I think was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I wish I could hang out there all day! The community zone is a great place to hang out while you charge your electrical devices. It’s set up to encourage talking. Anything from find out where the closest User Group is in your area for engaging with Andy Warren (b|t) about mentoring programs. I even participated in a Star Wars Flash Mob at the Community Zone.

PASS_Summit_2013_WIT-1But the cherry on top of my volunteering at Summit, was moderating the Women in Technology (WIT) panel. Our WIT Virtual chapter spent months preparing for the luncheon which hosted over 750 attendees. This was all possible due to our sponsor SQLSentry. (Thank you!) The topic was Beyond Stereotypes: Equality, Gender Neutrality, and Valuing Team Diversity. This topic is near to my heart since I’ve been excluded for various reasons throughout my career and even in my childhood. The panel discussion was streamed on PASStv so there is a 60 minute recording that you can watch here. I truly enjoyed moderating the panel and hope that they will let me do it again next year.


I did actually attend sessions, and I enjoyed all of them. My favorite one was Skewed Data, Poor Cardinality Estimates, and Plans Gone Bad by Kimberly Tripp (b|t) whom I admit to now having a Geek Crush on. She spoke on my favorite topic and I can’t wait to listen to it again here.

I took both of Jes Borland’s (b|t) classes. I took Index Methods You’re Not Using to validate what I already knew about indexes and I’m glad I did, because I learned a few new things.

I also took a class that was out of my comfort zone. Data Internals Deep Dive was given by my friend Bradley Ball (b|t), who incidentally is a great speaker and I am in total awe of his knowledge. I learned about extents and I watched him teach us how to decode Hex and binary data. I found the session quite fascinating.

Thanks for All the FishJulieAndMickeyFriday

I do want to take this time to thank all the volunteers, speakers, and sponsors that help make PASS Summit educational, fun, affordable, and just plain awesome. I also want to thank my SQL Sister, Julie Koesmarno for being an awesome roomie and friend.

Side note: I’ve been going through Summit withdrawals all week and am eager to attend all the SQL Saturdays I can to feed my SQL Family addiction until next year’s PASS Summit.

Prelude To My PASS Summit Summary

Captain’s Log, day one (beep, beep). I have landed on a strange planet. Scotch is
not served with the evening meals and singing out loud is forbidden by the young
red-head who keeps calling me “mom”. No one seems to speak our home
language of SQL, so I must translate my stories from the PASS Summit mother
ship. I have been informed that tomorrow I am supposed to operate a machine
called a “car”. I am to take to take another young female (who looks just like me)
to her school and then proceed to a place called “my job”. I hope they speak SQL

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