Archive

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Are You Wasting Energy?

Teamsuccess.jpgOften times we as leaders within our respective shops tend to waste our time focusing on the wrong things. Think about that for a moment and think about the team that you are on or that you are leading. I’ve seen it happen among some very talented teams where we (yes I include myself in this) are not tapping into the expertise of our teams bringing for the most potential out of each team member.

Over the course of time I’ve come across some things that have helped me in a leadership role that may help some other data professionals out there who are starting out or maybe even a season vet.

Want Results?

  • Eliminate those distractions – you have to define out what matters most. What are you or the team doing that may prevent you from focusing on the real tasks at hand.
  • Get Real – face it; there will be times when those awkward conversations are needed. Hold each other accountable if you are on a team, and if you are a lone DBA which some of my friends out there are then build a base in the community of trusted advisors. Bounce some ideas off them.
  • Point out what is not working – this may seem simple enough, but believe me it’s not always that easy to overcome it. Constantly review processes and procedures to make sure you are thriving forward; not drifting backward.
  • Set some goals – do this with your team, individuals, or yourself – put the emphasis on with.

Change is hard; change is never easy. That’s where coaching comes in; you have to stick with it. Trust me; if it were easy then everyone would be doing it.

What Are Some Ways To Define Success?

  • Respect and leverage – I’ve personally found that when teams respect each other and can strategically leverage each persons talents then watch out. You are about to witness something special take place.
  • Management has focus – as I typed this I had to take a moment and reflect on the team I’m blessed to lead. I’m I positively focused on leading the group – I do believe I have their best interest but that doesn’t mean “we” won’t make mistakes. I include we, cause dear reader, you may be in this category with me.
  • Does your team matter – your colleagues and teammates; the ones you get in the trenches with on a daily basis should feel like they matter.
  • Ability to be innovative – one of the key success points I’ve experienced is turning a team loose and just say, “be innovative”. End of day I got your back, and guess what you will fail. Let me repeat myself; you will fail. However, if you are not being innovative or your team or colleagues are scared to try anything new from fear of backlash then are you truly pushing forward?
  • Good enough isn’t really good enough – a saying that has stuck with me my whole life is a simple one. Somewhere someone is practicing getting better, and when you meet that person one on one will you rise to the challenge. It is okay to set the bar high and it is also okay to keep working hard toward and end goal. On the flip side to that it is also okay to learn from your mistakes and let that be the fuel to the fire to keep getting after it.

Summary

I challenge you to embrace your aspirations today. If you lead a team of data professionals then take a long hard look at how you are leading your group. Let innovation; collaboration, and engagement with others turn into respect, leveraging talent, and building on success. If we are bragging or dwelling on the past; then that may mean we are not doing enough in the present.

How’s that fuel in the fire; are you passionate about succeeding? These are just some thoughts in my own mind that I’ve jotted down over the years that may help you along your journey as a data professional. Time to get after it and make it happen ~ BE THE CHANGE.

The Pen Cap

This post is for all you up and coming data professionals out there. Over the course of the last week we had a T-SQL Tuesday block party which I missed. The beginning of the year is a very hectic time at the shop; doesn’t negate the fact that I should have taken time to get posts out on the topic. With that said you will find at the bottom of this post what T-SQL Tuesday is and how to get involved with it moving forward.

PenCapSo, the pen cap ordeal….what is it and why?

I gave this talk to the Louisville SQL and Power BI User Group a few years back, and got some amazed looks. Looking back, it actually is quite comical in a sense of what not to do. Dating myself a bit we would have to go to the year 2000-2001; back when I had hair on the dome and thinking I could take on the world. I was green as green can be right out of college and I was being shown around the building and my new digs on where development gold was about to take place – – that’s right I was a developer in my former life.

As on any first day at a new job you meet a lot of people. I remember like it was yesterday; walking around the various floors and coming back down to the development area. The person showing me around was someone I had known from my past so it was a comfortable setting. We get to “dev row” as we called it; just a myriad of cubes in a straight line – in getting to this one cube no one is present. Now, you have to remember – I was straight out of college, but I did have a sense regarding security and also things that one should and should not do. Chalk some of that up to common sense (although most people today will debate if I have any!).

Looking in at this cube picture an old school monitor, keyboard, mouse and a pen cap. That’s right a pen cap – oh no my friend. This pen cap was not just any ordinary pen cap. It was stuck in the keyboard with the stem holding down the enter key. Odd you say, yeah I thought so as well. Moving on; we would come back too meet this genius of a person later on.

Getting back to my own cube and sitting there that darn pen cap kept coming back to my mind. I couldn’t shake it; couldn’t let it go. Time passed and I went back over to the person’s desk to introduce myself. I was the newbie on the block, but not shy (shocking I know <insert sarcasm>). The conversation went something similar to this:

Me: Hello, my name is Chris Yates and just started today. You were out earlier when we came by so I just wanted to drop by and introduce myself.

Them: Hello, my name is (we shall protect the non innocent and go with Richard).

Me: Noticed you had a pen cap in your keyboard earlier; curiosity has got the better of me.

Them: Oh, that – yeah I left a message box in the code that imports data into the system. I just put a pen cap on the enter key to keep hitting ok until it got to the end.

Now, even back then as a young kid I knew that didn’t smell right. Come to find out that import was being loaded into production because well why not. The enter key being held down for so long kicked off the job again, and to add insult to injury the import did not check for any duplicates. Was a good lesson of what not to do.

Summing Up

To this day I do not use a pen that has a cap on it – No thank you.

  • If you ever see a pen cap stuck in a key board by all means question it Winking smile
  • Do not test directly into production
  • Do not leave your computer unattended at your desk without it being locked
  • If you see me out and try to get me to use a pen with a cap; well that’s why I carry my own pen.

…and the list could go on. Remember, use your head and if you are questioning if something is right chances are you need to visit more into it.

T-SQL Tuesday Plug

I know I missed the party this past week, but I still want to share with you what T-SQL Tuesday is. T-SQL Tuesday is a blog party that SQL Server expert Adam Machanic (blog|Twitter) started. Each month different community members from around the globe host a topic and other community members and fellow bloggers get to write about what they want to share. To find out more check out Adam’s blog mentioned above. It’s a great way to get your blogging juices flowing and get to know and learn from other community members.

Categories: Uncategorized

Looking Back At 2016

lookingback2016When this blog started back in 2011 I had no idea that it would continue to grow to where it has gotten to today. There have been many learning curves along the way – some fun and some not so fun, but that is part of the journey.

Each year since inception this blog has steadily gained steam in terms of increased traffic each year ; so I am thankful for that. The SQL Professor was not started for that sole purpose though. Rather it was a place to keep my thoughts regarding issues, ideas I have or have ran across over a period of time, and to write about happenings in my own professional career. Getting feedback from, you the reader, is an added bonus. Receiving both good and bad comments and discussions is an integral piece in helping this blog to continue to morph and grow – a living document if you will.

I’m reminded often that while producing good content is key; it is also key to write about what you love and enjoy doing. SQL has been a big part of my professional career and I look forward to creating additional blog posts in that area. Another area that I’ve come to have a strong passion for is leadership. In 2017 I plan on perhaps producing a series on leadership and how it pertains to one’s career.

Looking Back

Nope; not doing that. While 2016 was a great ride professionally I want to set sights on 2017 and continue to hopefully make an impact.

Looking Ahead

In looking ahead there are several things on tap for 2017. Some of them are:

  • Continue to grow the User Group base here locally.
  • Continue to help and grow the SQL Saturday event here locally.
  • Expand speaking opportunities where it makes sense.
  • Continue to help as much as I can with the HA/DR virtual chapter.
  • Dive further into PASS and continue to help the organization that I’ve come to be strongly passionate about.
  • Continue to lead and build a strong DBA team here in the current shop (very talented individuals. Extremely blessed to have an outstanding team).
  • Build on leadership qualities.
  • Continue to do the best work I can for the SQL community.
  • Continue to build on new and existing relationships within the SQL community.

Expectations

Something that I’ve learned long ago is that we can’t make everyone happy regardless of how hard we try. Mistakes will happen, and events will occur – that is part of the journey. I said the other day that 2016 slapped me in the face on various fronts, but I’m still standing. While it is important to reflect on what lessons were learned in 2016; I also want to encourage you to look forward to 2017. Change, if you want it, starts from within. Will you take the first steps? Break out of your comfort zone and explore new heights.

Here is to a solid end of 2016, and to new beginnings/adventures in 2017 ~ Cheers.

Categories: Leadership, Uncategorized Tags:

A Data Professional’s Story – PASS Summit 2016

2 Nov 2016 2 comments

This year is different. Why? I’m not sure yet. There is a lot of reflection going on since my return from PASS Summit 2016. As I look at the long laundry list of “to do’s” to get completed in the office; this past PASS Summit reminded me to slow down and take a minute to breathe – to take it in so to speak.

The recap post you are about to read will be a bit different from my past ones; gone is the synchronous order of how each day went. Instead, this post will be more relaxed and share view points through my eyes on how I went through the conference in which I’ve come to have a strong passion for.

The Story

As you first come into Seattle it is very difficult not to see a lot of its natural beauty. It never ceases to amaze me when the plane flies past Mt. Rainier and the breath-taking views that it holds. I often wonder to myself what it must be like to be near something on such a grand scale. I remember back to my first PASS Summit when I would be in such a hurry to get to where I was going; I took things like this for grantednot anymore.

file

One thing I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy is noticing all the “first timer” ribbons. The look of excitement and overwhelming elation of knowledge that has been received all over their faces speaks volumes. If you are ever walking around and notice someone with this ribbon on please take a moment and see how their day is going; offer them some encouragement if needed. I was once in their shoes and I remember how I felt at my first conference.

img_20161026_103752

This year I had the pleasure of speaking at  SentryOne’s Boot Camp.  One thing is for certain; this shop knows their stuff and have a stellar crew in place to bring excellent products to the community. Some colleagues of mine (Monica Rathbun (b|t), John Morehouse (b|t), and Chris Wood (t) in the community shared how SentryOne has helped in our respective shops and businesses. I spend a lot of time in slide decks for my current work and this was no different; I had some slides made up and was planning on talking from the slide deck, but as I got up on stage I had a “change of heart moment”. I wanted to divert attention away from the slides and just have a heartfelt conversation with the attendees on what I felt was important. After initiating the “wave” in the crowd (yes folks Kevin Kline (b|t) was involved) we had a good talk and I was happy to be a part of it. Some better terms in being a part of the boot camp are thankful and blessed.

img_20161025_092017_01

The keynotes were nothing short of amazing. For the second year in a row I had the privilege of live blogging. It’s always fun to provide data professionals who are not able to attend an avenue to get the information from the conference. I did get a kick out of sitting next to Rob Farley (b|t). We’ve become friends over the years and always look forward to seeing him; not sure how he gets hand delivered coffee while live blogging, but then again – – it is Rob Farley.

img_20161026_093230

Speaking of friendships; a good friend reached out to me earlier in the week letting me know he’d be near by. After some going back and forth on timing I felt it was important to leave the conference and share some time with him. Tom Roush (b|t) has been an inspiration to many and he allowed me into his life a little bit that day. It was the first time I got to meet his wife Cindy in person; together all 3 of us were able to share a cup of coffee and just talk for about 30 minutes. This, to me, is what PASS is all about. I would have never had the opportunity to meet Tom several years ago had it not been for PASS and the mentality of Share, Connect, Learn. The PASS Summit is much more than just a technical conference; it is a people conference. It is a place where friendships are made, ideas our bounced off of each other, and a place to grow. Tom, here is to you buddy ~ cheers!

img_20161031_124917

Sponsors are huge at events like these; wouldn’t be able to put on a good show without them. As I walked through the vendor area my mind began to wonder just how many people each of these vendors have reached. If you look past all the swag and fluff you’ll find that these vendors are doing some phenomenal things for the community. I’ve already mentioned SentryOne above, but another one that has had a huge impact on me personally is RedGate. Yes, I am a Friend of RedGate and yes I utilize their products at the shop – one thing that stands out to me is their strong passion for the community in which they serve and have built a business for. I cannot go through and name every vendor, but from me to every one of you ~ I thank you.

img_20161026_145201

The conversations had this year were amazing. You’ll find these happening in one off’s all over the convention center, restaurants, hotel lobbies, etc. I’ve never been to a PASS Summit where I haven’t had a conversation that has either helped or inspired me. Mike Fal (b|t), Mike Walsh (b|t), Warwick Rudd (b|t), Wendy Pastrick (b|t), Tom Larock (b|t), TJ Belt (b|t), Tim Ford (b|t), and Steve Jones (b|t) had a huge impact on me this year. It’s humbling when individuals take time out of their day and just pull up a chair and talk. Investing in others is key; I’ve had a lot of people invest time in me; what am I going to do now? It’s time to invest in others the same way and build up another generation of data professionals.

img_20161026_074256

One aspect of the conference I was extremely pleased to help with was Steve Jones and Andy Warren’s idea for a networking dinner. I had spoken briefly to Steve prior the meetup as he was needing some hands to help. It was after the sessions had ended and we were to congregate in the lobby at the convention center. I didn’t know what all to expect; just knew that help was needed. What unfolded next was pretty amazing…..seeing people from all around coming up to talk about their interests and have the ability to meet new people. Saw a lot of “first timers” again and getting them paired up with 4-6 people in a group was something to behold. The event itself was very successful and hopefully if one person was reached or changed then it was all worth it. Nothing but respect for Steve and Andy, would gladly go into battle with either of them any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

img_20161028_205927_01

This year had a twist for me in that I was invited to eat lunch with Rimma Nehme, Mark Souza, and Mitra Azizirad from Microsoft. This opportunity, along with five other data professionals, was nothing short of amazing. A casual conversation over a myriad of topics on how we as data professionals relate to Microsoft at our respective shops. I could see quickly that we were in the midst of some great minds, and trying to be a sponge is an understatement.

img_20161026_165749

Another highlight was getting to see, as I was live blogging, Malathi Mahadevan (b|t) receive the PASSion Award for 2016. I’m a product of the hard work she has put in over the years. Her tenure has spanned a decade now here in the Louisville, or as we call the ‘ville. It has only been a few years since we have crossed paths; little did she know when she started down this path for SQL Community how big of an impact she would have. It’s an honor to serve along side her and a testament to what hard work can do; sticking with something through both good and hard times. Job well done and well deserved. You can read her blog on the award here.

mala

 

We were able to meet and send Karla Landrum (t) off with appreciation in the community zone. For those of you who don’t know Karla she has been a steadfast presence in PASS as a Community Evangelist. She has gone above and beyond in her tenure and from the many people who stopped by to wish her well it is obvious she has hugely impacted a lot of data professionals. No, this won’t be the last we hear from her, but here it to a job well done ~ cheers

img_20161027_133646

As the halls are emptied and we close up another successful PASS Summit I can only hope that the future remains bright. It is my understanding that we had a record crowd on hand this year; may we continue to build on what has been started. If I may leave one thought with you I will leave this (again my viewpoint and opinion). At the very core of what we do day in and day out as data professionals we find data and people. People make up the PASS Community, people make up the shops you are in, and yes it is people that make an impact on one another. I personally, am blessed to have been one of the ones impacted. May we continue to give back in avenues that we can whether it’s volunteering, speaking, organizing, mentoring – – whatever the case may be. This community; this is our community

Thank you to all the PASS volunteers, staff, sponsors, speakers, convention help, caterers, attendees, etc. It takes all of us to make the wheel go round…..until next year.

Be an impact player ~ let’s roll

img_20161025_074208

 

PASS Summit Live Keynote – Release 5

pass_2016_website

Julie Koesmarno, Senior Project Manager at Microsoft, takes the stage to talk about business analytics utilizing War and Peace.

Tracing emotions of each key characters via a heat map…..pretty cool to see application of SQL Light language.

Cognitive capabilities managed with big data……


Deep learning is everywhere; this means that SQL Server 2016 falls into that category. Seeing a demo on drone functionality and feeling the pulse of the power grid


Jen Stirrup (Data “Whisperer”) takes the stage and talks Pokemon…..yes folks Pokemon but there is more than that.

Utilizing Power BI for the activity for each Pokemon sprinkled in with some “R”. The data itself is stored in the Azure SQL Database with utilizing the Azure Services.

 

 

PASS Summit Live Keynote – Release 4

pass_2016_website

Document DB: Blazing fast planet-scale NoSQL:

  • Guaranteed Low Latency
  • Elastically Scaling Storage
  • Elastically Scaling Throughput
  • No Impedance Mismatch
  • Choice of Consistency
  • Enterprise Level SLA

Azure + DocumentDB with leading game technology. A game and TV show integration of Walking Dead that brings exclusive clip content into the game using Azure media services.

15 million installs

120 GB of new data each day

11,500 DocumentDB requests per second

43 million Walkers eliminated each day

1.9 million matches made each day utilizing DocumentDB

1 million guilds

10 million chat messages per day

250 million leader board entries


Integral Analytics Scott Smith VP of Product has come on stage that discusses how data science and software company that provides core operational, planning, and valuation applications for utilities and other participants in the electric-energy industry.

Visualization of data that is important being able to keep lights and data centers running with giving respect to the electric grid – – all using the Azure Data Warehouse capabilities.

Electric Grid: from 100K to 500M records per 1M customers a day in the past 5 years

PASS Summit Live Keynote -Release 2

pass_2016_website

Rohan Kumar, General Manager of Microsoft, takes the stage hyping up SQL Server 2016. We keep hearing the word “Sharing” among databases.

Intelligent Database:

  1. In-Memory Analytics
  2. In-Memory OLTP

Wow, 100X faster analytics + 30x faster transactions

Azure SQL database is the first in the world to support HTAP technology

Two worlds coming together – industry leading in-memory enhancements with built-in advanced analytics with R

One million transactions per second using SQL 2016 – that’s right….you heard that.

R services integration into SQL 2016 – is pretty powerful

 

Categories: PASS Summit, Uncategorized Tags:
%d bloggers like this: