June 5, 2009 at 7:32 am (Misc, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , )

I’m a bit of an old school geek, I prefer stone knives & bear skins…

“So You’re On A Deserted Island With WiFi and you’re still on the clock at work.  Okay, so not a very good situational exercise here, but let’s roll with it; we’ll call it a virtual deserted island.  Perhaps what I should simply ask is if you had a month without any walk-up work, no projects due, no performance issues that require you to devote time from anything other than a wishlist of items you’ve been wanting to get accomplished at work but keep getting pulled away from I ask this question: what would be the top items that would get your attention?”

 Brent Ozar has passed me this interesting little question, and called me a noob (even though it’s true, you get no hug in Seattle, Brent). He thought I’d disagree with his thoughts on BI. I don’t. Not at all. I suspect, strongly, that if a few more of us could take six months, really drill down on BI, understand it, breathe it and learn to properly and efficiently apply it, there’d be a bit of a revolution in business profits.

BUT… I am, first and foremost, a geek. While I can, and do, recognize, and acknowledge, Brent’s superior reasoning here… I don’t want to learn BI (I don’t want to go on the cart). I find it kind of dull and not “shiny toy” geeky enough to entice me to six months of extended diving. Plus, I’m a pretty awful salesman. So even if I had the goose that laid the golden egg, I suspect I wouldn’t be able to convince anyone of its value.

So, instead, I think I’ll spend my virtual six months expanding my skill set in a different direction. I’d like to delve back into the dark side of IT, you know, development. The area that seems to be particularly exciting these days is SharePoint. Learning all those funky ways of data storage, integration, work flow… Yeah, I think there’s room for growth and quite a lot of potential for long term gainful employment down that track. You’ll have to be good at old fashioned relational data storage, but you’ll also need to be capable with .NET programming and have a full understanding of business processes. It’s not going to deliver profits the way BI will, but it’s going to have a pretty high gee-wiz factor amongst the business types when you show how you can pass documents and processes from one part of the company to the next through a single app, with a common reporting point for the data & meta-data running the business. I know that the potential of it has quite a few managers & VP’s, my seniors, all very excited. Plus, the cross-discipline nature of the endeavor means that a real guru, which after six months of non-stop learning, I’m assuming I could imitate, would be able to write their ticket within a company.

Now that’s wishing. Let’s reset to something closer to reality and just take this from the point of view of my current job. Yeah, Brent, I’d spend time getting much cozier with PowerShell. I recognize a lot of untapped potential there from two points of view. There are a number of ways it could help with management of the servers across the enterprise. It’s also very much integrated into Operations Manager, which means you could set up some pretty sophisticated monitoring processes to really keep a proactive eye on the servers. I’m trying to pick up PowerShell in little 15 minute spurts here & there between all the other day-to-day tasks including learning how to work with spatial data & tune Dynamics CRM databases… it ain’t easy. Some time with nothing to do but focus on PowerShell would enable me to do more to work within my environment  for real improvements in the short- and long-term.

Who to pass this to?

I’m going to shotgun a bit. First, someone I pick on a lot with these things, Gail Shaw, the GilaMonster.
Next, let’s see what Tim Mitchell has in the Bucket.
Finally, I’ve actually thought about moving to Utah because I like this guy, TJay Belt.


  1. brento said,

    Deal. You do the SharePoint front end, and I’ll do the data mining.

  2. sqlagentman said,

    Wow, when I started Project Coconut I never thought I’d see the spectre of BI and Development rear its ugly nob. Guess I was wrong.

  3. Here on Gilligan’s Isle! | StatisticsIO | SQL Server Blog said,

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    […] was tagged by Scary DBA and recent MVP awardee Grant Fritchey with the latest viral […]

  5. Gail said,

  6. On an Island with no Umbrella Drinks? « Chris Shaw’s Weblog said,

    […] an Island with no Umbrella Drinks? 2009 June 23 by chrisshaw I was tagged by Tjay for this latest viral quiz. I am not sure where this one started but what the heck, it’s the […]

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