The SQL Server Community

April 14, 2010 at 8:53 am (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , )

I attended, and spoke at, the inaugural meeting of the Seacoast SQL Server User’s group last night. There were about 60 people in attendance. An excellent turn-out and congratulations go out to Mike Walsh (blog | twitter) and the other organizers.

I was curious about something after watching Mike present the PASS monthly slide-deck. He asked how many people were PASS members. Approximately a third of the audience raised their hands. When it was my turn to speak, I asked how many people had heard of Buck Woody (blog | twitter). I was honestly shocked when only about 6 people raised their hands. Then I asked how many had heard of Paul Randal (blog | twitter). This time I had about 9-12 people. Finally, I asked about Brent Ozar (blog | twitter) and only had about 4-6 people raise their hands.

Today I was reading the minutes from the PASS Board meeting from March. Oh, as an aside, well done, thank you, and hearty congratulations to the board for performing this act of openness. In it, they were talking about, what else, the SQL Server Community.

It got me thinking. When I say “community” in referring to the people that use SQL Server, a lot of the times, I’m talking about the vocal and visible people, the PASS board, Brent Ozar, Buck Woody, Paul Randal, Denny Cherry (blog | twitter), I can keep going, all the bloggers I read, all the tweeters/twitterers/whatever that I follow, all the posters at SQL Server Central (especially those on The Thread) and at Ask.SQLServerCentral.com… You get the point. Even with that little list there, I’m leaving out people that I like and admire and learn from. But you know what, most of those people, know who Buck Woody is. Most of those people know who Paul Randal is. Yeah, most of them even know who Brent Ozar is (probably). But, based on my completely un-scientific survey, that’s only about 10-15% of all the SQL Server users out there, at the most 20%.

On the one hand, you can say, “Oh crud. We’re only hitting 10-15% of the users despite busting our behinds writing blog posts, tweeting, answering questions on forums, presenting at user groups, SQL Saturday events, PASS Summits, Connections. I might as well get a case of botulism.” And it could be disheartening. On the other hand, you could say, “Holy crud, we can grow this community three or four times and still not even be hitting half of all the SQL Server users out there. Oh boy, I’m going to blog more, tweet more, write more books…” because our growth potential is HUGE!

So, to the board of PASS I say, again, thanks for posting the minutes, and thank you for your hard work. You guys have fantastic opportunities in front of you. Good luck. To all the bloggers, tweeters, posters, presenters & authors, and my friends that fit many or all those categories, what are you doing right now? We’ve got a market to penetrate. Stop lolly-gagging and get to work.

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Community

March 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm (PASS, SNESSUG, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , , , )

I’m always impressed and amazed with what happens in the SQL Server community. If you need help, there almost always seems to be a willing and able hand that reaches down to pull you up. It happens again and again, all around. I take part in SQL Server Central, one of the best, and biggest, communities out there for SQL Server. The people that pitch in every day are some of the nicest you’re ever going to meet, but they’re also extremely well informed. I regularly benefit from people swinging by this blog to offer suggestions or solutions or improvements to my ramblings. I’ve been making friends and developing contacts at the PASS Summit for the last four years and at my local user’s group for the last two.  I’ve also been using Twitter for some entertainment, chat, and the occasional question or answer regarding SQL Server. You can get involved with Twitter by looking at the list of active DBA’s over at SQLServerPedia.

The reason I’m talking about all this? I’m trying to implement spatial data in SQL Server 2008. I’ve played with it a bit, but now I’m really drilling down for the first time. I have a vendor that’s supply our company with some geospatial information and we need to import it automatically into the database. The format I had was .GML. After searching through the internet, several times, several ways, to try to find whatever methods for loading .GML files had already been worked out, I came up empty handed. Apparently no one does this much. So, in addition to trying to refine or broaden my search to land more pertinent data, I sent out a question on Twitter. I recieved a response very shortly, pointing me to a resource. I sent him a message and I received enough information back to get over the hump I was in. Easy-Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Not only did I have more information than previously, but I had another contact that I hope I can return the favor and help out someday.

Another triumph for networking, communication and community. This stuff works.

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Community Building

April 28, 2008 at 12:21 pm (SNESSUG) (, , , )

Building a community is hard. I’m one of the leaders of the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group, SNESSUG, a PASS affiliate. We’ve been going for just over a year. We were launched by the drive and initiative of one person, who got us going and then had to leave. We’ve been on our own for about four months now. It’s been difficult without the drive of the founder, but we’re getting the job done & moving things forward. Andy Leanard, MVP, Solid Quality Mentor, nice guy (for a DBA), has a series of posts that, while short, are very helpful guide-posts for those attempting to start a community or keep one running (read them bottom to top). If you’re in that position or thinking about volunteering at your local community group (and if you haven’t volunteered, do it, they need the help), this is worth a read (or two).

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