July 21, 2009 at 7:16 am (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , , )

Do you know how to start a conversation or how to join one? I usually wait for a pause and then blurt out whatever point I thought was missed, missing, or insufficiently covered. In other words, don’t come to me for advice. The fact of the matter is, while the legend of misanthropic, barely washed, hardly lucid, but frighteningly competent IT personnel is alive and strong, in reality, we need to speak to each other, our peers, and worse yet, the business people. Developing social skills is a must. Further, with the economy being what it is (and looks to be for some time to come) you probably need to put those social skills to work building up a network, people you can help and, hopefully never needed, can help you.

If you can’t get that kind of information from the Scary DBA (although why suggesting beating someone with a stout stick until they give up the full set of requirements is a bad plan doesn’t make much sense to me), then where should you go?

I am so glad you asked that question (yes, you asked it, or should I get the bigger stick). At the PASS Summit this year (and you’re going right?) a special pre-conference meeting will be taking place. Andy Warren is responsible for putting it together. He’s been working on his own communication & networking skills and blogging about them regularly. They guy he’s been working with, Don Gabor, will be hosting a special two-hour session, right before the opening night party, on improving your communication skills, specifically around conversations, starting them, working the room, etc. He says he can teach you to remember names, a particular weakness of mine. I usually just refer to people as “that admin guy”, “that developer, you know, the one with the weak SQL skills” or “the business guy who won’t give us all the requirements.” Actually I remember his name, it’s Pell. But I digress.

I’m pretty excited to be taking part in this session. If you’re attending the conference, which we’ve already established that you’re going to, you might want to try this session out too. It sure can’t hurt (unless you get teamed up with me) and it will probably help.

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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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February 19, 2009 at 8:36 am (Misc, PASS) (, , , , )

Andy Warren has just posted the last entry in a very interesting set of posts about building and working your own network. I think they’re all worth a read, especially if you’ve been thinking about blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn or just volunteering at your local users group.

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