For my next interview, I am going to a person whom I do not know all that well, but have seen his name many times. Laerte Junior Poltronieri (@LaerteSQLDBA) is a very active tweeter, with over forty four thousand tweets to his name. His blog: http://shellyourexperience.com/, focuses heavily on one of my least favorite SQL Server topics, PowerShell and it is in Portuguese. If, like me, you don't speak Portuguese, you can use Bing Translator here to check out his blog.
Laerte has quite a few articles on SimpleTalk, and is a contributor to the SQL Server PowerShell Extensions, a project you can find here on Codeplex, which (without knowing anything about PowerShell myself,) looks quite interesting. He is also a Senior Powershell Expert Consultant for a very cool organization Confio. Oh yeah, and he is also a SQLPASS Regional Mentor. Quite a writing resume...
1. There was a point in time when you didn't have a blog, didn't tweet, and had no public presence whatsoever. And then, one day, you made the decision to put yourself out there. What prompted you to get started writing, and what was the first public work you produced?
I always enjoyed reading technical articles and SQL Server was a passion at first time, in version 6.5. My First book was internals 7.0 ( from Kalen Delaney) and then from 2000 (also from Kalen). When the internet became a reality and blogs began to appear, I read a lot about SQL Server. I can say I grew up in SQL Server reading Buck Woody, Kalen Delaney, Kevin Kline, Bob Beauchemin, Steve Jones, Grant Fritchey, Allen White, Thomas La Rock, Robert Davis, Christian Bolton, Simon Sabin, Ron Dameron (the first article about PowerShell that I read), Chad Miller and many other Jedi that exist in our community. But for you to write about something, in my opinion, you have at least a good knowledge of the subject and like it. That's when I started thinking about creating a blog for SQL Server. At the same time started seeing PowerShell (had watched the Buck Woody Session here at TechEd Brazil) and I spent a lot time to learn it. But what’s the point if you learn but you not share ? That is the feeling. What I feel sharing sometimes is even bigger than when I learn it. What could I have learned without the content that I read by the names that I told before ? So I can say that all theses amazing people from our community (actually they started the idea of the community) inspire me to make what they did with me. Gave the opportunity to learn. Then I started to blog about PowerShell.
2. We all have influencers that affect our trajectory as a writer. It may be a teacher who told you that you had great potential, or another writer who impressed you that you wanted to be like? Or perhaps on the other end of the spectrum it was a teacher who told you that you were too stupid to write well enough to spell your own name, much less have people one day impressed with your writing? Who were your influences that stand out as essential parts of your journey to the level of writer you have become?
All these names that I told before, but there is one guy that really impressed me. I was starting with PowerShell and just had read the article from Ron Dameron about PowerShell. Then I wrote my script but nothing was working. For several days I was trying and failing. I was almost giving up when I read the blog from Shay Levy (PowerShell Master Jedi) and sent and email to him. For my surprise, a couple of minutes later he replied. We exchange some emails and he was trying to help me but was not working. I know that it was 2 or 3 AM in his time and the he asked to me if he could go remotely in my machine to check. He did and solve it and taught me. C’mon..a guy that I had never seen in my life, at 3 AM spent his time teach a guy that he had never seen you his life (LOL) and solve the problem and teaching. It impressed me a LOT, and I always remember that e be grateful to Shay for that. He was one of my influencers too, not only by the technical content, but his good will to teach and share
3. What would you say has been your greatest success story as a writer, even if it was not a commercial success? And conversely, have there been any projects that were just complete disasters that you probably could have looked back and realized that before you got started?
Hahaha. There is a disaster before all started. Today he is a great friend and at the time was very careful with his words (He is a gentleman) and , to be honest, he was right. I try to send an script to SQL Server Central and Steve Jones replied my email saying that my content was good, but my English was not (LOL) and at the time he could not review for me. I could got this as bad, but hahah., I got much more happy that I was talking with Steve Jones rather than what he told me and I thought “I will improve my English as better I can and I will send again”. After some time I got my first Script published at SQL Server Central. I still remember my feeling when it happened because it is the same feeling that I still have today when I see my name at SQL Server Central and Simple-Talk.
I had luck in my writer career. Simple-Talk and SQL Server Central always was my source for study and when I read Buck, Steve, Kevin, Grant I thought. “I have some good content to share. I know that and I want to be where my gurus are. I want to know them and share with them” . Then I send and email to Simple-Talk and for my happiness , Andrew replied me that I could write for them. Oh Boy. It was AMAZING !!!! I have a deeply respect and gratitude to Steve, Andrew, Chris and all people from Simple-Talk/Redgate to gave me that opportunity. Everything in my life started with them
4. I saw from your SQLBits biography, you are a huge Star Wars Fan (me too.) Does Star Wars or any pop culture affect your writing? I know I frequently want to infuse Monty Pythone-sque tidbits into my writing (even if the occasional editor strips it out as non-essential.
Yes.. I am a HUGE Star Wars Fan. I still remember when I was in the movie theater and “Luke..I am your father” and everybody “WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW !!!!!!”. it is amazing story and I just love it. Of course affect my writing. Not only Star Wars. I am a Marvel/DC fan, I love Batman, Superman, Spawn, Ghost Rider…and in the certain way it affects all my life, not only my writing. If any Star Wars will be shown in the TV , do not ask me for go out hehehe.
5. And now for something completely different…Assume a time machine has been created, and you are allowed to go back in time to speak to a group of potential writers, in which you and I are in attendance. What would be the most important point you want to make sure that we hear and follow up on?
Two words . Share and courage. You don’t need to know how to link , talking about SQL Server, SQL Server with Aliens and talk about internals in binary to write about it. You just need to have the passion to share and the courage to do it. Does not matter if it is internals ultra super content or basic. Just to have the courage to share, you have my respect.
6. Finally, beyond the "how" questions, now the big one that defines the interview series. Why do you do write?
First because I like it, second because I like it, third because I like it hehehehe. I guess the most important is because with writing I could know my gurus and be part of something big and that really matters. The SQL Server/PowerShell community. Today when people like Bob, Argenis, Steve Jones, Grant, Kevin Kline, Allen, Edwin, Mladen, Bolton, Thomas La Rock, Neil, Simon, Buck, Kalen and so many other well known names see me, they know my name and say hello to me. I am a simple guy from a country city in Brasil. This is priceless for me.
Thank you, to Laerte for another fine installment in the Why We Write series (anyone into Star Wars can’t be all bad!) I particularly like his answer about why he writes. Because he likes it. I think in future installments the “why” question will also include that question. Do you like it? I know I personally waver daily between loving to write and hating it. Sometimes the hate is simply because I can’t find the words to reflect the material I want to write about. Other times I just enjoy spending hours at this keyboard typing about technology.