Last year I started a new tradition for myself that will last until I specifically retire from the SQL Server community, something that I practically promise isn't coming in next year's resolutions. As this is the end of the PASS year, with the Summit coming up next week, it is time to see how I did with regards to what I said I would do. I didn't do as bad as I generally do with my New Year's resolutions, but like with those, still not perfect.
1. Don’t submit to speak again next year – As much as I appreciate the surprise by a few people that I wasn’t speaking, and the kind words by a few people about liking my sessions, this was my favorite year. I am not a natural speaker, so I spend a lot of time preparing and I miss a lot. This was the first year I actually ventured out with people for a meal or two, caught a movie, and attended sessions in all but 2 slots (I saw my SQL Friend Joe Webb whom, I hadn’t seen in forever and I started talking to him and 5 other people who kept stopping by (Worth it!))
The easiest of them all. I did not submit, and there were two reasons. First is that it is awesome to go to Seattle for the week and just attend meetings, talk to people, etc. The second is in regards to number 8. Since I have been working with the program committee helping to comment on abstracts (and unlike the other members of the team, I see them all), it feels weird to get in competition with those folks.
2. Don’t stop submitting to speak at SQL Saturdays\User Groups – As much as I didn’t miss speaking at PASS, I do love speaking at smaller venues where I can do most prep at home, and the room size doesn’t give me heart palpitations. I plan to submit to 4-6 more events, and I have 2 or 3 user group presentations planned. I have hopes of doing one pre-con this year as well possibly, and I will submit to a few (It won’t kill me if I don’t get chosen, it is a lot of work!) I also hope to submit for SQL In The City next year if RedGate does it (and I see the call for speakers before it closes).
I spoke at quite a few SQL Saturdays, even doing a precon in Tampa. I also spoke at Music City Code, which is a very nice replacement for Devlink.
3. Possibly attend a SQL Saturday and don’t submit to speak – It might be nice to just come to one and just hang out. I would be more than happy to work a booth for PASS or RedGate or whoever would want me to!
Did this in Chattanooga, and it kind f reminded me how I felt at the summit last year. It definitely helped that I was able to go to the speaker dinner with Robert Verell, as it is always great to spend the evening talking to my peers.
4. Get a kilt and a costume to wear for PASS next year – Okay, so this one is probably a long shot (consider this my “lose weight” resolution that may not make it, because I will have to lose weight for the first one to occur), but I have a fantastic costume idea that was inspired by Bob Pusateri’s (@SQLBob) this year (nothing to do with Dilbert, but that is all I will say.)
I decided not to do the costume, because it just didn't seem like it was that necessary, but I did end up getting a kilt, which I am not 100% sure I will actually wear it on #sqlkilt day on Thursday. It all depends on how well I can figure out the look. The following is a very tiny picture of how the kilt looks, just to prove that I did purchase one :)
5. Get well enough to walk without making me and others feel bad – I know that I made some people uncomfortable this year watching me try to stand up after sitting down for a few minutes, but I felt better this year than I have in 6 years or more. It was just that muscles tighten when you sit for a while and it hurt really bad.
This one is the most complicated. I have definitely made a lot of progress. I have dropped another 20-30 pounds since last year, and I have improved my stamina greatly. However, I had surgery to remove a torn meniscus in July and there turned out to be a lot of arthritis. In some respects it is now a bit harder to walk than even before the surgery (not atypical after they get in there and remove and shave down stuff.) Honestly it will probably look like I am worse off this year as I will mostly be walking with a cane, but while things are worse in some areas, I should be able to do much more walking than I have ever been able to do for a PASS Summit.
In the next year or two I will be likely having a knee replacement, so it will be a while before the idea of walking without looking like I am in paini s a reality (and based on what I know from others, knee replacement is yet another year's recovery, which I am not relishing!)
6. Keep being involved locally – I may not be the primary chapter leader for Nashville this year because there are so many great people to let have a swing. I don’t know what I will be doing for SQL Saturday, but I will certainly be there if I am in town.
I did okay here. Our leadership team all kind of hit a wall of time near the end of the year, as I did picking up an additional writing project that will be coming out later this year, early next. It has really taken away my time to work on the user group, and at the same time, we have had a bunch of issues with venues. But we have some great leaders on the team, and I know we can get things up and going again.
7. Finish my book early so I can bring some to give away at PASS Summit next year – I will have four chapter done by next week, and hopefully will be done with the all of the logical design stuff before the start of the year. Then I have to work in columnstore, in-memory, and all of the other database design changes that are in 2014 and 2016. Sounds easy and a ton of work at the same time (thankfully, I use very few screen shots.)
This was a bit of a failure for two reasons. First, I got another writing project that took some of my time. Second, there were some (no fault) issues with technical editing that slowed things down a bit. In any case, the book is in the final stages now, and will be out later this year. The website claims it will be published on November 22, but I still have work to do (writing is all done!) http://www.apress.com/9781484219720
8. Continue volunteering for the SQL PASS Program Committee – I have greatly enjoyed working with the program committee for the past several years, and last year we started a service to allow submitters to get a review of their abstracts done before they submitted it for the year. This year I hope we can expand the service to help more people who are great speakers to get the writing stuff out of the way.
The abstract review team did some more great work this year, and we will hopefully do it again this year, doing our best to make it easier for submitter, and reviewer, ideally getting people who want abstract help more opinions than ever. We will see…PASS budgets and IT resources and whatnot that I don't have control over.
9. Blog somewhat more – And not just these post PASS blogs either. I started blogging about new stuff in SQL Server 2016 until I had to get to work on the book (and some other writing projects,) and I will minimally continue that process as SQL Server 2016 matures. After the book is finished, I do hope to get some mastery of the stuff that Azure offers as well once the book is written (more about that in the next blog I will publish.)
I did fall off once I started writing my books, but the blogs I did write on several of the new stuff in SQL Server 2016 paid major dividends. I was able to use the blogs in both books, refining quite a bit (I don't edit my blogs that great, and I probably never will!), but taking the base structure of the examples. Writing is really fun to me, though sometimes a bit more time consuming than I hope, keeping me stuck at a desk rather than working on #5.
10. Mystery Project - I have started shopping around an idea to some folks to see if I can do something kinda different and interesting in the coming year (or so). I have a lot of details to work out, but I want to wait until some other thing have past before I do too much else. (I may send out a survey in the coming months on twitter to see what more people thing too.)
The mystery project is still a mystery. About the time I was planning on working to make this happen, I got the second book which took up a few months of my time.
Overall, not a terrible first pass at fulfilling PASS resolutions, and who knows what the next ones will say. After the PASS Summit and the MVP Summit a week later, I will make my resolutions for the upcoming year. I know what I am currently thinking I want to do, but the reason I started the PASS Resolutions is that these two conferences have always inspired me to do more and more through the years.
I will make one resolution right here though, and this is regards to the Summit itself. I will be blogging about the Summit this year again. In past years I have tried to blog each day of the Summit, but had slacked off in the past few years, favoring tweeting. This year, I will definitely be tweeting as much as possible, but when I get back to the room each night, I will try to recap what I have seen that may be interesting to you.