T-SQL Tuesday #111 Roundup

Thank You!

First, we owe a debt of gratitude to my friend Adam Machanic (blog | @adammachanic | Data Education) for starting T-SQL Tuesday in the first place. Thank you, Adam! Next, we owe a huge shout-out to Steve Jones (blog | @way0utwest | SQL Server Central) for carrying the torch by maintaining tsqltuesday.com. Finally, thank you to everyone who takes the time to author a post on their blog the second Tuesday of each month.

T-SQL Tuesday #111

The T-SQL Tuesday question this month: Why do you do what you do? I was honored to be asked by Steve Jones to serve as host. Thanks, Steve!

Although I should not be, I am surprised by the response. We are part of an awesome and enduring Community. There were 35 responses to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday! 

Some Stats

35 responses.
3 first-timers (welcome!).
3 female, 32 male.
The first reply was from Greg Dodd.
The last reply was from Chris LaGreca.

Every. Single. Post. deserves a read. Our community is filled with passionate writers. Enjoy!

To The Posts!

Hugo Kornelis built and maintains the Execution Plan Reference because it’s not there. (You are welcome for the ear worm, good sir…). Doug Purnell enjoys helping and sharing with others, and he is also looking to cook more and spend more time on photography.  Chris Voss is candid about being on the autism spectrum and volunteering with Autism Society of North Carolina. He enjoys working in healthcare because “it’s an industry where the concern is the betterment of other humans’ lives.” Steve Jones enjoys having the time to give back by speaking, writing, and teaching; helping others in both paying it forward and paying it back. Eugene Meidinger leaves me hanging regarding ex-girlfriends in the section titled “Brothers and ex-girlfriends,” and waxes philosophical with “why not becomes much more of a why.”

Three individuals indicated this was their first time participating in T-SQL Tuesday – welcome! They were Greg Dodd, a fellow former VB coder whose “why” is that he enjoys solving problems; Jason Howie, a friend of Allen White who shares Allens’ interests in music whose “why” is seeking an ensemble into which he can fit; and Michał Poręba, whom no one is paying to be a cave diver. Welcome to T-SQL Tuesday! We have cake (not really).

Lisa Bohn likes making a positive difference while working for someone she respects. Cathrine Wilhelmsen just so happened to become a Business Intelligence consultant. She loves using all her skills, helping people, and giving back to our community. Because I continue to learn from Cathrine, I am grateful. Glenda Gable likes helping others while settling into a career she really loves.

Andy Yun is a giver who enjoys helping others. Jason Brimhall‘s “why’s” are challenges posed by SQL Server performance issues and his passions for solving technical challenges, learning, speaking, and writing. Wayne Sheffield says he likes efficiency and is lazy, which drives him to automate as much as possible. James McGillivray garners a sense of purpose from a job that allows him to be creative, logical, extroverted, and inquisitive, all at the same time. Jess Pomfret started her blog with a T-SQL Tuesday post. She loves a good challenge and desires to keep learning and growing.

Chris LeGreca loves technology, challenges, the creative process, and data – but deep down he’s a nerd who does this for fun. Rob Farley believes better data facilitates better decisions and strives to make his customer’s best a little better. Kevin Chant enjoys learning, SQL Server Community volunteering, answering #sqlhelp questions, and serving charities.

For Allen White, it’s really all about you and helping you get more out of SQL Server. Bert Wagner was bored a couple years ago but now enjoys helping subscribers learn more about SQL Server each TuesdayTodd Kleinhans‘ “why” is his love for others inspired by Christian faith. Arthur Daniels enjoys working with a great team, making the database better, and the challenge of solving new problems. 

Rich Brenner loves SQL Server and the community that surrounds it. Drew Skwiers-Koballa‘s “why” is “the positive impact I can have on the company I work for, the careers of my teammates, and others in the technology communities.” Matthew McGiffen is motivated by his belief that there’s always a better way. Kenneth Fisher provides for his family but, in the end, loves what he does and enjoys several aspects of his career.

T-SQL Tuesday #111 – What is Your “Why?”

I enjoy math. I noticed a pattern learning math, perhaps you experienced something similar. I found arithmetic an exercise in memory. I have a good memory (well, I had a good memory…) so memorizing a bunch of rules was no big deal. 

When I learned algebra, arithmetic made more sense. In addition to the memorized rules, I saw why the rules existed. I understood the rules better as a result.

This pattern held all through my math education. I understood algebra better once I learned geometry. I understood geometry better once I learned trigonometry. I understood trigonometry better once I learned single-variable calculus.

An Axiom (for me)

I notice a similar pattern applies to my career (or careers, as the case may be). I’ve served in many roles: 

  • Farm laborer
  • Musician
  • Stockyard laborer
  • Truck driver
  • Service technician
  • Soldier (part-time in the Virginia Army National Guard)
  • Electrician
  • Electrical engineer
  • Electronics technician
  • Manufacturing automation integrator
  • Software developer
  • Author
  • Data professional
  • Entrepreneur

The similar pattern manifests itself in this manner: I’ve enjoyed the position – and more success in the position – when I had a reason to do the work; some reason other than a paycheck. In some cases, I had multiple “why’s” beyond remuneration. For example, I join the Virginia Army National Guard to learn electronics and serve my country – to especially protect everyone’s right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. I may not agree with what people say, but I was (and still am) willing to fight and die to preserve the right of US citizens to say whatever they want. 

As a result, I enjoyed serving in the National Guard (for the most part). I learned more. I learned better, I think, because I enjoyed serving.

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship can be challenging. I believe one needs a “why” – or perhaps several “why’s” to remain an entrepreneur. The “why” cannot simply be money. Money isn’t inconsequential, mind you, but I believe the best “why’s” are less tangible.

Passion plays a major role for me. When business isn’t going well or when business is going too well, a couple intangible “why’s” – passions for both entrepreneurship and the kind of work I am blessed to do – inspire me to keep a steady hand on the tiller.

Also, entrepreneurship affords more and different ways to serve people. Am I saying one must be an entrepreneur to serve others? Nope. Flexibility with time, though, facilitates opportunities that may not otherwise be possible, or as possible.

What is Your “Why?”

That’s the question this month: Why do you do what you do?

I look forward to your replies.

The Rules

T-SQL Tuesday has the following rules:

  1. Publish your contribution on Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 between 00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC.
  2. Include the T-SQL Tuesday Logo and have it link to this post.
  3. Please comment below with a link to your post.
  4. Tweet about your post using #tsql2sday.
  5. If you’d like to host in the future, Steve Jones.

Roundup

On or about 19 Feb 2019, I will publish a roundup post. (Until then, that’s a broken link…)

Enjoy!

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What if You Just Helped?

Serious question: “What if you just helped?”

What do I mean by “just helped?” I mean, what if – when you saw (or read or heard about) someone that needs help – you helped?

“I can’t afford to help, Andy.”

Are you sure about that? If you read a tweet from someone who’s struggling at work with a technical issue, do you know something about the technology? Might you offer some suggestion? Do you know someone who might be able to help or offer a suggestion? Can you offer a retweet? Can you direct this person to a website or a forum?

What if it’s a different kind of help someone needs?

“What if someone is asking for money and I have none to spare?” At the risk of sounding trite or even harsh, are you sure you can’t spare $5? $5 doesn’t seem like a lot. And maybe, for some people in some circumstances, it’s not a lot – at least all by itself. But what happens if you donate $5 to someone’s cause and then let people know about the cause? What if they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and they… And then what if each friend donates $5? Before you know it, the need is met; or maybe even exceeded.

I am willing to concede you may not have $5 to spare (there have been times in my life when such was the case). Then what? Perhaps you could offer moral support. Maybe send a direct message or an email. Let the person know you are thinking about them. If you are a person of faith, perhaps pray for them and, perhaps, let them know you are praying for them. A little encouragement goes a long way.

Just something to think about…

Peace.

Why I Love PB

Why do I love personal best? It’s the best kind of competing, competition with past-Andy.

I want present-Andy to do more and be better every day. A mentor once described this as, “Strive to suck less each day.” I can identify with that sentiment! I prefer the positive motivation I get from measuring things like weight, steps, diet, exercise, and other health parameters (blood sugar, for me) with SMART goals applied.

I measure things like days-in-a-row I didn’t cheat on my diet. While this is particularly depressing when the number drops to 0, building that number back up to the previous personal best is powerful motivation to not cheat. This kind of goal provides both negative and positive reinforcement.

I can measure the results of remaining on my diet in other ways, too:

  • My blood sugar returns to normal.
  • I lose weight.
  • I feel better.
  • And – surprise benefit from the keto diet – I’m less tired.

There are things beyond my control and SMART goals help me recognize this fact of life. For example, I cannot change the fact that I am aging at a rate of 1 s/s (1 second per second). But I can change what I do with each second. I don’t always get it right. But that’s a key part of a philosophy of personal best: It’s no longer about a Boolean outcome, right (achieving a single metric) or wrong (missing that metric in any of a thousand different ways), it’s simply about improving over the past personal best. Does a single metric goal exist? Heck yeah! But that goal is now seen as a milestone on a trek of never-ending personal bests.

Each personal best is a win. Each personal best is cause for celebration. You can achieve a personal best today, I know you can!

Do it.

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Tom Roush

This is a picture of my friend Tom Roush and me from a few years ago. Tom passed away 29 Jan 2018 after a protracted battle with cancer. He was my friend and brother and I will miss his easy smile, sage wisdom, and German wit.

I used to refer to Tom as “the best unpublished writer I know.” Well, that’s changed, thanks to some hard work this past year by Tom and his sister, Petra Martin (blog). Tom’s blog remains an awesome source of his many stories. Petra and Tom edited a bunch of his funnier stories into a book titled Stupid Things Papa Did When He Was Younger: And Other Tales of Hard-Won Wisdom. I’ve read the stories and it’s a great book!

Free

Right now, for a limited time, the book is free at Amazon:

It’s not only free, but it’s trending #1 in a couple categories (at the time of this writing)!

Congratulations Tom and Petra!

A Request

I have a request: If you download the free book – and please do – it’s awesome and you will love it, please consider donating to help Tom’s family. To do so, please head over to a site Yanni Robel (a close friend of the family) set up to help Cindy Roush and their family. The site is a YouCaring donation site titled Tom Roush Memorial Funds:

I miss my friend already. Because Tom and I are believers, I know I will see him again.

I look forward to that day. It will be a day that never ends.

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I Need Some Updates

As I type, 2017 is drawing to a close. For many, this time of year is a time of reflection on the past year and planning for the coming year. I recently saw this Windows message in the corner of my screen and realized, “You’re right, Windows. I do need some updates.”

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions for a number of reasons:

  • I’d rather set goals.
  • I’m not a fan of the timing.

Are Goals Better?

Yes. Much is written about Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound goals with good reason.

The Timing?

My friend, brother, and co-host of the Data Driven podcast, Frank La Vigne (blog | @Tableteer) follows a family tradition and sets goals for 1 Nov.

I set goals almost weekly. I don’t wait until the beginning of a calendar year. But I don’t exclude this week from my normal goal-setting. I mark another trip around Sol like many but in goal-setting terms, it’s just another week.

Current Goals

I have a stack of goals that I categorize as near-term, mid-term, and far-term.

Near-term goals include business endeavors for DILM Suite and Enterprise Data & Analytics and Biml Academy.

Mid-term goals include blog series and book projects that I am writing and planning.

Far-term goals include things like relocating to Costa Rica.

If you peruse these goals, you’ll notice that they move farther from work and towards personal. That’s intentional. You may also notice there’s very little here about personal goals. Do I have personal goals? Yep, I have personal goals. They’re, well, personal.

You may wonder how I time-slice activities – especially when it comes to work on the far-term stuff. Many nearer-term goals actually feed my long-term goals. In this way, near- and mid-term stuff are milestones towards achieving far-term stuff.

How so?

Consider DILM Suite which consists of mostly free and some open source products. The free stuff – like Catalog Browser – is helpful and cool, but it also leads to sales of  SSIS Catalog Compare. The for-pay products – SSIS Frameworks Commercial and Enterprise Editions and SSIS Catalog Compare – are gaining momentum. We’re selling more licenses and implementations. Either – or both – could be acquired by a larger entity in coming years. An acquisition could play nicely into my plans to relocate to Costa Rica.

In Practice

The topic of your goals isn’t nearly as important as their existence. You should have goals. If you don’t, please consider starting with a single goal.

Here are some tips and tricks I find useful (this is not an exhaustive list!):

Write it down somewhere where you can see it regularly – like a sticky note on the bathroom mirror or a legal pad in your work area. Reading it – even causally perusing it – helps remind you of your goal(s).

Re-prioritize regularly. Things change. Having goals will actually drive changes – that’s a normal and healthy part of the cycle. Life happens. You do not exist to serve your goals; your goals exist to serve you.

Check it off when you complete a goal. It’s a good feeling to get something done, to ship, to throw the switch in Production, to hold that book or read your name in the by-line of an article or blog post. Consider the words of the redneck sage, Larry the Cable Guy: “Get-r-done!”

In Conclusion

As 2017 draws to a close, don’t spend too much time looking back. Spend the vast majority of your time looking forward to 2018. That’s what I do. You can’t do a durn thing about 2017 once it’s in the past. Am I advising you forget about 2017? Goodness, no! Learn from 2017. Build on 2017. That’s what I’m saying.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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