SQL Server Blog

Better Than the MVP Award?

It felt good to find out I was awarded last week. What’s better, though? Session feedback like the following comment that truly made me feel like an MVP:

Thanks Mike, I wasn’t sure where to start. Now I Know.

I had originally decided to not submit for SQL Saturday 71 since I was helping organize it, wanted to give other new speakers a chance to try it out and I figured I’d have enough running around to do. As these things go someone canceled and I was called up and I shared a presentation I really enjoy giving – “As a DBA, Where Do I Start?!” Now this is an basic presentation. Not a lot of demos (yet… more on that in the feedback below), not a lot of really in depth information. A talk I wish I went to when I was starting out as a DBA. It is one I know well and can give without the slides even.

Better Than The MVP, Though?

Yeah. The weekend was an interesting one for me. I received the MVP award and a lot of kudos along with it (which are always nice to get but still somehow embarrassing to get). Then I helped organize SQL Saturday 71 and it was a huge success – Amazing venue, food better than many paid conferences I’ve been to, great sponsors, great raffles, AWESOME speakers, tons of volunteers. I kept getting kudos for this as well (but I was quick to point out I was only 25% of the team and even then fact that our sponsors stepped up allowed us to have it at a venue where all of the food, room prep, drinks, etc. were done by a paid staff, not to mention the volunteers!). Yes, it was nice to get all the thanks and it was great looking at twitter with the nice things folks said. That comment and the session feedback was still better, though –

It’s the whole reason I get up in front of people to speak or write this blog – I blog and speak because I want to help someone. I don’t care if I have 4,000 hits in a month or 400,000 hits (don’t worry I don’t get anywhere near that number ๐Ÿ™‚ ) in a month or even 10 hits. I want to help someone where they are just like so many helped me with their blog posts, books, presentations and mentoring (and still do help me).

It’s the whole reason I give -this- presentation – When I give this talk the audience profile in my head is someone who doesn’t know where to start. Someone overwhelmed by all of the priorities that are slammed on us as DBAs and the goal is to give them a quick map of where to start and even a fire & brimstone reminder to test their restores. That comment above was a huge confirmation that my goal was met and I helped one person out. That’s worth more than the award package that is in the mail to me could ever be worth (whatever it is ๐Ÿ™‚ )

It’s why you -should- present – Seriously. I hear a lot of people say things like they aren’t (insert popular speaking guru here) or they don’t have the most advanced presentation ready yet. WHO CARES. If you have something that can help someone then why not give it a shot? Build some confidence there and maybe you can be the next Paul Randal, Brent Ozar or Andy Kelly… Maybe you can do what I’ve been doing and stick to more basic talks. I blogged about this awhile back in the series on presenting (Why Should I Present? & How Should I Present?)

The Rest of the Feedback From SQL Saturday 71

We asked different questions this time (more on that in a post later on the week on seeking speaking feedback):

– How would you rate the overall quality of this presentation? (1-5) – only numerical rating

I had 21 people submit forms and received an average score of 4.70

What is the best idea from this session that you plan to use?

some of the comments:

Test Restores (or some variation thereof from 3 of the feedback forms)

“Backup was the important part I found”

“Leave with questions for my company re: environment”

“Plan to take care of each of the “itties” & approach client about backup and security”

“How to talk to the business about expectations/reqs”

“Better ways to think about DBA responsibility”

“Remember to take an honest look at things”

“60 Minute server takeovers & MAP”

“5 Goals/”itties” of a DBA”

What Could be done to improve the overall quality of score?

Don’t jump around on the slides so much” – Fair comment. I had recently modified the deck to shorten some areas and could have gone through it a couple more times.

“Nothing, great presentation”

“Present real life example of failed backup” -Fair enough, look for this in a new abstract actually ๐Ÿ™‚

“A few real examples” – Most common theme from some of the comments – examples. Will look to include more.

“Show an example of a restore” – Fair enough, look for this in a new abstract actually ๐Ÿ™‚

“Maybe a few more in depth case studies illustrating the necessity of the “itties” – See above comment on the examples ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall Comments:

“Great graphics and audience interaction!”

“Good presentation and good speaker”

“Great work”

“Great sense of humor. Very informative!” – The balance I try for, sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t

“This was a good intro course for DBAs”

“Engaging with audience”

Why aren’t you speaking yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I interact with a lot of really smart and talented people in the SQL Server community. I hear from a lot of them things like “I want to start speaking but…” So what are your thoughts? Why aren’t you?

Look for a couple more related posts coming up this week:

  • SQL Saturday 71 Recap
  • Thoughts on speaker feedback (User Groups the PASS evaluations and more..)

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Mike Walsh
Article by Mike Walsh
Mike loves mentoring clients on the right Systems or High Availability architectures because he enjoys those lightbulb moments and loves watching the right design and setup come together for a client. He started Straight Path in 2010 when he decided that after over a decade working with SQL Server in various roles, it was time to try and take his experience, passion, and knowledge to help clients of all shapes and sizes. Mike is a husband, father to four great children, and a Christian. Heโ€™s a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in his small town in New Hampshire, and when he isnโ€™t playing with his family, solving SQL Server issues, or talking shop, it seems like he has plenty to do with his family running a small farm in NH raising Beef Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Honeybees and who knows what other animals have been added!

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