Hey there, Dear Readers! I hope you are well. Thanks for coming by and reading this post. If you’re my mom, you’ve been reading this blog of mine since the start back in 2008 or thereabouts. If you aren’t mom, maybe you know a little of the history of Straight Path. Maybe you don’t. Let’s talk about Jack first – and I’ll save the rambley history for after so you don’t have to stay for it.
A New Employee! Jack Corbett
Jack Corbett. What can I say? I believe of all of the people in the SQL Server community, I’ve possibly known him the longest – right up there at least. He originally hailed from my state, left to go live in a warmer climate but the long cold NH winters drove him back. We share a lot of common interests, are equally yoked in terms of where we are in our lives and what our priorities are (God, Family, Church Family, Home come first) and have young families (Though I am officially the youngest employee at my own company. So Jack’s family is a little further along than mine age-wise and college bill wise 😉 )
When I was searching for an employee for this third full-time role, I wanted this person to have a few qualifications. Someone I could trust implicitly to help us grow – I don’t know where Straight Path stops – but if God’s plans are for more growth – then this employee was an early employee with Bruce and I and I wanted it to be someone I could trust to tell me when I’m being an idiot and should do something differently. It had to be someone bold enough to speak their mind (if you know Jack, you know that’s a big old checkmark there), someone with a sense of humor who could give me a hard time and take a hard time. But it also had to be a senior SQL Server resource. Someone who has blogged, spoken at events, maybe even a current or past MVP. Jack’s all of that, and maybe he’ll be a current MVP someday again with more time to speak and blog and help mentor that next generation.
I also know that I’m strongest in the DBA, cloud, performance, HA/DR spaces – but a little weaker in the development, source control, data integration and reporting spaces. Jack has the DBA chops – but has been in the role of developer more than DBA – he’ll be a great DBA and has proven himself there to me with some help on the side over the years – but he’ll be able to truly help out existing clients with dev challenges and questions and T-SQL riddles better than I can. I believe we’ll learn from each other – and in the process, Bruce will learn from each of us.
I also hadn’t told Jack this fully – but I wanted someone who could theoretically have the technical chops and the common sense and right mindset to maybe have the fort while I sign off for a week sometimes (if I can ever pry myself away), someone who could maybe help build a new practice on development, etc. Who knows what the future holds – but Jack is good for the challenge.
Also – and maybe most importantly – Jack’s a friend. That’s the scariest part! Hiring a friend! Will that ever be affected? We both said no – and I don’t believe it would be – but he is someone who has prayed with me, given advice to me, gotten advice from me. Someone who has helped run the SQL Server users group in NH since he moved back up here. He’s more organized than I am and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Straight Path can do with Jack on board as a force multiplier.
Please welcome Jack in the comments. Drop him an e-mail – Jack.Corbett@StraightPathSQL.com (here comes the spam, Jack). I truly can say this is a blessing to Straight Path. It’s a slightly scary time for a business owner – that’s three salaries and benefits to worry about. But it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to Jack helping with some systems and processes too and maybe the next hire won’t be so far away with his help if that’s the right direction for the business.
You can find Jack on Twitter, on his blog, answering questions on SQL Server Central, maybe on some guest posts here eventually, or speaking at the SQL Saturday in Providence, RI this weekend while I’m speaking at the one in Washington, DC.
A little Background – Straight Path’s Journey
Originally this was actually just a place for me to share my thoughts and lessons I learned along the way as a DBA. Then I realized I could help folks and started writing posts that got picked up and shared. Somehow I ended up becoming a SQL Server (now Data Platform) MVP and around that same time, I started working for myself. Shortly after braving it out on my own, I joined forces with some folks who had a common vision at the time and became the first “not officially a legal partner” partner at another consultancy. I helped build that organization up and helped build a solid book of business over there. As those things sometimes do, the partners (official legal partners and otherwise) had some differences and we all seemed to agree we’d be stronger doing our own things. Quite a few successful consultancies are still around from that group, Microsoft also ended up with some Stellar employees from the teammates there. But really in 2016, I decided to march back to do my own thing and build Straight Path for what I actually wanted in the beginning – a consultancy specializing in “fewer things” – really providing what I hope are strong services in the DBA and DB developer areas. Staying away from some of the things I’m not great at – but keeping relationships with firms like my friends and fellow alums of the last company – Tim Mitchell and Bill Anton – with their companies filling in some nitches that I don’t want to spread Straight Path to thin to cover (Heavy duty data warehouse architecture with Tim’s company Tyleris Data Solutions; or strong analytics, PowerBI, or SSAS with Bill‘s company). So I built a model of services here on a foundational model of sorts.
The base layer is our managed remote SQL Server database service – FlexDBA agreements- where we provide monthly managed database services – giving a company a Senior Database Administrator when they need one and allowing them to pay accordingly for that advice, insurance, and best practices. Through that, we don’t just do advice and mentoring, but daily monitoring, health checks and we become that company’s DBA. We also offer 24/7 add-ons through my friend and fellow MVP Peter Ward’s Australian company, WardyIT for the companies which need that 24×7 15 minute SLA response.
Of course, we also do many ad hoc services for our FlexDBA clients and for clients who don’t need the ongoing relationship but just want help migrating to the cloud, setting up High Availability or Disaster Recovery, performance tuning, best practice support, SQL Server health checks, and many other services which fall in that DBA or developer camp.
From the beginning, I used a network of trusted friends and SQL Server geeks to provide additional support bringing the right people to projects in a 1099 relationship. The goal was to do more with employees. Try and contribute to the American economy and see what we can do as a team. In January of 2017, I hired our first employee, Bruce Welch. He’s still with us and is an excellent technical support resource helping to triage issues, review the daily checks, help perform health checks and provide many DBA functionalities.
I realized, though, mid-way through 2017, that I wasn’t able to properly devote myself to creating a couple classes I’ve been wanting to create, nor was I able to devote the time I needed to bring Bruce up from excellent technologist, support and Jr. DBA resource to intermediate or Senior DBA. I also realized finding some balance was hard. To this entrepreneur – that’s how I want to grow. I am cautious. I don’t want to grow until I have plans and am so busy that it almost hurts. Well, it’s been hurting! For a few months now, I’ve been mulling over the decision and chatting with a few people who I know that may be interested, and finally what became a “no-brainer decision” was made. Thanks for trusting this thing we’re trying to build Jack. And thanks for being a part of the team with Bruce and I. Here’s hoping it’s a good ride.