November #SQLChat – How to Build your Name Recognition and SQL Network

For those who don’t know Idera Software sponsors a SQLChat on Twitter once a month. This month I got the privilege to host and had come up with a topic and questions for discussion. Below are the questions and answers I provided as well as some from others that chimed in. I think these are worth noting and give some valuable information especially to newbies of the SQL Community.

Q1: How have you benefited from networking with SQL professionals?

My Answer: As a lone DBA networking has gained me “co-workers”. I now have people to bounce ideas off of. I use these connections daily. Many have gained job opportunities based on just networking and getting to know other SQL professionals. I actually know several companies that hire based on SQL Networking relationships instead of utilizing recruiters. Networking exposes you to so many other facets of SQL you may not have otherwise looked into. My follow- up responses are depicted in italics.

A1: I have met incredible people who opened doors for my career. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them – @SQLDBA Kendal Van Dyke

I too have experienced this.  Getting connected and familiar with the SQL Community can really launch and expand on your career.

A1: If you don’t talk to folks in the same prof. you in a silo in many ways that can be a serious obstacle to progress – ‏@sqlmal  Malathi Mahadevan

I totally agree with this one. I found myself before I started networking in my own little world not really expanding my knowledge.

A1: I’ve built my network & ID’d a Go-To SQL Person for a variety of problems: Backups, mirroring, index, optimize, etc – @IrishSQL Rie Irish

I actually talk about this is my SQL Saturday presentation. Getting Go-To experts in all aspects of SQL Server is key, especially for a lone DBA like me. You cannot be an expert in everything, but you can build a network of those who are experts in their own realm of SQL Server.

A1: I was burnt out & wanted to change professions before I went to my first UG mtg and started meeting people and it re-energized me –@sqlgator Ed Watson

It is so easy in this field to get burnt out. I truly love how inspiring and motivating our community is.

Q2: What avenues have you used to build your SQL network?

My Answer: Twitter first and foremost. I am on it almost every day talking to SQLFamily and building those relationships. Even if it is just to say “Good Morning!”, people get used to seeing you every day and you becoming more involved. I also blog now and speak at SQL Saturdays. Now that I am an Idera ACE for 2016 you will be seeing more of me this year as I travel around to more SQL events. I am extremely excited to get even more involved.  Another great aspect of this community is that it’s easy for introverts to mingle their way in because it’s so inviting. We have lots of introverts in this community. There is a place for everyone.

A2: I’ve found that while SQL Sats, Summit etc are helpful, adding in Twitter is like rocket fuel for the process- @sqlstudent144 Kenneth Fisher

This is very true, add Twitter to your networking tools and you will see how much of an impact it will have.

A2: On Twitter since an amazing #SQLPass at the recommendation of @GlennAlanBerry been blown away by the SQL Love and support on Twitter – @_adamnichols Adam Nichols

I love this one. It goes to show how inviting our community is to new comers. The passion for what we all do shines through even in just 140 characters.

A2: Twitter! SQLSaturdays, user groups and events like PASS Summit and SQLBits. Newest is Slack – @cathrinew Cathrine Willhelmsen

The WIT (SQL Women In Technology) group has just started a new Slack channel, for those ladies that want to get involved, drop me an email or direct message I’ll get you invited.

A2: I joined the #sqlchat today and from reading the Tweets, it feels like a great SQL resource – @crhanks Cary Hanks

This is exactly why we do these types of things. It helps to get more involved and share our experiences with each other.

Q3: How can newcomers get started on networking within the SQL community?

My Answer: Get a Twitter account! Just start interacting don’t be afraid to jump into conversations, we don’t bite and I hear we have cookies.  Make sure when you setup your Twitter account and use SQL in your handle or at least in your Bio. It helps us recognize family members. In addition, change your avatar to an actual picture of yourself, start getting yourself out there. It’s great to put a face with a name.

A3:  Advice for to newcomers is to start with your local user group, attend SQL Saturdays and talk to the organizer and Tweet. – @LindsayOClark Lindsay Clark

If you don’t know if your town has a local user group, visit the PASS website and look it up.  If there is not one near you, try a virtual chapter those too are a great resource and way to get involved.

A3: Agreed if it is on Twitter and you can see it, it’s a public conversation –jump in. – @DanielGlenn

This a great tip to remember and several others chimed in and stated the exact same thing. Jump in to conversations freely, people will respond to you. Don’t be afraid to do so.

A3: Getting out of lurker mode on Twitter helps. Introduce yourself! I  often suggest new users of Twitter give a look to @BrentO’s free ebook on the topic brentozar.com/twitter/book@vickyharp Vicky Harp

This is fantastic resource for those new to Twitter. Great advice Vicky! I also completely agree with getting out of lurker mode. You can gain a lot by watching conversations and reading the information shared but you again even more by participating.

Q4: Do you have name recognition? Why do you think that’s important?

My Answer: I am working on building name recognition, I’ve begun using SQLEspresso on my blog, cards, and emails. I think it’s easier to remember then a name. I think building name recognition just opens doors it is not about becoming “SQLFamous”.  I’ll admit it floors me when someone recognizes me as SQLEspresso, I get a kick out of it.

A4: I heard “Oh, hey, you’re @AMtwo!” more than once at PASS Summit. Name recognition helps build relationships – @AMTwo  Andy

I’ve had this same thing happen, many others in the chat said they did too.  Since we are all located all over the globe social media, blogs etc. are our personalities and only interaction with many #SQLFamily members.  It’s important to build that name recognition and keep building it in order for people to remember you because of the lack of in person interactions.

A4: I have some name recognition. Enough for me. It helps when I need answers & gives more weight when I give answers – @IrishSQL Rie Irish

A little goes a long way. I agree with Rie, the more your name is out there the more credence you responses and questions get.

A4: I try to use the same photo of myself everywhere to help with self-brand recognition –  @johnsterrett  John Sterrett

This too is great advice. If you are trying to build a brand or name recognition consistency across all platforms is a must.  I’ve actually just started doing this myself.

Q5: What names or brands do you recognize? Why do you think that is?  

My Answer: There are so many names in the SQL Community I recognize because they make themselves visible and give back to the community.  They also promote others to get involved; you can see their passion for SQL Server and its family.

A5: Brent Ozar (wicked marketing chops) Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp etc. They all have excellent branding –@sqlrus John Morehouse

These are a few of the “big” names you see every day. Why are they big names… because they give their time and knowledge to our community. They are active and are consistent in their brands image.

A5: I recognize people who write books/blogs, who speak at UGs & SQL Saturday type events, & engage, on Twitter. –@SQLDBA Kendal Van Dyke

I think Kendal’s response enforces the idea of noticing those that get involved and give back.

A5: Leaders are “created” by their efforts and community acknowledgement. The most referenced names are that was for a reason. – @tomsql Tom Staab

A5: I think cheerful helpers in the SQL community gain name recognition whether they seek it or not. –@vickyharp Vicky Harp

I can’t agree more with Tom and Vicky. You don’t have to seek name recognition it is naturally created. You probably have more name recognition than you think.

Q6: How do you find time to network and build your personal brand? Are you able to do it as much as you’d like?

My Answer: I make time. Even just a little here and there makes a difference. I take a minute every day to pop into Twitter and say Hi.  I have started writing a weekly blog, as time allows and I give my time to my SQL user group. For those who know me personally they know I have a crazy schedule and as a lone DBA my work load is tremendous but the SQL community is important to me and I find time to network and get involved. It’s worth every minute of my time.

A6: I spend time building my brand and networking without knowing I am doing it. I focus on things I am passionate about so it’s really just my hobby time – @johnsterrett  John Sterrett

Many people have a brand and don’t even know they do. It’s just something the freely develops and can be cultivated if wanted.  I also find and think most people will agree if you’re passionate about SQL server it is a hobby for you and you make time. It’s one of the great things about our careers; we find it fun and don’t think of it as a job.

A6: I wish I could spend time participating in #SQLChat today. A meeting’s preventing me from it. Just wanted to say I <3 #SqlFamily –@DBAArgenis Argenis Fernandez

This is exactly my point. You make time. Argenis wanted to support me in this #SQLChat and made it a point to make time. Thanks Argenis!

All and all the chat session went really well. There are a lot of take a ways from this. The few I have I highlighted here helps drive home my point.  My notifications on Twitter blew up with so many responses; I wish I could include more in this post. We actually broke a record for Idera on the most tweets and involvement for a #SQLChat with over 370 tweets.  Thanks to all that played a part in the conversation, I hope it was as fun for you as it was for me. I am looking forward to next month’s topic.

Attending Summit as a New Leader

It’s that time again where everyone writes their post PASS Summit Blog and tells of the great time they had with SQL Family and all the exciting new things they learned.  While those are both very true for me as well, I want to talk about how it felt to go to Summit as a new leader in the community.

This year I became a Chapter Leader and spent Tuesday at Summit in the PASS Chapter Leader and SQL Saturday meetings. It was an honor for me to walk into those meetings and collaborate with such a phenomenal group of people.  It was even more remarkable to be called out by name by more than a few.  I even commented to a couple of people that I can’t believe I was there legitimately (yes, I have crashed a few speaker dinners in my day, while not being a speaker).  Since it was only Tuesday, being involved in these meetings really helped to set a positive outlook for the remainder of my time at the Summit.

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Now there were more than a few “old timers” there that had been running their chapter for years and wasn’t nearly as enthralled with some of the information being presented in the meeting. They had heard it all before, but for me it was all new and stimulating. As I sat back and listened to their input and looked at the slides, I was impressed to see how many active chapters PASS has and how many SQL Saturdays were delivered in 2015. The staggering amount of effort and time that people freely give to help build others and improve this community is astounding to me.  I don’t think people realize how much time, effort and passion goes into running a chapter or putting on a SQL Saturday.  I was inspired.

One of my favorite parts of the meetings were the question and answer sessions with vendor representatives. It really opened my eyes on how both parties need and support the other’s initiatives. It was a reminder that they are not just there to give us money, they also provide education, and give backing to community members willing to share their knowledge with others. Programs such as the Idera Ace Program and Friends of Red-gate do just that.  In return for their funding chapters and community members give them exposure, contact lists, and help promote their products. It’s very much a give and take. The vendors also gave great advice for chapter leaders as when and how to get sponsorship; timing and planning ahead are essential. I took lots of notes.

For the remainder of Summit, I talked to other leaders and got ideas to take back to my chapter. I worked on making even more connections and getting speakers lined up for our upcoming 2016 calendar year. I engaged in discussions on how to get more involved and build future leaders.

It was kind of different take on Summit for me. Don’t get me wrong I attended my share of sessions including a great Pre Con by Argenis Fernandez, David Klee and Jimmy May on Virtualization. I went to all the PASS Sponsored night time events and attended more than my fair share of Vendor parties. It was a fantastic week with the #SQLFamily as always.  There is nothing like spending a week with like-minded people discussing things you are passionate about.

Now that it’s wrapped up, I want to take that inspiration I gained and do something more with it. This year I have set a goal for myself to be an example of how to get involved and make a difference.  I would love to help inspire future leaders by spreading my enthusiasm through speaking at SQL Saturdays, running my chapter and volunteering where ever needed. I challenge you to do the same.

See you guys at the next PASS Summit I will be there for sure!

Everything is coming up ACE’s

I am thrilled to announce that I have been chosen as one of the 2016 Idera ACE’s. It is truly an honor to be part of this great program and give back to the SQL community.

What is an Idera ACE?

According to Idera.small ace duck

“ACEs (Advisors & Community Educators) are active community members who have shown a passion for helping the community and sharing their knowledge. We help the ACEs pursue that passion by sponsoring travel to
select events and offering guidance for soft skill training.

Requirements to become an Idera ACE:

  • Enthusiastic members & leaders of the SQL community
  • Accomplished contributors to the SQL community
  • Good speaker, writer and presenter
  • Demonstrated a passion for educating fellow community members

My SQL Saturday Addiction

Recently I joked on Twitter, that I am now addicted to SQL Saturday’s and need a GO FUND ME just to pay for them all. Well, that is no longer the case. As an ACE, Idera will generously sponsor some of my 2016 speaking engagements. This year I will have attended 5, next year with Idera’s help I hope to attend even more.  This amazing gift will allow me to not only grow in my career but also help others to as well.

What I Love About This

Being an ACE doesn’t mean we have to be sales people for Idera. Instead we are given means to enrich our knowledge about Idera along with opportunities to give feedback. We get to participate in Beta testing and tell them how we have used their products in the past, to help them continually improve. I cannot wait to start working with the product teams.

The Need for Tools

As a lone DBA, I rely on products such as those from Idera to juggle my daily work load. As I say in my session about Survival Techniques for a Lone DBA, I have to be an octopus to get all the work done. Products like the ones from Idera act as my extra arms. They allow me to quickly monitor my servers, perform administrative tasks, and perform health checks among many other things without having to write my own scripts. The time these tools save me is invaluable so I am happy to be able to contribute my input on them.

Thanks

I thank Idera for investing in me. I will fully take advantage and make the most of it. I am humbled by the fact I have been chosen as a 2016 Idera ACE. Congrats to the other newly appointed ACE’s, I look forward to working with you!