Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Book Signing Revelation

Unlike some of my techie book writing friends (e.g. Kalen Delaney, Itzik Ben Gan, or Brian Knight), I do NOT have groupies.

I admit I'm a little bit jealous. Doesn't everyone want to have groupies - at least one or two - even if it's just your spouse and kids? But while I have no groupies, I do have a lot of fans and that is really gratifying. I didn't realize how many fans I had until Quest Software held a book signing for me at the PASS Summit two weeks ago.

We were giving away my most recent book, "Database Benchmarking" published by Rampant Press. I was really impressed with how long the line was to get a signed copy of my book. And then I learned the truth. It wasn't necessarily me they were excited about - it was the fact that Quest was giving the book away for free.

Of course, every technie knows that a free computer book is worth waiting in line for. So, at the end of the day, the attraction was the free book - not my signature. But the boost in my self-esteem, though short-lived, was still fun.

Quest also had, IMO, the most kickin' booth in a very exciting exhibit hall. There were lots of other great vendor displays there and a lot of great swag for everyone. It was really quite a lot of fun, assuming you like professional conferences.

Best regards,


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


How weird are you?

You Are 50% Weird
Normal enough to know that you're weird...But too damn weird to do anything about it!
How Weird Are You?

Friday, November 17, 2006


Meeting Steve Ballmer

OK, I confess. I was intimidated as could be to know that I was meeting Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft. The previous day, I'd delivered the kickoff address to 2500 people without a flinch. But meeting Ballmer had me quite unnerved. I mean, this is a guy who speaks to kings and presidents of countries all the time. But, when the moment finally came, I found him to be both really nice and really down to earth.

Ballmer wowed the socks of our audience and, I think, made a very positive impression on the attendees. He's also got a lot of guts. After his address, he actually took questions from the audience. That's a really brave thing for a CEO of a major corporation, let alone a somewhat controversial company like Microsoft, to do. After all, there was no censor or filter on the types of questions that might've come from this audience. In fact, a few IT newspapers did latch on to some things he said in an attempt to generate some drama.

Another person who I was looking forward to meeting at PASS was Paul Flessner, the Senior VP of the database business at Microsoft. Paul started with Microsoft shortly after I'd gotten deeply involved with SQL Server and took the product line from a small, unimportant database to the top ranks of the industry. It was Paul's vision and execution on strategy that turned SQL Server into the most popular database platform in the business and $1.3b business line for Microsoft. It brought a tear to my eye when, at the end of his keynote, he announced that he was retiring at the end of the year. His is an amazing legacy - one that inspires and encourages me.

Still, it was great to meet them and have them at PASS 2006.

Best regards,


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


My Crib

One of the few benefits I get as the president of PASS is a great suite at the hotel where we host our conference. Since we bring in a couple million dollars worth of business, you'd think it was the least they could do, right?

In case you were wondering what the Presidential Suite looks like at a major hotel, just think of a very nicely furnished full size apartment. This one happened to have a baby grand piano and huge entertainment system along with really nice Broyhill furniture.

The suite had a full dining room, a small kitchenette (no appliances besides a small fridge), and a full size living room. It also had a separate study and sitting room, two bathrooms, and a separate bedroom.

The master bathroom was really impressive with a huge jacuzzi, a separate WC, a double-size double-sink vanity, a marble-lined shower, and -get this- a full cedar sauna.

Despite all of their efforts, the Sheraton still didn't manage to put the Presidential Suite on its own water heater. Thus, despite having the opulence of Rome all around, I still had to put up with showers that fluctuated between warm to outright cold every morning of the week. Jeesh!

All in all, it was a very nice place to stay and WAY overkill for my needs. But still, it's cool to have experienced it at least once in my life.



Monday, November 13, 2006


The PASS Board Meetings of 2006

The PASS Board, hard at work - from left to right, Randy Dyess, Christoph Stotz, Joe Webb, Rushabh Mehta, Wayne Snyder, and Neil Buchwalter.

It's been my honor to serve on the board of directors for the Professional Association for SQL Server (www.sqlpass.org) since its inception in 1999. Back then, I was a mid-level technology manager at Deloitte focusing on database administration for SQL Server databases. Try to explain that one to your grandma. Trust me, you'll only get a blank stare.

Me and John Stoiber, PASS Executive Director

Over the years, I rose through the ranks of PASS starting with VP of Marketing, to Executive VP of Finance, and for the last three years, President of the organization. The organization is now at its largest ever, with tens of thousands of members and an annual conference of about 2500 total attendees.
We spent well over 24 hours of the week hard at work on our next round of strategic goals and measuring our performance on past operations. It was hard work, but very rewarding. For example, we formulated our strategy for partnering on two international events in 2007 (one in Canada, one in Denmark), location for our 2008 event (2007 was planned long ago), and major work around an all new IT infrastructure and website.
Whew! Am I tired!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The Creative Panhandlers of Seattle

So here I am in Seattle for the annual PASS Conference. It's cold and rainy. And there are a lot of panhandlers everywhere. But Seattle's brand of panhandler is unique - they are, indeed, very creative. The panhandler in the photo above held a sign that read:

My father was
Killed by NINJAS
Need money
For Karate Lessons!
When I passed that guy on the street, I figured "Heck, that's funny enough to be worth a buck." and gave it to him. Vive la poet!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Lordy, Lordy - Looks who's 40!

It's official. I'm now over the hill. Or, using the new nomenclature, I'm the "new 30". Either way, it ain't too bad. I feel as healthy as I've ever been and a lot healthier than at certain times in my life like when my back was at its worst in my late twenties to mid-thirties.

The kids and I had a low-key evening out on the town. We enjoyed a dinner together at Longhorn and hung out for a while afterwards. They got me some fantastic and fun gifts. I also want to say thanks to my friends and family who sent cards and gifts.

I also want to send a special thank you to Dr Pineapple and his Jackbooted Beauty Queen for LAST YEAR'S birthday present. You see, I was cleaning the kitchen last night and found the thank you card for their wonderful gift from last year. Doh!!! I don't imagine it'd do any good to send it now.



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