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Speaking Epiphany


August 16, 2011 by Mike Hillwig

The more I think about it, the more I realize that presenting at SQL Saturday was good for me. You see, I was actually doing myself a disservice. Over the past two years, I had met some really amazing people who know tons about SQL Server. What’s wrong with that, you might ask? I was comparing my skills to people who have been working with SQL Server for years and/or have even written books on the product. I felt like I didn’t have much to offer the community.

Saturday, I realized that when I’m presenting on my topics, I know what I’m talking about and shouldn’t consider myself a second stringer. When I worked for Lotus Consulting, my mentor Carol once told me “There are many people who know more about this than you. Fortunately, none of them are in this room.” You see, when you share what you know with other people, there are more people who want to learn from your presentation or blog rather than dispute what you’re presenting. That was a huge epiphany for me.

One of the participants in my session asked me if I preferred to back up to disk first or use a backup agent for the backup software. Having been through that struggle in the past, I shared what I thought and mentioned that I had written a blog post about that in the past.  Another question I fielded was how I would go about getting developers away from touching the production environment.  Without missing a beat, my response was “Management buy-in.” I proceeded to say that without getting management to buy into this, it can’t happen. I also suggested hiding behind the auditors. Your auditors don’t want to see developers touching production. Leveraging that should help getting management to agree.

That was my epiphany. I was fielding questions as an experienced DBA. How did that happen? I know what I’m talking about.

At the after party, I was talking to a DBA who is doing some BI consulting. He told me that he’s not sure he knows enough to present a session at an event like this. That’s when I reminded him that he has customers willing to pay a lot of money for his experience. Who wouldn’t take that same advice for free? There are a lot of people who are really hungry to learn as much as they can and he shouldn’t be afriad to share it.  Many companies are stingy/cheap with their IT training budgets and local PASS events are a great way to get some free training.

Now it’s time to eat my own dogfood.

Karla Landrum (blogtwitter) from PASS says that local user groups are always looking for speakers and that we shouldn’t be afraid to volunteer to present to our local group. Yeah, it’s time to eat my own dogfood.