This morning, Ted Kreuger wrote a post called Microsoft Isn’t the Devil. He writes:
“What does kill me is the people that insist on the public bashing of a product, like SQL Server. I’m not referring to the daily Oracle DBA that has to install SQL Server. I’m referring to the people that have based their career, income, and livelihood to supplying services to customers based on the product. Truly speaking, I’d like to see those people move on. Work on something you think is perfect in your own little world. My only hope is that really does happen and you end up losing that income that supplies you with your fancy toys and vacations.”
I got a chuckle out of that because I kinda identify with that audience. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post called SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition Sucks, and I stand behind every word of it.
For the last several years, I’ve worked through the “regular” feedback routes. My clients have talked with their salespeople. I’ve talked with my Microsoft contacts. I’ve written calm blog posts about the new 64GB memory cap, and I’ve linked to other folks’ blog posts when they’ve written about the limit.
Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I tried something different – I went back to the ProBlogger well and looked at the 20 Types of Blog Posts. I love going back here to get inspired to find a new way to tell the same story. I don’t post outright flames very often just as I don’t post lists or interviews very often – I try to mix up my post formats to avoid getting into a rut. (I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who posts the exact same blog post every time.)
When I wrote it, I knew it’d ruffle feathers. That’s the whole point. Sometimes to get attention to a problem, you gotta raise your voice.
It worked. Spectacularly. It got picked up by HackerNews and Reddit, and I got off-the-record emails from several of my Microsoft buddies. (I love it when they use a different communication source than their Microsoft emails to avoid being recorded, hahaha.) It got the attention I wanted.
If Microsoft announces that 2014 Standard Edition can use more than $500 of memory, I certainly won’t be able to take credit. I’m going to tell myself, “Those nice guys were always planning to raise the limit anyway, because they knew how incredibly stupid that limit would be in the year 2014, and down the road in the year 2019 when SQL Server 2014 is still under mainstream support.” (I bet my 2019 Roomba will have 64GB.)
MVPs aren’t zombie cheerleaders.
“You represent the community as a highly skilled community figure that portrays how effective and valued the product is.”
BS, and I don’t mean Big SQL.
I’m me. Just because Microsoft handed me an award doesn’t mean I’m going to change the way I write or the way I present. I know too many MVPs who think, “Oh, I have to behave now.” If you believe that you suddenly have to start acting more civil to Microsoft just because they gave you the MVP award, then that means you weren’t acting like an MVP before – so why did they give you the MVP award? They don’t give you the MVP award as recognition of how you might clean up your act.
Whether you’re an MVP or a blogger or someone just thinking about traveling down that path, here’s my advice instead:
Be yourself, and be honest.
I bash Microsoft products when they suck, and I cheerlead Microsoft products when they rock. The fact that I do both tells my audience that I’m not playing around – when I say something’s good, it’s really, really good. Ted writes that Microsoft doesn’t have a lot of developers for the SQL Server product, and that’s just an excuse – it doesn’t take a lot of developers to change the number 64 to 256. (Or if it does, maybe we’ve got zombie developers, too.) It’s not the MVP’s job to make excuses for a decision like that.
So c’mon, Microsoft – give me something great to say about the SQL Server 2014 licensing, and I’ll sing it from the rooftops.