Let’s get one thing out of the way right away: I love teaching.
I love seeing that “Ah-ha!” moment in a student’s eyes when they suddenly understand a concept. I also believe that in-person events are the best way to see that moment. It’s magical. As this post goes live, I’m welcoming a bunch of folks to Catalyst Ranch for my performance tuning class, and I’m totally excited to show them all kinds of cool stuff.
However, in-person classes have a few drawbacks.
Things can go horribly awry in-person. There was that time all the meals were delayed due to a kitchen problem. The time the WiFi went down. The attendee with irritable bowels. The attendee with no sense of personal space. The attendee with the broken arm – oh wait, that was me.
When I’m on the road, I miss home. At the end of a long day of training, you come home to…a hotel room. And as nice as hotel rooms can be, they’re not as nice as home. I miss my bed, my pillow, my couch, my favorite restaurants, Ernie, and of course, Erika. Even though I’m able to do that stuff when I teach in Chicago, I hear from students that they miss home, too, and life doesn’t always let them attend classes out of town.
I love travel, but when it sucks, it really sucks. Travel is the most fun for me when I can arrive early, spend a few days relaxing and enjoying my destination, and then rolling up my sleeves to get some work done. (My recent Isle of Man trip was a good example of that.) In situations like that, if there’s a delay, who cares? Enjoy the ride. But that’s harder to do if I need to frequently jet around from one class to the next client. Travel sucks for the students, too – I’ve had students outright miss classes due to flight problems, visa issues, and even weather.
Online classes have gotten really powerful. For example, I record the classes, and attendees get to watch replays. I tried doing that with in-person classes, and it was just way too much work to capture good audio and camera angles. Another one is cloud labs – since each student has their own Internet connection, we don’t have to worry about slow connections to their cloud VMs.
I realized something during my last retreat.
When I did my last career planning retreat in May, I thought a lot about what’s important to me, and what I enjoy. When I force myself to disconnect, answer specific questions, and make lists of things, I have a lot of surprising realizations.
One of the big realizations this year was that I wanna:
- Spend more time teaching
- Spend less time traveling
- But when I do travel, spend more time on vacations (which I think of as retirement practice)
So even though it’s a profitable business, I’m going to take a year off the in-person training classes for 2018 and focus on something new.
I’ll still do conference pre-cons, but only when the conference is in a place that I wanna go, and when the timing works out that I can get there a few days early and enjoy myself. I’m looking forward to Summit next week, and SQLBits 2018 is another great example. I’ve already booked my tickets for the Ferrari exhibit at the nearby Design Museum for the Monday before Bits, and you’re welcome to join me. Shoot me an email if you’d like to tag along.