Building the 2017 Black Friday Sale

In 2013, just for fun and with almost no forethought, I announced the company’s first Black Friday sale. I figured that I love shopping for Black Friday deals online, and maybe other SQL Server people would get a kick out of it too. The first year was mostly for fun, but it turned out people loved it. I put more and more thought into it in over time, like starting the sale earlier (because a lot of corporate folks wanted the ability to get in on it, but getting pricing approved at midnight on Black Friday wasn’t gonna happen.) Gradually,…

How I Use GTD, RTM, Retreats, and the Epic Life Quest, 2017 Edition

Guy Glantser read my 2009 post on how I use GTD’s 50,000 foot goals, and commented: Hi Brent, It’s been 8 years since you wrote this post, and it’s still very inspirational today. Thank you for that! I wonder if you are still using the same methods today. If not, how have you evolved the GTD process over the years? I would love to read a followup post, or at least a short update. Thanks! Great question! Here’s how I use GTD, RTM, retreats, and the Epic Life Quest to manage my life. The book Getting Things Done tells you…

Why I’m Taking a Break from Teaching In-Person Classes

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…

My No-Free-Private-Answers Philosophy

When clients and class students email us a question, we answer. It’s not always right away, but since everybody in the team has access to our shared public email address, somebody’s going to be available sooner or later to give a good answer. But when people I don’t know email me with a technical support question, I respond with a GMail canned response: Thank you for thinking of us! We’re busy tending to sick SQL Servers, so for questions, here are a few ways to get an answer: Free, at StackExchange 24/7 – post your question at, and if…

Epic Life Quest Task: Setting the Summit Pre-Con Attendance Record

When Erik and I got a PASS Summit pre-con this year, I asked Alison and Leeza a question out of morbid curiosity: what was the pre-con attendance record? They reported that 7 pre-cons since 2012 have gone over 200 attendees, and the record was 269. I figured that would be really hard to beat, especially given that word on the street is that Summit attendance is down overall due to the Halloween scheduling. To make matters worse, I keep hearing “thought leaders” say that database work is dead, and the magic cloud is going to solve everything. Would there be…

How to Understand Where a Software Vendor Employee is Coming From

1 Comment
I’ve had a lot of conversations with software vendor employees over the years, and I’ve noticed a few things. Understanding these will help you parse what you’re hearing. They’re working on vNext, not vFiveYearsAgo. They’re already hard at work building things that you’re going to use – not this year, and probably not even next year, but a couple of years from now. They’re hearing about groundwork that’s getting laid for powerful future technologies. This makes them really excited for the future, and very dismissive of today’s problems. (An awesome exception: product managers who want to get the word out…

How to Automatically Tweet Your Stack Overflow Answers with Zapier

No Comments
In our company Slack chat, we have a bot that alerts us whenever there’s a new SQL Server question at One day, a question came in, Erik got to thinking, and I went a-Googling: The Eureka moment First, get your user ID # for the site you want to use (Stack Overflow,, etc.) It’s in the URL for your user profile page – click on your user icon at the top of any Stack page, and it’ll take you to your profile. For example: My Stack profile page: – which means my Stack user ID is 26837, but…

Using Slack for Conference Session Q&A

Next month at the PASS Summit in Seattle, Erik Darling and I are teaching a one-day pre-conference class on performance tuning. We sold ~300 seats, which is awesome – but that comes with some challenges, one of which is handling Q&A. As classes get over 100 people, folks can be hesitant to raise their hands, and they rarely want to walk up to a microphone to address the entire room. I’ve tried using Twitter for this in the past, but it can be hard to get people to: “Does anyone have any questions?” Fit the question in 140 characters (less…

Tools We Use for Remote Work

A reader emailed in to ask: We are in the process of trying to move to working remotely more often. I know that your team for the most part are all pretty remote and also work remotely with a lot of your customers. Just wondering if you could give me a list of what technologies you use for conferencing, team meetings, etc.  Also maybe some pros and cons and\or issues you have run into. Here’s my favorite apps: Slack for chat – we used to use Stride (formerly Hipchat), and it was alright, but Slack gained more traction WebEx for…

How I Manage Email and Tasks, 2017 Edition

In a recent podcast episode, @Guy_Glantser and @MatanYungman talked about how they organize their work. I wrote about how I managed emails and tasks in 2015, and a lot of that is still true. My work environment I have two older monitors: an old 32″ QHD primary, and a 24″ 1080p secondary with Slack and Google Analytics: Desktop circa fall 2017 In our company Slack #general room, we get notifications for stuff like new blog posts, relevant questions, and new PasteThePlan entries. We have a separate #development room for stuff like First Responder Kit Github issue changes, check-ins,…

Hi. I’m Brent Ozar.

That's me, Brent.

I live in California with my wife Erika. I'm on an epic life quest to have fun and make a difference.

I co-founded Brent Ozar Unlimited to help make your SQL Server go faster. I also maintain sp_Blitz® and the open source First Responder Kit repo.

profile for Brent Ozar on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites