GroupBy’s One Year Anniversary and What’s Next for 2018

Last year, I unveiled, a new free community event where anybody could submit a session on any topic, and the attendees would vote to see what sessions made the cut. I had a lot of questions when we started. Would people submit sessions? What kinds of sessions would readers vote for? Would they prefer attending live, or getting the recordings? When the event first took off and got a lot of abstracts and attendees, I purposely took my hands off the wheel and started letting the audience decide where things went. I stopped doing marketing, stopped pushing for abstracts,…

Some Large Businesses Like to Work with Other Large Businesses.

Our human resources team Small businesses usually like working with other small businesses. Similarly, large businesses working with other large businesses. During the sales process, small businesses tell me things like, “All the decision-makers are on this call” and “Let’s move forward with this right now. What do we need to do to start tomorrow?” Large businesses are more likely to say, “Please fill out this 26-page PDF to be eligible for a bidding process that will start in three months.” I’ve long believed in this as a kinda-sorta unwritten rule, but I got an email (and a bunch of…

What Specialists and Generalists Get Paid For

Generalists say things like, “Yeah, I’ve done something kinda like that before, and I’m sure I can figure it out again.” Generalists get paid to learn new things fast and adapt. Specialists say things like, “Yeah, I did that exact same task last week, and I know it forwards and backwards.” Specialists get paid for things they already know very well. Generalists are generally useful. Armed with a good set of generalists, companies can generally tackle most IT problems that come their way. As a company’s tech stack changes, the generalists can learn new skills and stay productive. Therefore, generalists get…

My #PASSsummit 2017 Session Evaluation Ratings & Comments

After big conferences, I like to share my session evaluations to talk about what worked and what didn’t. Let’s see how we did this year. PASS’s evaluation form this year had 6 questions with a 5-point ranking (I love that): PASS Summit 2017 evaluation form So how’d we do? Pre-Con: Expert Performance Tuning for SQL Server 2016 & 2017 This was an all-day session I co-presented with Erik Darling. 362 attendees, 152 surveys filled out – great completion rate, thanks attendees! Rate the value of the session content. 4.37 out of 5 How useful and relevant is the session content…

#PASSsummit Session Q&A Experiment with Pinal Dave

When I’m speaking at a conference and the room assignments are published ahead of time, I look at the convention center’s room layouts to figure out how many seats it holds. I want a rough idea of how easy (or hard) the Q&A will be to manage. At this year’s Summit, Erik & I had room 6B for our pre-con, and I had the exact same room for my general session on Friday. From the capacity list pages, you can’t tell how the rooms will be set up (there’s so many ways to set up a room with chairs/tables/rows), but…

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…

Hi. I’m Brent.

That's me, Brent.

I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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.

My current car collection includes a 1986 Ferrari 328 GTS, a 1964 Porsche 356, a 1971 VW Type 3 Squareback, and more.

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