How the Company-Startup Thing Worked Out For Me, Year 5

Every year, I stop to look back at what happened a couple of years ago. This post covers April 2015-April 2016. My cofounders and I were all ready to try something new. Jeremiah, Kendra, and I had the same vision for where the business was going next (on-premises software), what the next steps were, and the speed at which we’d make the journey. We didn’t want to kill consulting and training, mind you, just wanted to build up a third profitable leg for the business. At the company retreat in Oregon, mid-2015 But in year five, both Jeremiah and I had the…

Epic Life Quest: Another million dollars.

Teaching in Portland, 2016 In my Epic Life Quest, sometimes I post [Redacted] achievements. It’s stuff that I’m really proud of, but I’m not quite ready to talk about publicly yet. The last one was hitting the $1mm/year total revenue mark. A while back in Level 7, I wrote: [Redacted] – I set a revenue goal for our company’s online sales (training classes & videos), and we crossed it. I’m not sharing the goal publicly yet, but I’ll circle back in a couple/few years and blog about it in my Life Quest category. Completed September 2015. It’s been a while now, so let’s un-redact that and…

At New Clients, What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Sooner or later, you’re going to get a new client with a request that makes you a little nervous. Here are a few examples I’ve seen over the years: “We have a multi-terabyte mission-critical database with no backups, and we want it to go faster.” “We have a 15 year old system, long out of hardware and software support, and it’s never been patched.” “We’re storing personally identifiable data about minors without any permission or encryption.” Alarm bell, rocket ship, or bomb? When my admin-senses go off, I ask myself: What’s the worst that could happen if this system goes down?…

Comparing Conferences: AWS re:Invent, Google Cloud Next, Microsoft Ignite, PASS Summit, and SQL Intersection

I have this weird job where I get to pick which conferences I go to, so, I, uh, go to a lot of them. Here’s how a few of them stack up. Amazon Web Services re:Invent Audience: About 30,000 AWS users. Database session quantity: not a lot. (I didn’t go for the database sessions here – it’s more of a wide-ranging conference covering Lambda, EC2, S3, etc.) Presenters: AWS employees, with an occasional customer testimonial. Session material: Simply not worth the time. Every time Richie and I sat through a supposed “deep dive” or 300-400 level session, we ended by saying to each other, “We…

How I Ran Pricing Tests for Training Subscriptions

Lemme be the first to say that I’m not an expert on this stuff. There are SaaS experts doing a way better job of this. However, here in our smaller database server community, it’s a different story – so I figured you might enjoy reading how this works behind the scenes, dear reader. I recently decided to change the pricing model on our training videos. Before, you paid a fixed price (say $299) for 18 months access to a single video, or $699 for 18 months access to all of our training videos. The vast majority of buyers just bought everything,…

When Giving Advice Isn’t Working

In the room, we were discussing a project that wasn’t going well. Someone was on a team where one of the team members wasn’t succeeding, and we were discussing ways to turn the situation around. Secrets of Consulting I’ve been a fan of the book Secrets of Consulting for years, and one of the most valuable lessons is that consultants in the business of trading advice for money. If you find yourself in a situation where your advice doesn’t seem to be making the situation better, there are three things that could be going wrong. It could be the wrong advice.…

Logitech Brio Review: New 4K Webcam (2018)

Logitech’s brought out a new 4K webcam called the Brio, and it goes for about $200. It’s quite a step up from the ~$100 former top-of-the-line Logitech C930e that I’ve been using for a couple of years. Here’s some sample comparison photos: Bright Light Comparison Photos My back wall is painted chroma key blue, and in these shots I’ve got a CowboyStudio light kit turned on in front of me. Logitech Brio, bright lights – click to see full size Older Logitech C930e, strong lights The new Brio 4K captures good details, whereas the C930e blows out all the details in a smear…

My Home Office Setup, 2017

We just moved into a new place and I added a few more touches to my home office setup. I use a motorized sit/stand NextDesk Terra Pro, so I can move the whole desk up or down with the touch of a button. I can’t say enough good things about that desk – it’s still rock solid, and survived a few moves. I wanted to up my minimalism game, though, so I mounted some of my gear underneath the desktop: Mounting the Mac Pro under my desk The thing with the bright sticker is the NextDesk motor controller, and that’s always…

What It’s Like to Live in a Downtown High-Rise

Erika and I moved to downtown Chicago 7 years ago to be right in the middle of everything. We’re moving out of downtown now, so I wanted to write up a quick recap of what we love about living in the middle of the 3rd biggest city in the US. (Population list at Wikipedia) The big thing to understand about downtown: there are no houses. Downtown residents live in high-rises and condos. (If you think you live in Chicago, and you read this blog, and you can afford your own house, you’re not in Chicago. You live in a suburb. Just because…

How I Handle Intro Calls with Consulting Prospects

In the SQLcommunity Slack #Consultants channel, Steph Locke (@StephLocke) asked if anyone was doing free consultations or office hours as a way of growing your opportunities. We had a good discussion in there, and I’d highly recommend that freelancers and consultants join that channel for help. I’ve done a free 20-30 minute sales call for years, and here’s the process that works for me. Let clients book the date/time. I used to make folks email us first with a brief description of their pains. We’d read that, make sure our company was a good fit, and send back a reply…

Hi. I’m Brent.

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.

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