The inaugural GroupBy.org online event finished recently, and I had the sublime pleasure of watching a bunch of presenters at work. Because I was staffing the Q&A, Twitter, and Slack, I also got to watch the community reactions firsthand. People love different sessions for different reasons. Let’s start with Pinal Dave. He runs SQLauthority.com, a site that has surely shown up in your search results countless times. I bet you’ve never seen him present, and I need you to spend just a couple minutes watching him get to work. Start the video, and either watch a few minutes from the beginning, or…Read
After conference attendee feedback comes in, I like to blog about it to talk about what worked and what didn’t. This year, I think things worked fantastically overall. Intro to Internals: How to Think Like the SQL Server Engine Abstract: When you pass in a query, how does SQL Server build the results? Time to role play: Brent will be an end user sending in queries, and you will play the part of the SQL Server engine. Using simple spreadsheets as your tables, you will learn how SQL Server builds execution plans, uses indexes, performs joins, and considers statistics. This…Read
This year at the PASS Summit, I submitted one of my favorite abstracts, How to Think Like the Engine. It’s an introduction to SQL Server internals. I was really excited when the session was accepted – I love this presentation, and I figured the attendees would love it too. When the Summit schedule came out, I saw that I was in the largest room. That’s super-flattering, a champagne moment, because I wasn’t really expecting that. That room comes with a perk, too: a camera man doing a live broadcast on the web. It’s exciting to be going out live online, free…Read
T-SQL Tuesday: Growing New Speakers Every presentation has three parts: The topic you want to cover The material you write to cover the topic The way you deliver the material After picking your topic, that’s where writer’s block comes in. You stare at the blank presentation deck going, “How on earth should I tell this story?” Start here: ProBlogger’s 52 Types of Blog Posts. Along with the usual styles of howto, tutorial, and definitions, they include ideas like: Case studies – which could be real work you’ve done, or an imaginary company facing that issue, and how you’d propose solving…Read
Alex Yates wrote a very interesting post called 5 bold changes to support the scale problem of SQL Saturdays (and other data platform conferences.) The short story: Cut costs (and no free lunches) Attract new sponsors Attract new attendees Get more diversified attendees Attendees have a duty to talk to sponsors They’re a lot of great ideas, and I’m going to suggest one of my own. Sponsors need to deliver sponsor sessions that don’t suck. Today, sponsors buy attendee eyeball time by doing things like sponsoring sessions at lunch. SQLSaturday organizers usually set up the time slots so that no “real” sessions are given during lunch,…Read
Over the last several years, I’ve been steadily amping up my teaching skills: 2010 – teaching day-long pre-cons alone 2013 – teaching 2-day in-person classes with others 2014 – teaching week-long classes with others 2016 – teaching week-long classes by myself Now – teaching 4-day classes online Here’s some of the things I’ve learned so far. Writing and Rehearsing the Material Test the material in person first. Teaching online is way harder than in-person because online, you can’t tell what material is working, what attendees aren’t understanding, or when you need to change tacks. Online, it feels like all your jokes are bombing and your…Read
On a recent episode of Adam Savage’s Still Untitled podcast, he talked about what it was like to work at ILM: “Back when I was working at Industrial Light & Magic, I got in at the end of the wire at the end of an era and got to work with many of my heroes, in a place that I’ve been dreaming about working since I was 11 years old. It was Valhalla, and there wasn’t a single job that I worked on at ILM that didn’t at some point in it include the feeling from of, ‘Like, wow,…Read
Today, PASS announced the lineup for the 2016 Summit. I like sharing the sessions I submitted, and the feedback my abstracts got, because it gives you a view inside what it’s like to be a speaker. Before I share this, a word of thanks to the PASS Program Committee. Allen White and his team of volunteers bust their humps to review hundreds of abstracts, and he’s written about the incredible work that goes into it. They are charged with building a top quality lineup of sessions that will get great feedback, and it ain’t easy. Anytime there’s a decision, somebody’s…Read
There’s a lot of talk going around about what’s good for PASS Summit attendees. I don’t like to guess what they like – instead, I like looking at attendee feedback to see which sessions were voted highest. As an example, let’s look at the Best of Summit 2014 list. Should Speakers Be Able to Talk About Their Company’s Free Apps? David Klee of Heraflux ran a great session on how to right-size your SQL Server VM. After talking for an hour about how much work you have to do to get this right, he finishes up by talking about a new option: David…Read
You’re in the middle of presenting to an audience, you just glanced at your watch, and you realize your presentation is running way behind. Never, ever say “I’m running low on time.” The instant the audience hears this, they’re going to assume that you’re taking shortcuts and giving them a bad product. Yes, you have a problem, but with a few simple actions, you’ll be fine. Take a breather and reset your pulse. The instant you have a slide with multiple bullet points, say to the audience, “Now think about this for a second.” Let the audience read the slides…Read
Hi. I’m Brent.
I live in Iceland 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.