When I first started kicking around the idea of letting guest instructors run classes at BrentOzar.com, I did a brain dump of how I wanted to do business, and shared it with the guest instructors. It’s working out pretty well, so I’m sharing the more interesting parts here for those of you who like reading the behind-the-scenes type stuff. In here, BOU means Brent Ozar Unlimited, and “you” means the instructor. You exclusively own your material. The speaker owns the intellectual property (IP, aka slides/scripts/materials), and BOU doesn’t get any rights to it. Longer term, if we do the recorded…Read
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…Read
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…Read
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…Read
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…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
I never really got into podcasts. I don’t commute, and while I’m working, I don’t like listening to things that make me think. (It’s hard enough for me to concentrate as it is.) But buying an iPhone 6 Plus made me love podcasts because the phone is just too damn big. I spend about 1-2 hours a day walking Ernie, my little miniature Schnauzer mix. For years, I’ve used that time to catch up on blogs and the news. When the ginormous iPhone 6 Plus came out, I thought, “Perfect! I’ll be able to see blogs better.” WRONG. It’s a horrible device for one-handed web…Read
Friday, Kendra and I launched our newest online training course, The DBA’s Guide to SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery. Here’s a quick glimpse behind the scenes at the work required in launching something like this. Designing and Building the Course Materials November – Course design started – Kendra wrote a profile for the ideal attendee, describing her experience, job duties, and current pain points. This determined the material we’d cover – and the stuff we’d ignore. For example, Kendra wrote, “What’s NOT included? How to install these things. I can figure out how to run a wizard.” November – EU…Read
Sooner or later, despite your best efforts to rehearse, one of your demos will fail. You’re going to try to fix it really quickly without the audience noticing. It won’t work because the entire audience is at least vaguely familiar with the subject material. Your entire delivery will instantly come unglued. Your posture will change, your voice will get quieter. Watch the body language of the presenter on the right: The presenter clearly feels like he’s lost control of the demo – and the crowd – when in reality, he’s got an amazing opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, he’s under a…Read
Trying to figure out what to submit for 2015 conference abstracts? Over and over, I see people describing their session in terms of how awesome it’ll be, or what a great time the attendee will have, or how the presenter is really excited about the topic. Nobody cares. Seriously. Put the exclamation points down. tl;dr – here’s the winning formula: Identify the pain that’s driving an attendee crazy. Build the simplest, fastest, cheapest relief for that pain. Describe the pain and the relief in as few words as possible. It’s that simple. But this is one of my favorite subjects, so I’ll…Read
Hi. I’m 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.